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Amazon Glacier - cheap backup for large things
  • Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup. In order to keep costs low, Amazon Glacier is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable. With Amazon Glacier, customers can reliably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, a significant savings compared to on-premises solutions.

    You store data in Amazon Glacier as archives. An archive can represent a single file or you may choose to combine several files to be uploaded as a single archive. Retrieving archives from Amazon Glacier requires the initiation of a job. Jobs typically complete in 3.5 to 4.5 hours.

    Media companies’ core assets are their content which includes books, movies, music, images, news footage, and TV shows. The number and size of these assets continues to grow, driven by new production and new technologies such as high-definition TV, social media and 3D video. These assets can grow to tens or hundreds of petabytes. Safely and securely storing these assets is of critical importance. Data accessibility is also critical. For example, certain archival news footage can suddenly become valuable based on unfolding events. Archiving media has traditionally required costly, multi-site, redundant data centers and offsite vaulting. Amazon Glacier reduces the cost of storing these assets while simultaneously increasing the durability, ease of use, and accessibility of the content. Accessing media files in Amazon Glacier is as simple as making calls to the service’s APIs. Customers don’t need to worry about transporting storage media from offsite facilities in order to restore data.


  • 19 Replies sorted by
  • Thank you for this. I have terabytes of photos and videos and libraries which I want preserved but I don't need to access often, if at all.

  • Carbonite is cheaper at $4.95 for unlimited. Fast enough for gigabytes but not terabytes. I am going to test Amazon to see if it is better, as I all ready use S3 with great success.

  • @Jspatz

    No such thing as unlimited exist, they have issue with network speed, and be sure that they'll do something if you upload too much :-)

  • I use BackBlaze which offers "unlimited" backups for 5$/month (3.96 if you sign up for a 1 year commitment). Seeing I have a little over 730GB backed up with them, that solution seems cheaper than Amazon Glacier (and I am not factoring the request and transfer fees).

    Now Amazon might be more reliable than a "no name" company, but that solution just works for me.

    EDIT: the only downside is having to re-attach the external hdd's used for archival at least once a month.

  • @jspatz, Carbonite capped me at 250GB when I was on the "unlimited" plan. I don't know if that's still true.

  • Thanks Vitaliy! This is bloody awesome! My brother is a stills guy who's crapping his drawers with piles of hard drives filled with priceless work. Perfect! I'm in.

  • Hmm... $0.01 per gigabyte per month are $240 for 2 TB for only one year.

    One 2 TB external USB3 harddisk currently costs somewhere around $100, so even if you keep two complete copies for redundancy reasons, and even if every harddisk lives no longer than one year, you still save money in comparison to the Amazon offering, plus you don't have to cable the data onto some remote service, plus reading takes no longer than plugging in your harddisk.

    But of course, the harddisk you buy is likely to be good for many years, especially when used seldom.

    Thus I don't see how this service is cost efficient, especially for a private user.

  • @karl The main advantage of a service like this is that you have a current backup of your data that still exists when your whole house gets robbed or burns down. If something like that would happen to me, it would be a catastrophe.

  • I have about 2.1T in Crashplan on my standard $50/year unlimited account. Crashplan also allow backup of NAS devices on a consumer plan unlike some of the others including Backblaze and Carbonite.

  • karl, you totally ignore the costs of powering and managing that storage. These things don't run themselves.

  • @subco

    All external drives ideas are fine until you fave few of them and have bunch of time.

    As soon as you start having bunch of them, preper replacements, restore of damaged data and time needed for management will be much higher compared to drives costs.

    If you so want something you own, you can just get cheap dedicated server with 8-12Tb of storage installed.

  • @subco

    I already pointed minuses of such approach. Management will be pain in the ass.

    As for download speed, it is average speed, and many guys have much faster line. Line speed also play not major role, as you want to be sure that data are safe, even after disaster you need to restore only small amount.

  • Management of pluggable external harddrives used for backup/archiving has never been cumbersome to me - it's as easy as copying files to another directory, and if you want to keep an inventory to know which of N drives to plug in for restores, it's as easy as redirecting the output of "ls" (or "dir" for dos/windows users) to a local file on your computers built-in storage.

    Transferring huge files over the InterNet, in comparison, would be a much more time-consuming issue to me.

  • This Amazon thing looks good. Unfortunately the price does not, at least for archives more than 1 TB. So far I'm using "Cathy" free HDD catalogue tool.
    Very simple and useful.

  • Also guys don't forget that with Amazon Glacier you have to pay for downloading your stuff. You can download 5% of what you have for free but if you download extra it costs much more.

    The formula is very complicated, but it can be as high as 100USD for 1TB of download.

  • @Lohmatij

    Yep, and you must download this 5% for whole month if you want cheap or free. If you need to download few TB in a day or two, it'll cost you big bucks.