Amazon Glacier (AWS Glacier)


What is Amazon S3 Glacier (AWS Glacier)?

Amazon S3 Glacier, also known as AWS Glacier, is a class of cloud storage available through Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Amazon S3 Glacier is a lower-cost storage tier designed for use with data archiving and long-term backup services on the public cloud infrastructure.

Amazon S3 Glacier was created to house data that doesn’t need to be accessed frequently or quickly. This makes it ideal for use as a cold storage service, hence the inspiration for its name.

Amazon S3 Glacier retrieval times range from a few minutes to a few hours with three different speed options available: Expedited (1-5 minutes), Standard (3-5 hours), and Bulk (5-12 hours).

Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive offers 12-48-hour retrieval times. The faster retrieval options are significantly more expensive, so having your data organized into the correct tier within AWS cloud storage is an important aspect of keeping storage costs down.

Other Glacier features:

  • The ability to store an unlimited number of objects and data
  • Data stored in S3 Glacier is dispersed across multiple geographically separated Availability Zones within the AWS region
  • An average annual durability of 99.999999999%
  • Checksum uploads to validate data authenticity
  • REST-based web service
  • Vault, Archive, and Job data models
  • Limit of 1,000 vaults per AWS account

Main Applications for Amazon S3 Glacier Storage

There are several scenarios where Glacier is an ideal solution for companies needing a large volume of cloud storage.

  1. Huge data sets. Many companies that perform trend or scientific analysis need a huge amount of storage to be able to house their training, input, and output data for future use.
  2. Replacing legacy storage infrastructure. With the many advantages that cloud-based storage environments have over traditional storage infrastructure, many corporations are opting to use AWS storage to get more out of their data storage systems. AWS Glacier is often used as a replacement for long term tape archives.
  3. Healthcare facilities’ patient data. Patient data needs to be kept for regulatory or compliance requirements. Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive are ideal archiving platforms to keep data that will hardly need to be accessed.
  4. Cold data with long retention times. Finance, Research, Genomics, and Electronic Design Automation and Media, Entertainment are some examples of industries where cold data and inactive projects may need to be retained for long periods of time even though they are not actively used.  AWS Glacier storage classes are a good fit for these types of data.  The project data will need to be recalled before it is actively used to minimize retrieval delays and costs.

Amazon S3 Glacier vs S3 Standard

Amazon’s S3 Standard storage and S3 Glacier are different classes of storage designed to handle workloads on the AWS cloud storage platform.

  • S3 Glacier is best for cold data that’s rarely or never accessed
  • Amazon S3 Standard storage is intended for hot and warm data that needs to be accessed daily and quickly

The speed and accessibility of S3 Standard storage comes at a much higher cost compared to S3 Glacier and the even more economical S3 Glacier Deep Archive storage tiers. Having the right data management solution is critical to help you identify and organize your hot and cold data into the correct storage tiers, saving a substantial amount on storage costs.

Benefits of a Data Management System to Optimize Amazon S3 Glacier

A comprehensive suite of data management capabilities allows organizations to reduce their storage footprint and substantially cut their storage costs. These are a few of the benefits of integrating an analytics-driven data management solution with your AWS storage:

  • Get full visibility of your data across AWS and other cloud platforms to understand how much NAS data is being accrued and whether it’s hot or cold.
  • Intelligent tiering and lifecycle management of files and objects across EFS, FSX, S3 Standard and S3 Glacier storage classes based on access patterns
  • Intelligent retrievals so you don’t get hit with unexpected data retrieval fees on S3 Glacier – Komprise enables intelligent recalls based on access patterns so if an object on Glacier becomes active again, Komprise will move it up to an S3 storage class.
  • Bulk retrievals for improved user performance of entire projects from S3 Glacier storage classes – if an archived project is going to become active, you can prefetch and retrieve the entire project from S3 Glacier using Komprise so users don’t have to face long latencies to get access to the data they need.
  • Minimize costs with analytics-driven solution that monitors retrieval costs, egress costs and other costs to minimize them by promoting data up and recalling it intelligently to more active storage classes
  • Access data that has been moved across AWS as objects from Amazon S3 storage classes or as files from File and NAS storage classes without the need for additional stubs or agents.
  • Reduce the complexity of your cloud storage and NAS environment and manage your data more easily through an intuitive dashboard.
  • Optimize the savings of your AWS storage environment with analytics-driven management of all the complex storage, retrieval, egress and other costs
  • Easy, on-demand scalability with capacity to add and manage petabytes without limits or the need for dedicated infrastructure.
  • Integrate data lifecycle management easily with an AWS Advanced Tier partner such as Komprise.
  • Move data transparently to any tier within AWS so users experience no difference in data access
  • Create automated policies to continuously manage the lifecycle of the moved data for maximum savings.

Streamline Amazon S3 Glacier Operations with Komprise Intelligent Data Management

Komprise’s Intelligent Data Management allows you to seamlessly analyze and manage data across all of your AWS cloud storage classes so you can move data across file, S3 Standard and S3 Glacier storage classes at the right time for the best price/performance. Because it’s vendor agnostic, its standards-driven analytics and data management work with  the largest storage providers in the industry and have helped companies save up to 50% on their cloud storage costs.

If you’re looking to get more out of your AWS storage, then contact a data management expert at Komprise today and see how much you could save. Read the white paper: Smart Data Migration for AWS.


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