Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced Glacier , an inexpensive cloud-based data archive service primarily aimed at enterprise and small business users willing to go with a tapeless solution. There's no free tier to choose from like there is with Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3), but for data heavy users that require 5TB of redundancy or more, pricing starts at just a penny per gigabyte per month.
Glacier isn't necessarily a storage option for quick retrieval. The cloud service houses data as archives, which can be a single file or several files uploaded as a single archive, and when it comes time to retrieve data, Glacier initiates a "job" that can take 3.5 to 4.5 hours to complete, Amazon says.
The real allure here is low cost redundancy that's both secure (256-bit AES encryption and Identity and Access Management technology) and reliable (Amazon touts average annual durability of 99.999999999 percent for an archive). It's also purportedly simple to use and, in the coming months, will allow users to seamlessly move data to and from S3 plans.
There is a caveat to all this. Amazon expects data retrievals to be infrequent and "unusual," and with that in mind, there's a fee for users who retrive more than 5 percent of their average monthly storage. Currently that fee starts at $0.01 per gigabyte.
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