Amazon announces AWS Glacier: Ultra low-cost cloud backup

Amazon has just announced their new low-cost backup solution for the Amazon Web Services cloud service. Entitled "Amazon Glacier" the service promises to offer backup for as little as $0.01 a GB/month. Not only could this disrupt the corporate world, but the personal world too. End-users could backup massive amounts of personal data to the Amazon cloud long term, for next to no money.

The service promises to save IT organizations money for their backup solutions, since many companies must purchase more than they need in anticipation of growing backup demand. Amazon Glacier solves that problem by only making users pay for what they use per month.

According to the promotion page, backup jobs are stored as "archives" and take around 4-5 hours to retrieve when needed. Users are only billed for what data they transfer to/from Glacier, and the data that they store. The solution stores the backed up data across multiple datacenters, giving resiliency many companies could never afford for a much lower cost.

Pricing for storage starts at $0.01 a gigabyte, and doesn't get any more expensive unless you choose to host the data off of US shores. What's incredible, is that Amazon says that there is no limit to backup size (except a single file can only be 40 Terabytes) or duration of retention. Even better? You can retrieve up to 5% of your backups every month for free. That should be more than enough for those backup jobs where a user lost a folder of documents.

The company even advertises the services as a great replacement for those ageing magnetic backup tapes that many companies use, and could be the first time that many can consider moving away from them. More information on the new service can be found in the FAQ here.

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24 Comments

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Wish I could just USE it for my personal stuff. No apparent interface for normal users...or am I just missing something very obvious?

Hahaiah said,
Wish I could just USE it for my personal stuff. No apparent interface for normal users...or am I just missing something very obvious?

It's new. They'll probably add an upload option through their web interface and I"m sure a third party like Cloudberry will add support.

They need a node in Australia, be perfect for NBN, offsite backup is going to be a huge growth area in Australia.
NBN=1Gbps for 93% of Australians if there is no change of government next year.

Glassed Silver said,
Or just buy a HDD and save money in the long run...

GS:ios


1tb for $10? A 1tb drive is $60 or more?
A 1tb drive will pay for itself after 6 years
Then again who knows if the cloud would last 6 years at these rates :-)

Glassed Silver said,
Or just buy a HDD and save money in the long run...

GS:ios


Because homes never get broken into or your home is destroyed by natural/fire disasters...

Glassed Silver said,
Or just buy a HDD and save money in the long run...

GS:ios

sorry GS, that's not a viable option, unless you take the drive offline when not in use.
I have 14TB across 8 disks and am already feeling the bit-rot, having lost a considerable number of files with the drives being available 24/7 for the last three years.

Linear scan Tape is STILL the only long-term viable backup solution for anyone serious about their data.

Storage spaces on Windows client and ReFS on windows server will help with this, and cloud redundancy is also a solution.

Every time you buy a drive, you should also buy enough supporting infrastructure to ensure you can read the data back off it in a decade or so.

I have 2TB mirror of Personal Data onsite, for 20$ a month might be reasonable to secure a offsite backup of that. Interesting, with a 40mbit upload its easily accomplished.

Great idea and I can see it making a huge dent. The sad part is that something like this would be perfect for my little company, but out connection would be too slow to make it worthwhile. We only have 1Mbit upload due to limitations in DSL and it's not cost effective to get anything higher in (at least until we get upgraded to VDSL).

Kushan said,
Great idea and I can see it making a huge dent. The sad part is that something like this would be perfect for my little company, but out connection would be too slow to make it worthwhile. We only have 1Mbit upload due to limitations in DSL and it's not cost effective to get anything higher in (at least until we get upgraded to VDSL).

I think that's the issue for a lot of people - I'd use this to backup my home PC! But my upload speed is diabolical!

Kushan said,
Great idea and I can see it making a huge dent. The sad part is that something like this would be perfect for my little company, but out connection would be too slow to make it worthwhile. We only have 1Mbit upload due to limitations in DSL and it's not cost effective to get anything higher in (at least until we get upgraded to VDSL).

They do have an option to send in a hard drive and they'll load it on there for you.

The way I see this is as a backup of the backups......as in still use online backup solution onsite for quick server/workstation/single file recovery to a central backup device/server (we use a freenas box for this), then the entire backup device's contents get archived to the AWS cloud archive for onsite disaster situations.

The reason is most recovery situations require speedy access and don't usually come under the 'total and absolute failure' bracket - you might just want to replace a file or folder, or exchange mailbox or SQL database - you wouldn't want to wait for the entire backup archive to download to do this.

The killer would be a freenas plugin that could do block level backups to the AWS cloud, so only changed data is transferred - CHEAP!

duddit2 said,
The way I see this is as a backup of the backups......as in still use online backup solution onsite for quick server/workstation/single file recovery to a central backup device/server (we use a freenas box for this), then the entire backup device's contents get archived to the AWS cloud archive for onsite disaster situations.

The reason is most recovery situations require speedy access and don't usually come under the 'total and absolute failure' bracket - you might just want to replace a file or folder, or exchange mailbox or SQL database - you wouldn't want to wait for the entire backup archive to download to do this.

The killer would be a freenas plugin that could do block level backups to the AWS cloud, so only changed data is transferred - CHEAP!

when I say online I mean local storage which is disk and not tape based for quick retrieval of backups.

Chicane-UK said,
I don't understand how they can afford to do that... that's less than storage costs to buy....

They are most probably using tapes! They are pretty cheap (up to 3 TB in a single cartridge)

Chicane-UK said,
I don't understand how they can afford to do that... that's less than storage costs to buy....

I wish I could afford to offer my clients backup services at that price - WOW.

Irfan Habib said,

They are most probably using tapes! They are pretty cheap (up to 3 TB in a single cartridge)


Doubt it, tapes are more expensive than hard drives by quite a lot, plus you'd need autoloaders for them which cost a bomb too. As there's a limit of 40TB/file that make me believe they're using hard drives in RAID 5/6/50/60 configuration.

barteh said,
Shame theres no front end software to easily automate the backups... that'll be the killer

Exactly. I wish there were a cloud backup solution that included system state, exchange, mssql support that backs up to glacier. Hopefully it is coming.

Darn, how will I backup my 41TB files?

In all seriousness, this seems like it could be a game changer for a lot of companies (both non-IT companies looking for a backup solution and online backup competitors).