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Amazon Wants To Replace Tape With Slow But Cheap Off-Site "Glacier" Storage 187

Posted by timothy
from the steady-as-she-goes dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes with a piece at SlashCloud that says "Amazon is expanding its reach into the low-cost, high-durability archival storage market with the newly announced Glacier. While Glacier allows companies to transfer their data-archiving duties to the cloud — a potentially money-saving boon for many a budget-squeezed organization—the service comes with some caveats. Its cost structure and slow speed of data retrieval make it best suited for data that needs to be accessed infrequently, such as years-old legal records and research data. If that sounds quite a bit like Amazon Simple Storage Service, otherwise known as Amazon S3, you'd be correct. Both Amazon S3 and Glacier have been designed to store and retrieve data from anywhere with a Web connection. However, Amazon S3 — 'designed to make Web-scale computing easier for developers,' according to the company — is meant for rapid data retrieval; contrast that with a Glacier data-retrieval request (referred to as a 'job'), where it can take between 3 and 5 hours before it's ready for downloading."
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Amazon Wants To Replace Tape With Slow But Cheap Off-Site "Glacier" Storage

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  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @10:56AM (#41068145)

    my company pays for offsite storage of our tapes and i did some quick math

    $2000 a month to store over 1000 tapes for us. I think the minimum bill is like $1500 if you only have a few tapes

    $.01/GB is $10 to $20 per LTO-4 tape per month. i know the specs are less but ive seen LTO-4 tapes hold close to 4GB of data.
    i send out one tape per month for storage and keep a bunch more locally. so even on the cheap end that's $240 per month for the first year.

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @10:59AM (#41068167)

    what about 5 year old billing records for a customer/partner inquiry or lawsuit. i've had to compile those and a 2 week wait was OK in almost every case

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:08AM (#41068299)

    Whenever I need to restore data from an archive backup, I need it RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

    Amazon is smoking crack.

    You seem to be confusing backups necessary for day-to-day business continuity with archival records storage typically not required for day-to-day business continuity. If the data stored on Glacier can be encrypted and the encryption/decryption keys under the control of the client and not accessible under any circumstances to Amazon, then Glacier might be a viable option for organizations. Regulatory compliance in many fields / industries could potentially rule out the use of such a service as Glacier. Although for the typical home user or student a long-term archiving service in conjunction with a service such as DropBox, Box, or even Amazon's own cloud storage and file sharing offerings makes sense for important documents but becomes cost-prohibitive for storage of music and video libraries which are better suited to other storage options anyway.

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:10AM (#41068327)

    yep

    specs say 1.6TB max compressed but i've seen my tapes hold 3TB and 4TB. LTO-5 is even better but too expensive.

    PHB is always complaining about the cost of our off site storage so this made me look at it right away. and LTO4 is fast if you have decent server hardware

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:12AM (#41068351)

    In that case, it's obviously not for you.

    Some of us, however, are capable of planning ahead. I notice you said "restore from a backup." Note that this is not for backing up and restoring data you need to have available on a live basis. This is for truly *archive* data--data you don't need on a day-to-day basis but might need to retrieve in special cases. It will not, generally speaking, be a backup at all; it's your primary store of this data. Such data doesn't need to be retrieved on a moment's notice (if it was, you'd be storing it in a more expensive online store).

  • Re:And simple (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arkham (10779) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:13AM (#41068365)
  • by boristdog (133725) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:18AM (#41068443)

    It usually takes us a couple days to put in the request, get the tapes from offsite, then restore the data, hoping we picked the right dates.

  • Re:And simple (Score:3, Informative)

    by RobertLTux (260313) <[robert] [at] [laurencemartin.org]> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:18AM (#41068447)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_shave [wikipedia.org]

    the tl:dr version
    back when folks drove down the roads at less than Mach 5 there was a company that had series of signs with sayings
    Setup for joke

    Second line of Joke

    Punchline of Joke

    Burma Shave

    (they sold shaving cream)

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:22AM (#41068499) Homepage Journal

    The cost for Glacier Storage is $10 per Terabyte per month. Not sure why you are saying it's $10 - $20 per 4GB, perhaps you meant 4TB, I'm not familiar with LTO Tapes. If you are storing about 4TB of data, that would be $40/month for Glacier. However, reading back data will incur costs of $10 per Terabyte retrieved.

    I probably would never use Glacier for storing internal document records, but for safely archiving DB records/snapshots and usage logs from services running on an EC2 instance after running them through analytics and aggregation, it seems like an excellent service.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:46AM (#41068799)

    At the 50GB level, that is where this service becomes useful. For maximum security, I'd create a TrueCrypt volume, stuff all the stuff needing to go into the archive into it, gpg sign the volume, and upload the volume and its signature. That would mean 50 cents a month indefinitely, but at the minimum, if the upload is successful, Amazon would be storing the data on a SAN with at least RAID 5 or 6 on the backend.

    Of course, with a Blu-Ray burner, I can spend a couple bucks and burn the data onto BD-R media to store indefinitely.

    For business critical data, perhaps the best thing would be both burning a local copy to optical media, then uploading a TC container to AWS. This allows recovery in a lot more circumstances. This way, one doesn't need to sit there waiting for stuff to get readied, then download, but if there are no working local copies, the data is still accessible.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @12:43PM (#41069495) Homepage
    Yeah, for any appreciable amount of data, it's going to be quite time consuming to transfer the data. It's not unheard of to run a website off a 10 Mbit line, but transferring 50 GB over a 10 Mbit line is going to take over 113 hours. So if you have to backup 50 GB a day, it's impossible. If you have a 100 mbps line, you're down to 11 hours of saturating your line, just to transfer out the 50 GB of data. Unless your data center has some kind of peering agreement with Amazon where they can give you a really fast unmetered line, I don't really see this working out all that well.

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