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Cloud Data Storage IT

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 Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:00AM (#41068195)

    I believe this is intended for archival data that is unlikely to be needed, especially not in full, not operational data that you might need to do a full restore from. The kind of data that, in the past, you might file into a tape archive stored in a basement somewhere, "just in case" it was ever needed.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdo ... org minus author> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:25AM (#41068533)

    Yeah, I don't think this is competitive with tape robots for large operations. I see it as gaining inroads, at least at the current price point, among customers who don't have that kind of equipment onsite, so would be otherwise using regular backup services for their archival needs. By adding Glacier to the existing S3 service, as a cheaper but higher-latency storage option for stuff that you're keeping "just in case" (lawsuit/whatever) as opposed to for likely access, Amazon basically incrementally expands the range of use-cases they're competitive in.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:37AM (#41068677)

    I think your organisation is too big for Glacier.

    When you're big enough, it usually pays off to do stuff in-house, as you have economy of scale.

    Everyone smaller than that, is struggling to do proper back-ups. I for one, have something like 50 GB of data to backup. Way too small for tape. It's HD size. But HDs are not exaclty suitable to drop in a tote bag and take home on the train. Also they're a bit expensive to have a new HD every week/month so you have to rotate, making the transport even worse. I've looked into using memory cards or USB sticks, but I need 64GB ones which are still very expensive. A service like this I should seriously look into (especially now I have a 20 Mbit up/down Internet connection).

    Privacy remains an issue of course.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:41AM (#41068725) Homepage

    Where should I put sensitive documents that must be safely stored for a long time? In the cloud, of course!

    Yeah, going to a specialized 3rd party provider for safe long term storage is insane, you'd never put anything valuable in a bank vault would you? Would I put them in any random cloud? Not any more than I'd store my valuables in a shed, but with the right agreements in place on redundancy, backups, access control procedures and so on... maybe. Perhaps I'd use two and have redundant providers too. At least a company you have to remember that either way it's going to be run by people, whether you outsource it or not there could be bad apples. Maybe you think you can smell a bad one better among your own employees than they can, but most lack good self-assessment skills.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Tuesday August 21, 2012 @11:41AM (#41068733)

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

    I don't. It'll be at least a few hours until FedEx arrives with the new server hardware in the best case, and a few weeks before we get a new building and our clothes stop smelling of smoke (and zombies) in the worst case.

    Interesting question though: if I submit a retrieval job, how soon do I have to actually download the associated data? Can I wait a few hours or days?

    That's why people have onsite and offsite backups. If you need it right now, use the onsite backup, if it's not already available from online or nearline storage.

    But it's also good to have offline backups, in case your building gets hit with an airliner or something. In which case, having absolute immediate access to that data may not be as high a priority as executing the disaster recovery bringup plan. (If you have an offsite backup datacenter, well, why aren't you mirroring?).

    This service is for those companies who may not be big enough to afford to go tape storage (big investment), but may only have a few TB they store on backup hard drives and such. Rather than having to arrange for offsite storage, they can use Amazon to do it cheaply and effectively. I also see it as a play for Amazon as a virtual business - Amazon handling all your IT and server needs between EC2/S3/etc so a business doesn't actually have exist anywhere - employees work from home, a token post office box is the street address, etc.

    Though it is a good question - once a job is submitted and the data is ready a few hours later, how long is it available for?

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