Christopher Jablonski

How Amazon Glacier is changing the data protection industry

By Ray Villenueve, GM, Riverbed Whitewater cloud storage gateway business unit

Even with the recent storage price reduction from Amazon, it's clear from the interest expressed from Whitewater customers and people I spoke with at the AWS re:Invent developer conference last week, that Glacier, Amazons low-cost archiving service is going to be a huge hit. With a price point of 1c per GB per month, it will form the basis of a low-cost storage tier perfect for storing long-term archives and seldom accessed data sets.  
The economics offered by Glacier put its cost far below tape-based data protection solutions and eliminates the need for tape vaulting and migrating between tape formats, while delivering much faster restore times than recalling tapes from an off-site vault. In addition, like any cloud storage service, data is accessible from any location with Internet access.
Glacier will gain a prominent role as a storage location for long-term backup data sets as organizations can easily segment recent active backup data from monthly and yearly data sets by policy in AWS or by their backup application.

Here are the key benefits of Glacier for data protection:
  • Organizations understand that restore requests typically happen soon after a backup job is run. Recent backup data sets can be easily cached in a cloud storage gateways local cache for fast recovery. Once the data ages, it can be most efficiently stored in a service like Glacier.
  • Data stored in Glacier has the same data durability level of Amazon S3, 11 9s of durability which is far higher than most organizations can provide using their own IT resources.  
  • Most firms keep weekly data sets for a limited time, but often keep monthly and yearly data sets far longer. As these are very rarely accessed as they age, Glacier is an excellent storage location due to the low cost per GB and fast access times compared to tape based systems.
  • With deduplicating appliances offering massive reductions in backup data sets, the price to store data in Glacier is effectively far lower than 1c per GB. At the typical dedupe rates we see with Whitewater gateways this reduction is on average between 10 to 30x.
  • Data can be migrated into Glacier from Amazon S3 based on a storage lifecycle policy which can move data automatically based on user selected parameters.  For example, a policy could simply be to move all data older than 90 days from S3 into Glacier.
  • Regulatory compliance can be improved as organizations know where there data is at all times and can easily track this in an automated fashion which is a far less labor intensive and time-consuming process with tape based solutions.
  • As with every cloud storage offering, Glacier offers pay-for-use pricing and scales up and down on demand to meet customer requirements without the need to plan or make large capital investments.

In summary, the Riverbed Whitewater team feels that Glacier marks a major turning point in the data protection industry. This low cost storage service will greatly accelerate the transition to data protection leveraging cloud storage and away from tape based solutions for organizations of all sizes. The future of data protection looks very bright indeed!

2 Responses

  1. Sigvard Goran

    Jan 08, 2013

    Good info, Amazon is always the first to introduce all that is useful and enhances our daily life. I thought this was "The storage location" I was looking for, but it is just an API. Finding Zoolz Backup completed the solution. SO that would be my recommendation for you.

  2. BademU

    Dec 04, 2012

    Glacier would be a good option in some scenarios if we were to look at the delay time in restoration. I'm planing to try using it to upload some of my old studio media that i never want to get rid of. but what are the services i have to consider? so far i came across Arq and Zoolz.

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