Thursday, October 4, 2012

Glacier:'s newest storage system

            In a world where data continues to grow, companies are looking for cheaper ways to store their data.  Despite the fact that data storage costs have fallen exponentially in the past decade, the growth in data has made it difficult for companies to keep data storage costs low.  Companies do not want to cut their spending short on data storage, as more data leads to more effective data mining. has offered its solution to this problem: a new cloud-based storage system called Glacier.
            Glacier will be an effective long-term investment for companies that can afford it.  Glacier is a long-term data storage system that allows companies to store data at the cost of one cent per gigabyte per month.’s previous storage system, called S3, charged companies anywhere from 5.5 to12.5 cents per gigabyte per month up to fifty terabytes of data.  The new Glacier system is cheaper and allows companies to store far more data, which will allow for more effective data mining.
            Despite its advantages, Glacier will not be suitable for every company.  One disadvantage of Glacier is that rather than being able to access data immediately, companies must wait three to five hours, due to the database’s size.  For data that is deleted within ninety days of its entry it into Glacier, the company is charged three cents per gigabyte deleted.  Also, to retrieve data from Glacier, a company must pay more than ten cents per gigabyte retrieved, which is more expensive than S3 data retrieval.  The catch, however, is that Glacier allows its customers to retrieve five percent of their storage for free per month.  For long-term data, this should be enough; companies will not be looking to remove all the data at once, but rather will be removing the data in chunks.
            Glacier and S3 have the ability to work together hand-in-hand for large companies that are able to afford both.  As mentioned above, Glacier is an excellent option for long-term, high volume storage.  Glacier will be advantageous for companies in in the long-term, as they will be able to more clearly identify patterns.  However, it is also important for companies to be able to spot trends as they are happening.  In this case, S3 makes more sense; it is faster and cheaper to mine recent data through S3 than it is through Glacier.
            I believe that made an excellent choice in introducing Glacier.  While the S3 storage system works well for some companies, the Glacier system will be effective for companies that have money to spend and that have time to put off some of their data mining.  These companies will reap the benefits of fuller, richer data, allowing them to work more efficiently.  Furthermore, has increased the options for consumers; this should increase Amazon’s top line, as consumers who were not previously using Amazon may now be interested.  The Glacier should pair itself well with the S3 and will provide benefits to both the consumer and Amazon.


1 comment:

  1. It seems like any place you look in the IT world, Amazon is on the forefront leading the way with new technologies. I have read articles about Amazon’s AWS services, which I thought were great already, but this Glacier service will be great for companies seeking to back-up their data in a secure location. In an article I read, there are datacenter clusters for Glacier in Virginia, Oregon, California, as well as in Ireland and Tokyo. While it takes a while to retrieve the data that is being stored on these databases, it isn’t exactly meant to be retrievable at a moment’s notice. Back-up data is put in place by companies to store everything just in case anything bad happens. With Hurricane Sandy recently crushing the tri-state area, there are plenty of companies that actually had to resort to their back-up data because the original databases become unreachable, or worse they are destroyed. However, if these companies had used this Glacier service to back everything up, then they would have no worry. A Baltimore company could store their data in Virginia, or to be more secure they could store it in Oregon to ensure it does not get compromised.
    The only thing that I could see deterring companies away from this service is the fact that while companies can move 5% of their data a month free of charge, anything after that amount they have to pay a fee. This seems like a good business plan, but if companies are using this to store their back-up data, then they might need to transfer more than 5% of their data if a disaster destroys their primary database. If they are aware of this fee, they might put extra consideration into investing in this back-up plan and just purchase a long-term back-up database of their own. Of course it would be different for every company, but some would contemplate these fees. But, in the same way they would contemplate the security and reliability of the storage Amazon’s offer, and there could be multiple viable options.