Getting Started with Amazon Glacier: Part 2

Getting Started with Amazon Glacier: Part 2

Get Started with Amazon Galcier Part 2In part 1 of this three part series, we introduced Amazon Glacier as an extremely low-cost cloud storage service that provides secure, durable, and flexible storage for data backup and archival. Amazon Glacier allows you to store your data reliably for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month. It helps you to retain your data for future analysis or reference so you can focus more on business than operating and maintaining storage infrastructure.

We introduced basic concepts of AWS Glacier including vault, archive, job, notification in the first article. In this post, we will explore some more useful facts and functionalities of Glacier.

Managing Archives

To begin, let’s take a look at what is involved in uploading data to AWS Glacier. Unlike AWS S3 object that are uploaded to S3 bucket, AWS Glacier does not have a console to upload archives to a vault. Rather uploads are completed via SDKs.

Glacier does not serve as a replacement for S3 but rather a solution for long term storage. The reason for this is that the data stored is not immediately available. To request archive data, it can take anywhere from 3-5 hours to complete. Once your retrieval request has been fulfilled, your data is available for download for 24 hours.

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Uploading and Deleting Archives

Amazon Glacier provides operations for you to upload and delete archives. You cannot, however, update an existing archive or overwrite it; you must delete the existing archive and upload a new archive. Additionally, you can delete only one archive at a time from a vault and you cannot delete a vault until it is empty.

Creating a Vault

To create a vault in a specific AWS region, requests must be sent to a region-specific endpoint. Typically, a Glacier endpoint is represented with the following address: https://<region-specific endpoint>/<account-id>/vaults/<vaultname>
Furthermore, an AWS account can create up to 1,000 vaults per region.

How to Create a new Glacier Vault

Amazon Glacier Durability

Glacier is designed to provide average annual durability of 99.999999999% for an archive. To increase durability, it synchronously stores your data across multiple facilities before declaring that an archive upload is successful. It performs regular, systematic data integrity checks and is built to be automatically self-healing.

Inventory of Archives

An inventory of all archives in each of your vaults is maintained for disaster recovery and reconciliation purposes. The vault inventory is updated approximately once a day. You can request a vault inventory as either a JSON or CSV file. This inventory contains details about the archives within your vault including the size, creation date and the archive description.

When you initiate a job for a vault inventory, Amazon Glacier returns the last inventory it generated, which is a point-in-time snapshot and not real-time data.

Additionally, the inventory may not reflect the latest information since it is created once every 24 hours. Amazon Glacier ensures that a vault is still in user by checking if any write operations occurred from the time of the last vault inventory.

Stay tuned for part three of our series ‘Getting Started with Amazon Glacier’

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About the Author

Taral Shah

Cloud architect for more than 2 years with around 12 years of IT Experience. His area of focus is Amazon Cloud and  has written a couple of White papers using AWS. Responsible for designing or migrating HA, scalable application on Cloud. In his past worked as consultant, developer, technical leader, project leader and account manager with various global clients.

Contact Taral Shah

Keywords: Amazon web services, Amazon AWS console, AWS S3, Amazon Cloud Services, AWS Management Console, AWS Glacier, S3 Standard Storage, IAM, Amazon Glacier, S3 Usage, Access Policy, RRS Storage, Storage Object

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