When used with a few software and hardware tools, Glacier makes an excellent long-term cloud archive service
July 07, 2019

When used with a few software and hardware tools, Glacier makes an excellent long-term cloud archive service

Patrick Plaisance | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Amazon Glacier

Amazon Glacier is in use by several of my clients for long-term, "low-touch" storage of archival data. The main use is by media departments to backup large quantities of archival media such as photos, videos, and audio recordings. Amazon Glacier is used because of the extraordinarily low cost of storage compared to other cloud storage services.
  • Extremely low cost. Most major cloud storage providers don't compete in this field.
  • Snowball device for data transfer works perfectly for transferring huge amounts of data to Amazon Glacier.
  • Works in concert with CloudBerry Backup for continuous backup once initial backup seeded by Snowball.
  • Compared to other cloud storage providers, even Amazon's S3 service, interfacing with Amazon Glacier is complex.
  • While the Snowball device is a boon for transferring data to Amazon Glacier, at the time that I used it, it was a command-line only affair. While the actual commands were simple, the logging and reporting provided by the device made me nervous I hadn't captured all of our data to the device. Once Amazon received it back and transferred from the Snowball to Glacier, it turns out I had transferred everything.
  • Amazon also accepts external hard drives for seeding Glacier backups. However, we've had several that we felt matched all of their requirements, but the seeding failed without a satisfactory explanation from Amazon.
  • If you plan to access/restore data from Amazon Glacier regularly, the cost and complexity become a problem. Truthfully, if you're looking for cloud STORAGE and not cloud ARCHIVE, you should look elsewhere.
  • Slight negative - another backup cost in addition to their existing BCDR solutions.
  • Positive - the overall cost is low, and for nonprofit customers, AWS offers an annual credit through TechSoup that can offset a lot of the cost.
  • Positive - staff no longer needs to shuttle large, heavy external storage devices offsite as an offsite backup.
Amazon Glacier isn't a direct competitor to the products I've listed; it could compare to the clouds/data warehouses each of these products use to store their data. In the case of CloudBerry, Amazon Glacier is used with it to create a complete archival backup system. That said, when using Amazon Glacier along with a product like CloudBerry, you can create a reliable, inexpensive cloud backup system for retaining HUGE quantities of data for much less than these other cloud backup solutions.

HOWEVER, if you want to restore said data, the cost and complexity begin to become a major concern, so Amazon Glacier should only be considered in situations where you don't plan to touch the data regularly, if at all, once it's at Glacier.
If your organization has a lot of archival data that it needs to be backed up for safekeeping, where it won't be touched except in a dire emergency, Amazon Glacier is perfect. In our case, we had a client that generates many TB of video and photo data at annual events and wanted to retain ALL of it, pre- and post- edit for potential use in a future museum. Using the Snowball device, we were able to move hundreds of TB of existing media data that was previously housed on multiple Thunderbolt drives, external RAIDs, etc, in an organized manner, to Amazon Glacier. Then, we were able to setup CloudBerry Backup on their production computers to continually backup any new media that they generated during their annual events.