Amazon are one of the most impressive companies of the last decade not only because of their phenomenal sales figures, but also because they have turned a company cost centre – IT – into a sales channel by selling off their spare IT capacity to the public.
Their existing products – AWS and S3 are synonymous with Cloud technology, and they have just launched another product, Glacier.
Glacier is a storage service. It’s been designed, probably commercially more than technically, as storage for archiving or backups – i.e. where the consumer rarely needs to access the data.
The service is very low cost – a cent per Gb per month. So if you have a 1Tb disk at home that has 50% data that’s worth backing up, it will cost about $5 a month.
If you have several terrabytes of data though, it’s more efficient because multi-terrabyte drives for the office or home are still quite expensive, and then you probably need more than one, for backups.
When dealing with that much data, it’s going to take a long time to upload, so Amazon offers users the facility to send in portable drives and they’ll upload the data on to Glacier.
As far as availability is concerned, Amazon claim to store data in a redundant, distributed method, providing 11 9s annual durability – whatever that means. I still question the availability of consumer cloud offerings such as Glacier, and if I was interested in archiving lots of data, I’d use Amazon and a competitor product to store my data in two locations.
Photo courtesy of Route79 on Flickr.