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Amazon Wants To Replace Tape With Slow But Cheap Off-Site "Glacier" Storage

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the steady-as-she-goes dept.

Cloud 187

Nerval's Lobster writes with a piece at SlashCloud that says "Amazon is expanding its reach into the low-cost, high-durability archival storage market with the newly announced Glacier. While Glacier allows companies to transfer their data-archiving duties to the cloud — a potentially money-saving boon for many a budget-squeezed organization—the service comes with some caveats. Its cost structure and slow speed of data retrieval make it best suited for data that needs to be accessed infrequently, such as years-old legal records and research data. If that sounds quite a bit like Amazon Simple Storage Service, otherwise known as Amazon S3, you'd be correct. Both Amazon S3 and Glacier have been designed to store and retrieve data from anywhere with a Web connection. However, Amazon S3 — 'designed to make Web-scale computing easier for developers,' according to the company — is meant for rapid data retrieval; contrast that with a Glacier data-retrieval request (referred to as a 'job'), where it can take between 3 and 5 hours before it's ready for downloading."

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187 comments

still to expensive for me (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41068145)

my company pays for offsite storage of our tapes and i did some quick math

$2000 a month to store over 1000 tapes for us. I think the minimum bill is like $1500 if you only have a few tapes

$.01/GB is $10 to $20 per LTO-4 tape per month. i know the specs are less but ive seen LTO-4 tapes hold close to 4GB of data.
i send out one tape per month for storage and keep a bunch more locally. so even on the cheap end that's $240 per month for the first year.

Re:still to expensive for me (2)

Tapewolf (1639955) | about 2 years ago | (#41068295)

i know the specs are less but ive seen LTO-4 tapes hold close to 4GB of data.

That's 4TB, right?

Re:still to expensive for me (3, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41068327)

yep

specs say 1.6TB max compressed but i've seen my tapes hold 3TB and 4TB. LTO-5 is even better but too expensive.

PHB is always complaining about the cost of our off site storage so this made me look at it right away. and LTO4 is fast if you have decent server hardware

Re:still to expensive for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068495)

So that's per tape. What about the cost of the storage facilities, automated data integrity checking and healing, and engineering hours spent managing all of that?

It also sounds like you're doubly redundant, which honestly is probably just fine for most needs. Glacier sounds like it is much more redundant. I wonder if they will eventually provide a reduced redundancy storage for lower cost like they did for S3?

Re:still to expensive for me (4, Informative)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 2 years ago | (#41068499)

The cost for Glacier Storage is $10 per Terabyte per month. Not sure why you are saying it's $10 - $20 per 4GB, perhaps you meant 4TB, I'm not familiar with LTO Tapes. If you are storing about 4TB of data, that would be $40/month for Glacier. However, reading back data will incur costs of $10 per Terabyte retrieved.

I probably would never use Glacier for storing internal document records, but for safely archiving DB records/snapshots and usage logs from services running on an EC2 instance after running them through analytics and aggregation, it seems like an excellent service.

Re:still to expensive for me (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#41069777)

it would be fine for internal records as long as you encrypt the archive before you send it. this to me would seem like a great back up service just not your primary data storage facility.

Re:still to expensive for me (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#41068533)

Yeah, I don't think this is competitive with tape robots for large operations. I see it as gaining inroads, at least at the current price point, among customers who don't have that kind of equipment onsite, so would be otherwise using regular backup services for their archival needs. By adding Glacier to the existing S3 service, as a cheaper but higher-latency storage option for stuff that you're keeping "just in case" (lawsuit/whatever) as opposed to for likely access, Amazon basically incrementally expands the range of use-cases they're competitive in.

Re:still to expensive for me (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41068677)

I think your organisation is too big for Glacier.

When you're big enough, it usually pays off to do stuff in-house, as you have economy of scale.

Everyone smaller than that, is struggling to do proper back-ups. I for one, have something like 50 GB of data to backup. Way too small for tape. It's HD size. But HDs are not exaclty suitable to drop in a tote bag and take home on the train. Also they're a bit expensive to have a new HD every week/month so you have to rotate, making the transport even worse. I've looked into using memory cards or USB sticks, but I need 64GB ones which are still very expensive. A service like this I should seriously look into (especially now I have a 20 Mbit up/down Internet connection).

Privacy remains an issue of course.

Re:still to expensive for me (3, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#41068799)

At the 50GB level, that is where this service becomes useful. For maximum security, I'd create a TrueCrypt volume, stuff all the stuff needing to go into the archive into it, gpg sign the volume, and upload the volume and its signature. That would mean 50 cents a month indefinitely, but at the minimum, if the upload is successful, Amazon would be storing the data on a SAN with at least RAID 5 or 6 on the backend.

Of course, with a Blu-Ray burner, I can spend a couple bucks and burn the data onto BD-R media to store indefinitely.

For business critical data, perhaps the best thing would be both burning a local copy to optical media, then uploading a TC container to AWS. This allows recovery in a lot more circumstances. This way, one doesn't need to sit there waiting for stuff to get readied, then download, but if there are no working local copies, the data is still accessible.

Re:still to expensive for me (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41069317)

At the 50GB level, that is where this service becomes useful. For maximum security, I'd create a TrueCrypt volume, stuff all the stuff needing to go into the archive into it, gpg sign the volume, and upload the volume and its signature. That would mean 50 cents a month indefinitely, but at the minimum, if the upload is successful, Amazon would be storing the data on a SAN with at least RAID 5 or 6 on the backend.

Of course, with a Blu-Ray burner, I can spend a couple bucks and burn the data onto BD-R media to store indefinitely.

For business critical data, perhaps the best thing would be both burning a local copy to optical media, then uploading a TC container to AWS. This allows recovery in a lot more circumstances. This way, one doesn't need to sit there waiting for stuff to get readied, then download, but if there are no working local copies, the data is still accessible.

For 50GB you may as well use regular S3 storage... at 12 cents/GB, that's $6/month and you have instant access to your data, no need to wait 3 to 5 hours to do a restore from Glacier storage (and they say "most jobs" can be retrieved in that timeframe, they didn't say if 5 hours is the upper bound). If you save yourself an hour or two during the year when doing a critical file restore, then your saved labor costs should cover the additional cost of using S3.

Re:still to expensive for me (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41069495)

Yeah, for any appreciable amount of data, it's going to be quite time consuming to transfer the data. It's not unheard of to run a website off a 10 Mbit line, but transferring 50 GB over a 10 Mbit line is going to take over 113 hours. So if you have to backup 50 GB a day, it's impossible. If you have a 100 mbps line, you're down to 11 hours of saturating your line, just to transfer out the 50 GB of data. Unless your data center has some kind of peering agreement with Amazon where they can give you a really fast unmetered line, I don't really see this working out all that well.

Re:still to expensive for me (1)

trum4n (982031) | about 2 years ago | (#41068863)

Centon DataStick Pro 64gb is about 35$ each. I bet if you buy 50 of them, they are cheaper. Get a good fire safe, and store one on site, one off site.

Re:still to expensive for me (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41069417)

Centon DataStick Pro 64gb is about 35$ each. I bet if you buy 50 of them, they are cheaper. Get a good fire safe, and store one on site, one off site.

You forgot to include labor costds to pay someone to plug them into the backup server, swap them out, ship them offsite, and keep track of them.

But even if you exclude labor costs:

50 of those memory sticks cost $1750, if you split them between offsite and onsite, and have 2 copies of the data on each set, that's gives you 768GB of storage (50 / 2 / 2 * 64), which would cost about $8/month on Glacier, so you could store that data for more than 15 years for what it costs you to buy the memory sticks.

Re:still to expensive for me (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41069585)

And at a wonderful 8 MB/s write time, it will take over 2 hours to fill the thing. That's the best case scenario. It will probably take longer. Write times on these USB flash drives are atrocious.

Re:still to expensive for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069647)

Posting ac from phone, trum4n here. Write time isn't an issue for backups, esp against a service that has a 5hr cue time. Plug it in when you get to work, start the incramental back up, take it home with you. No added staff. No other company to say "sorry, your loss " when they lose everything.

Re:still to expensive for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068971)

So what if I want to have a bill that's $500/month, when I have just a few tapes (those that I want to be able to access from anywhere in the world within 1 day or less)? Products are often offered to different segments in a market. You are obviously in a different one than what their product value proposition is aiming at.

Re:still to expensive for me (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41069217)

my company pays for offsite storage of our tapes and i did some quick math

$2000 a month to store over 1000 tapes for us. I think the minimum bill is like $1500 if you only have a few tapes

$.01/GB is $10 to $20 per LTO-4 tape per month. i know the specs are less but ive seen LTO-4 tapes hold close to 4GB of data.
i send out one tape per month for storage and keep a bunch more locally. so even on the cheap end that's $240 per month for the first year.

Compress your data before you send it to Amazon and you'll have a more fair comparison. An LTO-4 tape holds 800GB native, so your thousand tapes is 800TB of data, which would cost you $8000/month on Amazon Glacier.

If you store multiple copies of your data (to protect against tape failure) and could get by with only 200TB of Glacier space, then it might be cost effective, lower labor costs in loading tapes and shipping them offsite, and dropping maintenance on your tape library (or libraries) may also sway the decision.

The numbers change for LTO-5 (1.5TB native), but then you're looking at a large capital cost to swap out your tapes and upgrade your tape drives.

I'm in a little different situation - I have my data replicated to a colocated storage array with less than 100TB of data. Amazon Glacier storage would cost about the same as I pay in maintenance on the array (ignoring colocation fees). Glacier is not a drop-in replacement for the array, since the storage array also runs my DR VMware cluster, but it may be more cost effective to get rid of the colocated array cabinet and VMware cluster hardware and rent some VM's with a small amount of storage for the critical servers I need for disaster recovery, using Glacier to store the rest of my data.

Re:still to expensive for me (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41069623)

nope

most of my 1000 some tapes are ancient DLT. i have about 40 LT-4 tapes in storage. even by itself that is like $800 per month if you figure 2TB on average.

the $2000 monthly charge includes shipping off site. guy comes once a month and i give him a tape. takes a few minutes. what labor cost? takes 5 minutes to take it out of the robot.

and the above doesn't include another 100TB archive i have as well at 10TB or so of tapes that i rotate for some other backups for archives.

i can see this working for smallish businesses

And simple (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 2 years ago | (#41068147)

Walkabout the glacier
With stubble on the face. You're
Returning to a place sure
To need a smoother face, pure.
Burma Shave

Re:And simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068309)

explain burma shave to me

i don't understand this meme

Re:And simple (3, Informative)

Arkham (10779) | about 2 years ago | (#41068365)

Re:And simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069423)

thanks mate

Re:And simple (2, Informative)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41068447)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_shave [wikipedia.org]

the tl:dr version
back when folks drove down the roads at less than Mach 5 there was a company that had series of signs with sayings
Setup for joke

Second line of Joke

Punchline of Joke

Burma Shave

(they sold shaving cream)

Re:And simple (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41068873)

And now I finally get it.

The Burma Shave thing was never funny for me, because I'm not in the US and so has none of the local knowledge of their advertising.

Re:And simple (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41069293)

This is from the 30's and 40's.

No one capable of participating in an online forum is old enough to actually remember/witness Burma Shave ads.

That's even the "meta" part of why its supposed to be funny.

Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068149)

Whenever I need to restore data from an archive backup, I need it RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Amazon is smoking crack.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41068167)

what about 5 year old billing records for a customer/partner inquiry or lawsuit. i've had to compile those and a 2 week wait was OK in almost every case

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#41068195)

I believe this is intended for archival data that is unlikely to be needed, especially not in full, not operational data that you might need to do a full restore from. The kind of data that, in the past, you might file into a tape archive stored in a basement somewhere, "just in case" it was ever needed.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068299)

Whenever I need to restore data from an archive backup, I need it RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Amazon is smoking crack.

You seem to be confusing backups necessary for day-to-day business continuity with archival records storage typically not required for day-to-day business continuity. If the data stored on Glacier can be encrypted and the encryption/decryption keys under the control of the client and not accessible under any circumstances to Amazon, then Glacier might be a viable option for organizations. Regulatory compliance in many fields / industries could potentially rule out the use of such a service as Glacier. Although for the typical home user or student a long-term archiving service in conjunction with a service such as DropBox, Box, or even Amazon's own cloud storage and file sharing offerings makes sense for important documents but becomes cost-prohibitive for storage of music and video libraries which are better suited to other storage options anyway.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (4, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#41068351)

In that case, it's obviously not for you.

Some of us, however, are capable of planning ahead. I notice you said "restore from a backup." Note that this is not for backing up and restoring data you need to have available on a live basis. This is for truly *archive* data--data you don't need on a day-to-day basis but might need to retrieve in special cases. It will not, generally speaking, be a backup at all; it's your primary store of this data. Such data doesn't need to be retrieved on a moment's notice (if it was, you'd be storing it in a more expensive online store).

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (1)

dcollins (135727) | about 2 years ago | (#41068469)

"Note that this is not for backing up and restoring data you need to have available on a live basis. This is for truly *archive* data--data you don't need on a day-to-day basis but might need to retrieve in special cases. It will not, generally speaking, be a backup at all; it's your primary store of this data."

But doesn't that seem like an inherent problem? I can see outsourced, online storage as one redundant element in a backup system; but trusting it as a primary store of data, not so much.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068951)

What if Amazon's assets are ever frozen? Wouldn't that freeze all its customer data as well, including your only copy of some data you placed on Glacier Storage? (heh, frozen assets, Glacier)

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069823)

But it's in 'The Cloud'. How can 'The Cloud' be frozen?

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (3, Interesting)

mdfst13 (664665) | about 2 years ago | (#41069341)

This could be used either way. If you are using it as an archival medium, it is less of a hassle than finding three facilities of your own (the promise is that there are at least three copies of the data at all times). To get the equivalent from tape, you'd have to buy three tapes. Plus, you need places to store them.

If you are using it as the offsite part of your backup procedure, then it only needs to match the latency of other offsite backups. If you are restoring from a tape that you have stored in a safe deposit box, that also takes three to five hours to restore (it takes time to get to the bank and retrieve the tape, then it takes more time to read from the tape). And truly, that time will rarely matter. If you really lost

1. Your primary data store.
2. Your backup data store.
3. Your local archive copy.

all at the same time, you likely lost your physical hardware as well. Or you are experiencing a security problem that you need to fix before restoring from backup. You could promote your archived data from Glacier to S3 while you were replacing that hardware or fixing your security.

It also may be worth thinking about how this works if you are doing everything AWS. In that case, Multi-AZ RDS provides your primary and backup data stores. It also provides the ability to rebuild your data store from real-time backups. Next, you use snapshots to take regular backups (the equivalent of a local archive copy). Weekly makes sense as RDS can store up to eight days of real-time backups. You keep a few of the most recent snapshots, but you archive most that are older than a month to Glacier. You can still keep the one month, three month, and six month snapshots in the quicker, more expensive storage.

Now, you face a major data problem. Amazon loses two facilities. These happen to be the two facilities with your RDS stores. However, you still have the snapshots (which are stored in more than two facilities). You restore quickly. You only need to go to Glacier if you have data corruption that you don't notice for a month (so that the archive copy that you need has dropped out of the snapshots).

If you are not using AWS for everything, then you are responsible for creating your own primary and backup data stores as well as local archive copies. Other than that, the same issues apply.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (3, Interesting)

retep (108840) | about 2 years ago | (#41068521)

> Whenever I need to restore data from an archive backup, I need it RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

I don't. It'll be at least a few hours until FedEx arrives with the new server hardware in the best case, and a few weeks before we get a new building and our clothes stop smelling of smoke (and zombies) in the worst case.

Interesting question though: if I submit a retrieval job, how soon do I have to actually download the associated data? Can I wait a few hours or days?

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41068733)

Whenever I need to restore data from an archive backup, I need it RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

I don't. It'll be at least a few hours until FedEx arrives with the new server hardware in the best case, and a few weeks before we get a new building and our clothes stop smelling of smoke (and zombies) in the worst case.

Interesting question though: if I submit a retrieval job, how soon do I have to actually download the associated data? Can I wait a few hours or days?

That's why people have onsite and offsite backups. If you need it right now, use the onsite backup, if it's not already available from online or nearline storage.

But it's also good to have offline backups, in case your building gets hit with an airliner or something. In which case, having absolute immediate access to that data may not be as high a priority as executing the disaster recovery bringup plan. (If you have an offsite backup datacenter, well, why aren't you mirroring?).

This service is for those companies who may not be big enough to afford to go tape storage (big investment), but may only have a few TB they store on backup hard drives and such. Rather than having to arrange for offsite storage, they can use Amazon to do it cheaply and effectively. I also see it as a play for Amazon as a virtual business - Amazon handling all your IT and server needs between EC2/S3/etc so a business doesn't actually have exist anywhere - employees work from home, a token post office box is the street address, etc.

Though it is a good question - once a job is submitted and the data is ready a few hours later, how long is it available for?

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (2)

retep (108840) | about 2 years ago | (#41068899)

This service is for those companies who may not be big enough to afford to go tape storage (big investment), but may only have a few TB they store on backup hard drives and such. Rather than having to arrange for offsite storage, they can use Amazon to do it cheaply and effectively. I also see it as a play for Amazon as a virtual business - Amazon handling all your IT and server needs between EC2/S3/etc so a business doesn't actually have exist anywhere - employees work from home, a token post office box is the street address, etc.

I suspect the latter is going to be pretty common. If you're running something fully cloud hosted like imgur or reddit existing Amazon services were pretty expensive for your long-term backups; a lot of wasted money on retrieval speed that you didn't need. This finally gives the last piece of the storage puzzle: long-term cheap backups and archiving. Previously your best bet was to either download the data yourself, or use their physical drive service where you ship media to them and have them load up the data for you.

Honestly, at this point what service doesn't Amazon offer when it comes to your computing setup? (modulo the more general objections to cloud computing of course)

Myself I'll probably start using them for my home computer backups. 500GB * $0.01 is just $5 a month. I'm really looking forward to seeing rdiff-backup-like tools with proper delta support.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41069385)

This service is for those companies who may not be big enough to afford to go tape storage (big investment)

This whole discussion brings up a (tangential) question - at what scale does tape backup make economic sense nowadays? We're small - an educational unit - and were running tape backups for years. But as our data store grew (we're at ~ 10TB now), and disk hardware became cheaper and smaller, as time has progressed we've found it less expensive to move to disk for both our immediate and offsite backups.

Or is it simply a space argument - you can take tapes offsite without needing a second set of hardware?

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069655)

I work for a government organization with law enforcement divisions. When I get an order to restore from backups (and it is an _order_ not a request). I have a 1 hour window to complete the restore from tape if the cartridge is still onsite, and a two hours deadline if I have to send a staff member to fetch the tape from one of our three offsite storage locations. Our electronic data is as old as from the 1980's, anything older than that is on microfiche, but that's in the process of being digitized into a new document imaging system. We use a barcode inventory/library system to keep track of the cartridges and what's stored on them.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (1)

Bodero (136806) | about 2 years ago | (#41069079)

Interesting question though: if I submit a retrieval job, how soon do I have to actually download the associated data? Can I wait a few hours or days?

According to the AWS Blog [typepad.com] , 24 hours:

Each retrieval request that you make to Glacier is a called a job. You can poll Glacier to see if your data is available, or you can ask it to send a notification to the Amazon SNS topic of your choice when the data is available. You can then access the data via HTTP GET requests, including byte range requests. The data will remain available to you for 24 hours.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41069359)

depends what you need the restore for.

sometimes it's an added benefit that the backups aren't on any network where they can be wiped from the network, for obvious reasons.

I thought you didn't exist! My bad. (2)

Sloppy (14984) | about 2 years ago | (#41068893)

What's really amazing and [un]special about you, is that you are The One case! You are the same as everyone, so no one needs things that you don't need, everyone has the same constraints (and lack of constraints) that you do, and your desires represent the desires of humanity.

Congratulations on being 100% of the market.

I have been looking for you, though previously dismissed you as mythical. So tell me: what is the next great product that everyone wants? You, of all people, know the answer to this.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (1)

Bodero (136806) | about 2 years ago | (#41068933)

Whenever I need to restore data from an archive backup, I need it RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Then use Amazon S3. Reading the article (or even summary, in this case) has not yet been linked to cancer, so give it a try.

Re:Welcome to teh FailBoat, Amazon. (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41069519)

Whenever I need to restore data from an archive backup, I need it RIGHT FUCKING NOW.

Amazon is smoking crack.

When I need to restore data RIGHT FUCKING NOW, I restore it from a snapshot on the storage array. Glacier storage would be for when my storage array has gone up in flames and since it'll take me a week(s) to buy a new array and find somewhere to keep it, waiting a few hours for a restore job to be available is ok with me, especially since it'll take 2 weeks to restore the data to my array over my 1gbit internet connection.

Still tapes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068169)

Based on the waiting times, it sounds almost like they have some sort of robotic tape loading system, and you're basically just offloading your tape storage from the office to the nebulous cloud.

Re:Still tapes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068221)

Just wait until Acid Burn and Zero Cool hack it and you end up downloaded a copy of The Twilight Zone instead of your data.

Re:Still tapes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069429)

CRASH OVERRIDE would not be pleased with being excluded from your comment.

Re:Still tapes? (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41068345)

that's what makes it so cool. onsite tape robots are boring. streaming the data over the internet and waiting on the cloud to restore your backup is the awesomeness

Re:Still tapes? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#41069481)

Onsite tape backups also have a tendency to become unreadable if said site burns down. Different products for different use cases.

Re:Still tapes? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41069653)

WTF is your data center made of? wood and paper?

everything is fire proof these days

"Job" control? (3, Funny)

mjackson14609 (69635) | about 2 years ago | (#41068199)

Do you have to submit a properly-formatted JCL card to get your data back?

Re:"Job" control? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41068655)

Not if it can be retrieved within 5 hours.

(ex OS-390 programmer)

Re:"Job" control? (2)

Relayman (1068986) | about 2 years ago | (#41068707)

There are 11 types of Slashdotters: Those who get the joke, those who don't get the joke and don't care, and those who laugh anyway but have no clue what "JCL" means.

Re:"Job" control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068993)

have no clue what "JCL" means.

We refer to those as "the lucky ones".

Everybody in the cloud! (3, Funny)

marcosdumay (620877) | about 2 years ago | (#41068223)

Where should I put sensitive documents that must be safely stored for a long time? In the cloud, of course!

Re:Everybody in the cloud! (2)

Thantik (1207112) | about 2 years ago | (#41068333)

If by "cloud" you mean a remote location, yes.

Proper backup procedures generally include a on-site backup, plus an off-site. The "cloud" is perfect for an off-site backup.

Re:Everybody in the cloud! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068753)

'The "cloud" is perfect for an off-site backup.'

No it isn't. Why? Because you have absolutely no idea what they actually do, how they do it or even where. If you have even the lowest of profesional requirements, you should consider any data you hand over to "the cloud" to be lost.

This probably is different for bigger players who are important enough to be told the cloud provider's internals, but for everyone else it's just like taking a bunch of LTO tapes, walking into the nearest slum, handing them and a gallon of cheap wine to the first bum you meet. Maybe the data's still there if you need it, maybe not.

Re:Everybody in the cloud! (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#41068725)

Where should I put sensitive documents that must be safely stored for a long time? In the cloud, of course!

Yeah, going to a specialized 3rd party provider for safe long term storage is insane, you'd never put anything valuable in a bank vault would you? Would I put them in any random cloud? Not any more than I'd store my valuables in a shed, but with the right agreements in place on redundancy, backups, access control procedures and so on... maybe. Perhaps I'd use two and have redundant providers too. At least a company you have to remember that either way it's going to be run by people, whether you outsource it or not there could be bad apples. Maybe you think you can smell a bad one better among your own employees than they can, but most lack good self-assessment skills.

Re:Everybody in the cloud! (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#41069099)

Yeah, Iron Mountain seems to have made a pretty good business out of doing just this. The only difference with Amazon is that they don't send a truck to pick up your tapes.

Re:Everybody in the cloud! (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41069219)

Encrypt your data and suddenly it's an off-site backup!

I know it's fashionable to poo poo the cloud, but try to apply a little critical thinking. Afterall, the added benefit here is you can schedule updates to the archive without having to actually drive anywhere.

Please explain. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068269)

WTF is a "web connection"? No, really. Nerds are pedants for a reason, and it isn't just the social awkwardness that predicates against second-guessing what some fuzzy-brained journo or marketeering bod might have been thinking. Terms of art are terms of art. If you're hashing them into buzzword stew, you're talking crap. Please fix, and come back when you don't merely really understand what you're writing about, but know which terms of art to apply just when.

Re:Please explain. (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41068323)

In this case, "web" is a synonym for "internet". The context made it very clear.

Re:Please explain. (1)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41068565)

Connections over port 80?

What they probably mean is they provide a web interface for interacting with the system rather then providing a locally installed application, then downloaded strait through the browser.

So ... (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41068325)

... does this mean that deleting data from Amazon Simple Storage is called an ASS-wipe?

Re:So ... (5, Funny)

tgd (2822) | about 2 years ago | (#41068511)

... does this mean that deleting data from Amazon Simple Storage is called an ASS-wipe?

Admit it, you've been waiting years to use that joke, haven't you?

Cheaper Carbonite/Backblaze? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068337)

I looked at doing my own backups using S3... it's about $25 a month for 200 Gbytes. Gee, that'd be $2 a month (!) in Glacier... but for backups that I just want securely off-site, a five hour wait to get it to S3 is fine.

Definite savings over S3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068353)

It's definitely a big cost savings compared to Amazon S3 (i.e. roughly 90% less expensive). For backups that one doesn't need to access in a time-critical manner, it seems like an excellent alternative to S3 (e.g. videos, photos, etc.).

Cheap Off-Site Storage (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068355)

Is the topic? That's pathetic even for you free software hippies.

C'mon can't we talk about taking over Wall St. Banks or something?

Unusable for Us. (2)

neorush (1103917) | about 2 years ago | (#41068419)

If transferring the gigabytes of data nightly over the internet was feasible, we'd be using rsync to an offsite server for a fraction of the cost. Bandwidth / sync time is the issue here, not whether or not its on tape or not. Why would I use Amazon if I can just run rsync to my remote server for (probably) a much lower cost. We use tape because there is not enough time to run these backups over the web. Maybe as some kind of secondary backup solution so Joe doesn't have to go get the tapes, but it probably wouldn't be a nightly solution. At least not for us.

Re:Unusable for Us. (2)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41068601)

Well, as you say, 'for us'. Having an offsite server to back up to is indeed a similar solution, in fact that is basically what this is... only someone else maintains the server and worries about maintenance. Anyone can set up an extra server in their closet at home for pretty cheap, but this isn't intended for that type of ad-hoc solution. I suspect services like this also make a company's insurance carrier happier.

Re:Unusable for Us. (2)

neorush (1103917) | about 2 years ago | (#41069069)

The point here is, no matter what the service, until we get either less data or unlimited bandwidth, transferring backups nightly over the net is not an option. I was just saying this is essentially an offsite server that is probably going to be more expensive, likening it to tape is really a misnomer. I can already see the suits hearing about this and trying to get rid of tape backups because Amazon does this and they won't have to tell Joe IT guy to go get them. Than I have to start explain why the interpipes will start to leak...I do agree there is a market for this service. Heck, if the cost per GB was cheap enough I'd back-up my own music / movie library to it and ditch the mirroring...

Re:Unusable for Us. (1)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41069743)

I would wager it actually IS tape. I am surprised it is even news, actually. Off-site tape backup centers managed by a 3rd party are nothing new. Generally bandwidth is not that big of an issue for such setups, one is not doing backups of large amounts of data at a time, but instead fairly small amount (like customer records, payroll, etc) done over and over so they can role back to any particular date easily.

Though ideally, one does not use such a service to replace local tape backups, but instead to add an extra layer... the 'in case your building burns down' type protection.

Re:Unusable for Us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068805)

Looks like you can just ship drives to them for the whole 'truck load of drives' bandwidth effect: http://aws.amazon.com/importexport/ [amazon.com]

Re:Unusable for Us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068853)

Simple, can you guarantee 99.999999999% durability cause that is what amazon is providing.? Can you quickly buy new tapes if your needs grow?

making a cheap backup is one thing, making a reliable backup is another.

Re:Unusable for Us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069081)

Simple, can you guarantee 99.999999999% durability cause that is what amazon is providing.? .

That's what Amazon is PROMISING.

Re:Unusable for Us. (1)

neorush (1103917) | about 2 years ago | (#41069241)

Simply put. yes. We have had no data loss in 12+ years. Proper training, practices, and audits make data loss pretty much impossible. Unless Texas and New York were both wiped out at the same time...

We used to call this near line (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068427)

Back when data may be on numerous tape or magneto optical disks. Glad Amazon has reinvented the 90's.

services on top (2)

hey (83763) | about 2 years ago | (#41068431)

I look forward to see what services are built on top of this. Easy and cheap backup?

Humans in the loop? (2)

retep (108840) | about 2 years ago | (#41068435)

A robotic tape system would generally give you your data back in a few minutes at most, but Amazon is saying you can expect multiple hours of waiting. I'm assuming this system is literally based on people moving around boxes of tapes and inserting them into tape readers; inconvenient but reassuring in its own way. Perhaps they've managed to automate things even further, say by setting up carts of hundreds of tapes carried around by a forklift that get plugged into the robotic tape loading system.

Also sound like an interesting operations challenge though in trying to co-ordinate all the read request jobs when your customers can store as little as 1 byte. You can see why they penalize any attempt to actually read your data, especially if you send in a read request job within a short time period of storing the data.

Re:Humans in the loop? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 2 years ago | (#41068615)

It still might be a tape robot, with the wait time being their best guess regarding how active the system will be and thus how long the robot's queue is. A robotic system indeed is quite quick, when you are the only user.

Re:Humans in the loop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41068679)

It is almost certainly automated, but they will have far more tapes than can fit in a single archiver machine. I'm guessing a warehouse full of tapes with a bunch of reader machines, robots to find and deliver the tapes, and a huge hard disk cache for the data that needs to move.

Pretty quick, really. (1, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | about 2 years ago | (#41068443)

It usually takes us a couple days to put in the request, get the tapes from offsite, then restore the data, hoping we picked the right dates.

So... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#41068571)

will system meltdowns on Glacier be referred to as Jökulhlaup [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:So... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 2 years ago | (#41069243)

Slashdot's backend does actually support unicode, they just stripped the non-US characters since sppamers were working around various filters through it. In other words, it's not broken, it's a feature!

Marketing (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41068585)

This sounds amazingly like someone put money into a data storage system that turned out to be far slower than they'd wanted. Now marketing is picking up the slack by calling it Glacier.

In other words, they're stuck trying to sell white salmon by claiming "Guaranteed to never turn pink in the can!"

Re:Marketing (1)

IpSo_ (21711) | about 2 years ago | (#41068845)

Actually, it sounds like a network engineer asking how to better utilize the terrabits of available DOWNSTREAM bandwidth that Amazon has available. Running servers by its very nature primarily uses UPSTREAM bandwidth (serving content), so having people send them loads of data often and rarely reading it I'm sure will do wonders to better utilize that available bandwidth, not to mention backups/archives often happen during non-peak periods its a win-win for Amazon.

Potentially a good service - needs a consumer tool (4, Interesting)

CFD339 (795926) | about 2 years ago | (#41068663)

I think this opens the possibility for a middle-man company to provide long term archival tools for end users. This firm would spend its energy focused on front end tools for the end user and make use of Amazon's back end long term storage for the actual infrastructure.

There are many amateur and even professional photographers, for example, with almost no alternatives for very long term storage. Home writable media is nearly all flawed in terms of true long term storage. I'm sure there are many use cases in this space.

In terms of mid-size and larger companies, I think a critical feature will need to be a simple interface that encrypts at the client side prior to sending the data using a private key only available on the client side. I cannot think a responsible I.T. professional would store company critical or customer data on a third party site like that without such protections in place.

Re:Potentially a good service - needs a consumer t (2)

Bodero (136806) | about 2 years ago | (#41068915)

I think this opens the possibility for a middle-man company to provide [...] tools for end users.

You hit the nail on the head about AWS' goal: They are providing the APIs for others to develop consumer-level tools and products by utilizing their existing infrastructure. Everything, from EC2 to S3 to R53, is geared towards developers (which will then market to end users) by providing full functionality via an API. Glacier is no exception, and as you said, there will be great tools available for end users for those ready to create them.

Maybe someone reading this thread is already fast at work developing exactly what you say.

Where are the S3 tools now? (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 years ago | (#41069479)

Where are all the good end-user tools for S3 now?

You can find one or two, but it's curious that a Google search for "Amazon S3 client comparison" turns up links from 2009 and 2010.

More curious is the fact that Dropbox, SugarSync, the MS solution, Google's new solution etc seem to be thriving and providing exactly the kind of services that you'd expect third party S3 clients to provide.

I'm not saying these clients don't exist, but I don't seem to find them very easily compared to other cloud storage options, and you'd kind of expect people to come up with lots of crazy storage solutions.

Re:Where are the S3 tools now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069691)

Tarsnap is the best, most secure, and most interesting of these:

http://www.tarsnap.com/ [tarsnap.com]

Tarsnap charges $0.30/GB. Maybe this will allow them to offer another tier of service for cheaper.

Glacier storage? (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 years ago | (#41068769)

Apparently someone at Amazon didn't watch the long term weather forecast - climate change means all the glaciers will be gone in a few decades.

Move your IT department to Amazon Cloud Services (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#41069013)

This is essentially what Amazon (and Google mail/docs for that matter) is doing - Aiming to become your company's new IT department. No CEO in their right mind is going to pay multiple salaries/benefits for a staffed IT department when they can get it from Google and Amazon way cheaper. Even if they pay $10k/month, that's cheaper than paying to staff a 4 person IT departement.

And before you start in about how this helps small startups who can't afford and IT staff, well think again. They can't afford the cloud services either or they wouldn't have the development team running the website/DNS/etc.

Someone tell the DEA (1)

ysth (1368415) | about 2 years ago | (#41069037)

They obviously could use some help [slashdot.org] .

To put it in even more layman terms (2)

bogie (31020) | about 2 years ago | (#41069077)

It's $10/month per 1TB which imho is pretty fair. Maybe not doable if you have 1,000 1TB tapes like someone else posted but for most other businesses that's not bad.

So are they using actual glaciers to store data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069091)

Or is this going to be using tape to store data?

Tape Drive Killer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069201)

I've been waiting for something like this in my case. As a startup, it lets us get rid of all the servers we keep in the corner because we may "one day need that data on those old hard drives". This was the promise that nimbus.io gave us, but they are about 12 months behind and a dollar short. Sure, this is much slower retrieval, but the likelihood of us ever requesting a retrieval is quite minimal. It's at a cost of $10/TB, and I'm sure we pay more than that now in storage costs.

"Glacier" might not be the best term (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41069505)

Considering that glaciers are melting at an alarming rate around the world and losing their 'data' I think 'glacier' might not be the best term for this product. It doesn't really inspire confidence.

Retrieval vs Transfer Out? (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 2 years ago | (#41069657)

The examples all use the Retrieval pricing:
http://aws.amazon.com/glacier/faqs/ [amazon.com]

Not having ever used AWS, I'm wondering what is the difference between a "Transfer Out" and a "Retrieval"?

Worst name ever (1)

kriston (7886) | about 2 years ago | (#41069665)

Okay, I thought Google Play was a terrible name, but Amazon Glacier leaves me speechless.

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