Introduction of AWS Glacier

  • By Abhijeet Dahatonde
  • August 21, 2023
  • AWS
Introduction of AWS Glacier

Introduction of AWS Glacier

AWS Glacier is a cloud-based storage service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that offers secure, durable, and cost-effective long-term data archival. It is designed to store large amounts of data that are infrequently accessed but require long-term retention, such as backup archives, compliance records, and data preservation.

Glacier is built on the principle of “pay-as-you-go,” meaning you only pay for the storage you use without any upfront costs. It leverages the AWS infrastructure, ensuring the durability and availability of your data over extended periods of time. Glacier achieves this by replicating your data across multiple data centers within a region and employing systematic data integrity checks. With AWS Classes in Pune, you can develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this in-demand field.

One of the key features of AWS Glacier is its low-cost storage model, which makes it an attractive solution for businesses and organizations with large data volumes. The storage pricing is significantly lower compared to other AWS storage services, but accessing the data stored in Glacier is associated with additional retrieval costs and time delays due to the retrieval process.

Glacier offers three retrieval options to accommodate different data access needs: Expedited, Standard, and Bulk retrievals. Expedited retrieval provides the fastest access, allowing you to retrieve your data within minutes. Standard retrieval offers access within hours, while Bulk retrieval is the most cost-effective but can take several hours to complete.

AWS Glacier also includes features like data lifecycle policies, which enable you to automate data archival and retention processes. With lifecycle policies, you can define rules to transition data to Glacier from other AWS storage services or set expiration dates for data stored in Glacier, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

To interact with Glacier, AWS provides a set of APIs and SDKs, allowing you to integrate it into your applications and manage your data programmatically. Additionally, Glacier integrates with other AWS services such as Amazon S3, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), AWS CloudTrail, and AWS CloudWatch for enhanced functionality and monitoring capabilities.


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Glacier Advantages:

AWS Glacier is used for a variety of purposes due to its unique characteristics and benefits. Here are some common use cases for AWS Glacier:


Data Archival: 

Glacier is primarily used for long-term data archival. Organizations can store large volumes of data that are infrequently accessed but need to be retained for compliance, legal, or regulatory purposes. This includes backup archives, historical records, financial data, and other forms of data that need to be preserved for extended periods.

Regulatory Compliance: 

Many industries, such as healthcare, finance, and government, have strict regulations that require data to be retained for specific periods. AWS Glacier provides a secure and cost-effective solution for organizations to comply with these regulatory requirements. Glacier’s durability and data integrity features ensure that data remains intact and accessible when needed.

Disaster Recovery: 

Glacier is often used as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy. By storing backup data in Glacier, organizations can safeguard their critical information and restore it in the event of data loss, system failures, or natural disasters. Glacier’s data replication across multiple data centers enhances the reliability and availability of the stored data.

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Data Preservation: 

Glacier is well-suited for preserving digital assets such as photographs, videos, audio recordings, and documents. Museums, libraries, and other institutions can leverage Glacier to store and protect valuable cultural and historical artifacts digitally, ensuring their long-term preservation.

Cost-Effective Storage: 

Glacier’s pricing model makes it an attractive option for organizations with large data volumes that are rarely accessed. It offers significantly lower storage costs compared to other AWS storage services. By utilizing Glacier, businesses can optimize their storage expenses without compromising data durability or availability.

Data Retention and e-Discovery: 

Glacier’s ability to set data lifecycle policies enables organizations to define retention periods for specific data. This is useful for legal purposes, as it ensures that data is retained for a required duration and can be easily accessed if needed for litigation or e-discovery processes.

Big Data Analytics: 

Glacier can also be used in conjunction with other AWS services for big data analytics. By moving less frequently accessed data to Glacier, organizations can reduce storage costs while still making it available for analysis when required.


Glacier Retrieval Options

AWS Glacier provides three retrieval options to access your archived data:

Expedited Retrieval: 

This retrieval option allows you to retrieve your data from Glacier within minutes. It is primarily designed for situations where you need faster access to your data. However, expedited retrieval is associated with higher costs compared to the other options.

Standard Retrieval: 

Standard retrieval provides access to your data within hours. It is the default retrieval option for Glacier and offers a balance between cost and speed. Standard retrieval is suitable for most scenarios where immediate access to the data is not required.

Bulk Retrieval: 

Bulk retrieval is the most cost-effective option but also the slowest. It can take several hours to retrieve your data from Glacier. This retrieval option is ideal for large data sets where speed is not a critical factor, and cost optimization is a priority.


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To access AWS Glacier, you can follow these general steps:

Create an AWS Account: If you don’t already have an AWS account, sign up for one at the AWS website ( You will need to provide your payment information to set up the account.

Set Up AWS Glacier: Once you have an AWS account, you can access Glacier through the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), or programmatically through the AWS SDKs and APIs. Choose the method that best suits your needs and familiarity with AWS tools.

AWS Management Console: Log in to the AWS Management Console using your AWS account credentials. Search for “Glacier” in the services search bar or navigate to the Glacier service. From there, you can create and manage Glacier vaults, initiate retrieval jobs, configure lifecycle policies, and perform other tasks using the user-friendly web interface.

AWS CLI: Install the AWS CLI on your local machine and configure it with your AWS account credentials. You can then use the AWS CLI commands to interact with Glacier. The CLI provides a command-line interface for managing Glacier vaults, uploading and downloading archives, and performing other operations.

AWS SDKs and APIs: If you prefer to programmatically interact with Glacier, you can use the AWS SDKs available in various programming languages, such as Python, Java, or. NET. The SDKs provide libraries and APIs that allow you to integrate Glacier functionality into your applications and automate Glacier operations.

Create Glacier Vaults: In Glacier, data is stored in vaults. You need to create a Glacier vault before you can start storing data. The vault acts as a container for your archives and provides a logical separation for organizing and managing your data. You can create vaults through the AWS Management Console, CLI, or API.

Store Data in Glacier: Once you have a vault, you can start storing data in Glacier by uploading archives. An archive represents a single file or a collection of files that you want to store in Glacier. You can upload archives to Glacier using the AWS Management Console, CLI, or API.

Retrieve Data from Glacier: When you need to retrieve data from Glacier, you initiate a retrieval request. Specify the retrieval option (Expedited, Standard, or Bulk) based on your requirements. Depending on the retrieval option chosen, Glacier prepares the data for retrieval, and you can download the retrieved data once the retrieval job is complete.

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Make sure to refer to the official AWS Glacier documentation for detailed instructions, best practices, and specific examples based on your preferred method of access (Console, CLI, SDKs, or APIs).
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