When You Need Long Term Cloud Storage: Amazon Glacier

When You Need Long Term Cloud Storage: Amazon Glacier

Chris Perez
May 6, 2013

We're all taking more photos than ever. But where to store all the gigabytes of images, besides your hard drive or smartphone? You need something...somewhere...especially when considering file redundancy. You might already use Amazon to purchase hard drives and flash drives, but now you can turn to them for cloud storage designed for the long haul.

The 'Cloud' is a term we've all probably have heard of, maybe you're already using: off-site online storage, hosted by the likes of Dropbox, Google, Carbonite, and countless others. Many devices like hard drives and services like ISP subscriptions come with basic cloud service options, but we don't always remember to use them for backups. This could be because of lack of habit, but also because backup solutions are expensive beyond those limited introductory gigabyte storage offers.

That's what makes Amazon's Amazon Glacier offering appealing. Amazon Glacier offers the most affordable storage solution for cloud storage, at just 1 cent per gigabyte, per month. That works out to just $10 a month per terabyte! For professional photographers and videographers the service makes an off-site cloud storage solution a reasonable consideration for off-site, long term storage.

The downside to this storage solution is access. Unlike other cloud storage options, as the name implies, Amazon Glacier is designed for huge storage needs that are only accessed occasionally (for example: when your local hard drive fails and you need to access a redundant copy for a restore). 

Access request can take 3-5 hours for Amazon to fulfill, and those over and above 5% of your total storage also incur additional fees. For these reasons Glacier should be regarded as a cloud storage system for emergency backups — a supplement to external hard drives you may already offload your important media to.

Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, SkyDrive, SugarSync, and Amazon Cloud offerings are other options to explore if you need the convenience of instant access, but it's good to have an option for the bigger picture and long haul for our larger digital file and image collections.

Consider those solutions and more in these articles on Cloud Storage options to find the right one for your needs:
1. Pros and Cons: 5 Cloud Storage Options
2. Cloud Storage 101
3. Amazon Cloud: Pros, Cons & What it Means for You
4. Cloud Storage Showdown: Dropbox vs. iCloud

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)

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