Can someone explain amazon glacier pricing to me?
September 13, 2017 5:29 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to understand how Amazon glacier pricing works. I have looked at a million sites and I still don't get it. Can someone explain it to me?

I have looked at their pricing page. And at a lot of other pages. But I still don't get it.

Say I have, I dunnno, one terabyte of data that I want to put into cold storage.

That'll cost me around $4 a month to keep. Is that right?

That depends on my "Region". But how does that work? I am in Toronto. Does that automatically mean my data is in the "Central Canada" region?

More confusingly to me: Say I have a catastrophic data failure, and I want my data back from Glacier. I am okay to wait a few hours. I understand this is part of what makes it "cold storage".

How much does it cost me to get that 1 terabyte of data?

It looks like, at the "standard" rate, it would be around $10. Is that right? That is based on the "retrieval pricing". Is that it? Or do I also have to pay the heftier "Data Transfer OUT From Amazon Glacier To Internet" fee?

There are other prices on that page I don't understand:

retrieval pricing:
I don't understand what the "$0.055 per 1,000 requests" means. Does that mean for each 1000 files downloaded, I pay an additional 5 cents?

Request Pricing:
I see there's a fee of $.05 for every 1000 upload requests. Does that mean I pay a one-time fee of a nickel for every 1000 files I upload?

Data Transfer Pricing:
This is the part that most confuses me. If I want to download my terabyte of data, do I have to pay $.090 per GB to transfer it out of glacier to the internet?

If it matters - I'm planning/hoping to use this on my newly-acquired Synology NAS.

(and- to add to all this confusion - I gather glacier recently changed their pricing models - so a lot of the resources that I have found that explain pricing are outdated, I think...)
posted by ManInSuit to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, so the trick here is how many files you have vs. how much data you have. If you have one terabyte of data that you zipped into a huge zip file, that's one request. If you have one thousand files uploaded separately at 1 GB each, that is the same amount of data, but it will take 1,000 requests to get them out. you'll pay the same amount for data retrieval in both cases, but the request price will be higher in the latter case. So if you don't expect to need to pull individual files out of cold storage one by one, you're better off turning all your data into as few zip files as you can.

Data Transfer pricing seems to be if you sign up for Glacier in Toronto, then try to retrieve it when you're visiting Florida; that will be an extra fee. Whereas if you request the data while you're still in Toronto, that fee will not apply.
posted by gideonfrog at 5:59 PM on September 13, 2017

Data Transfer pricing seems to be if you sign up for Glacier in Toronto, then try to retrieve it when you're visiting Florida; that will be an extra fee. Whereas if you request the data while you're still in Toronto, that fee will not apply.

This is entirely incorrect. The region is to do with AWS availability zones. If you want to restore data to an AWS instance in the same zone you don't pay data transfer. If you're restoring it to a site that involves going out through the internet (i.e. Glacier to home NAS) you pay data transfer. If you restore it to an instance in a different AWS availability zone you pay data transfer.

OP, just use Backblaze B2. It's almost the same price as AWS ($5/mo/TB), far less annoying, and has an app you can install directly on a Synology NAS.
posted by Talez at 6:17 PM on September 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

Oh, my apologies. I completely misunderstood what I was reading!
posted by gideonfrog at 6:22 PM on September 13, 2017

Glacier pricing is complex. It can be a good choice for certain applications, but you can also very easily spend a lot more than you expect if you don't analyze it correctly. If you aren't already pretty familiar with AWS (and the fact that you're asking about regions suggests to me that you're not), I strongly second Talez's suggestion that you choose another option.
posted by primethyme at 6:35 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Google's "Nearline" and "Coldline" storage is similar in price to Glacier and has vastly simpler pricing. Synology supports it.
posted by dmd at 6:47 PM on September 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to all those suggesting I just use something other than Glacier! I realize that's not what I asked, but it might very much be the right answer. (And yes - primethyme you are correct. I am totally unfamiliar with AWS)
posted by ManInSuit at 7:00 PM on September 13, 2017

Glacier's pricing isn't as crazy and predatory as it used to be, though. A lot of the dire warnings you'll find online are based on the old model, which billed you for an entire month based on the peak download rate at any instant during that month. It used to be possible to accidentally pay orders of magnitude more per GB than you expected to, simply by getting the timing of your requests wrong.

The current system may or may not be what best suits your needs, but at least now it's much harder to shoot yourself in the foot.
posted by teraflop at 10:37 PM on September 13, 2017

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