Tape vendors feel the cold, clammy hand of AWS on their shoulders. Behind them grins the Glacier Deep Archive

Plus on-premises cloud, Windows file systems, and other bits and bytes


re:Invent A bunker-busting bomb just exploded in the tape business.

Amazon today teased during its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas a deep cloud archive storage system that will be a quarter of the price of its existing Glacier system.

Glacier is Amazon’s original cloud archival storage offering, and costs $0.004/GB/month ($4/TB/month) plus separate retrieval costs. It was positioned as Amazon’s cloud alternative to tape. However tape lives and thrives, and so Amazon is having another attempt at killing it off with a new and cheaper archival store.

Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services CEO, was on stage at the internet giant's love-in when he detonated the bomb. He said that AWS's forthcoming Glacier Deep Archive (GDA) storage service will cost $0.00099/GB/month or $1.01/TB/month, and have 11 nines durability, 99.999999999 per cent, the same as Glacier.

With today's Glacier, if you store 10,000,000 objects, you can on average expect to incur a loss of a single object once every 10,000 years, according to Amazon.

Amazon said GDA will become available next year, and hasn't yet revealed all retrieval options, time, and price data. AWS later said the retrieval time would be within 12 hours.

Retrieval options for S3 Glacier right now are quite complicated with three main options concerning retrieval times and costs.

  • Expedited retrievals typically return data in 1-5 minutes.
  • Standard retrievals typically complete between 3-5 hours.
  • Bulk retrievals take 5-12 hours. 

And the prices:

  • Expedited retrievals cost $0.03 per GB and $0.01 per request.
  • Standard retrievals cost $0.01 per GB and $0.05 per 1,000 requests.
  • Bulk retrievals cost $0.0025 per GB and $0.025 per 1,000 requests.

For GDA we could envisage a time equivalent to or greater than S3 Glacier’s bulk retrieval option and costs a tad less per GB than $0.0025. Will this kill tape stone dead? HPE, IBM, Oracle and SpectraLogic spreadsheet maestros will be working Excel like crazy to see if their tape and tape library businesses have a future. ®

Also announced or previewed at re:Invent today...

  • Amazon DynamoDB On-Demand is a new flexible billing option for the cloud-hosted database.
  • Amazon FSx for Lustre is a highly parallel Lustre filesystem.
  • Amazon FSx for Windows File Server is, you guessed it, a cloud-hosted Windows file system using the operating system's file server technology.
  • AWS Outposts lets you bring Amazon's cloud platform in-house, and run it on-premises equipment, and continue using the usual set of APIs. You can either use AWS's native code or VMware's virtualization tech.

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