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Amazon Web Services Launches Amazon Glacier Archival Storage


By Bio-IT World Staff  

August 21, 2012 | Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched Amazon Glacier – a secure, reliable, low-cost storage solution designed for data archiving and backup.    

Amazon Glacier is designed for archival data that is infrequently accessed but is still needed occasionally for reference or analysis. Examples include raw genome sequence data, digital media archives, financial and healthcare records, database backups, and data required for regulatory compliance. The cost of storage is as low as $0.01/Gigabyte/month, which Amazon says is a significant savings compared to on-site solutions.   

Amazon believes its Glacier solution will prove attractive for organizations that may be overpaying for their data archives. Such preparations typically include upfront payments for the archiving solution (not including operational expenses such as power, facilities, staffing, and maintenance) and wasted resources because users have to estimate their archival needs and often over-estimate their needs, resulting in under-utilization. Users of Amazon Glacier face no upfront capital commitments or additional maintenance costs, and can elastically scale their usage according to needs, and all ongoing operational expenses are included.  

One genomics company that plans to utilize Amazon Glacier is Complete Genomics, a provider of human genome sequencing as a service, which produces terabytes of sequence data on a daily basis.   

Keith Raffel, Complete’s senior VP and chief commercial officer, said: “As our company moves into the clinical space, we face a legal requirement to archive patient data for years that would drastically raise the cost of storage. Thanks to Amazon Glacier’s secure and scalable solution, we will be able to provide cost-effective, long-term storage and thereby eliminate a barrier to providing whole genome sequencing for medical treatment of cancer and other genetic diseases.”  

Another organization that plans to move its archives to Amazon Glacier is New York Public Radio. “An organization like ours thinks in centuries when it comes to content retention, and long-term preservation of our Master Archives is a critical part of our mission,” said Steve Shultis, CTO New York Public Radio. “Storing these core assets on traditional media such as local disk and off-site tape exposes us to corruption and even outright-loss of data.”  Amazon Glacier, he said, would provide “a better long-term solution.”   

“Most businesses rely on expensive, brittle, and inflexible tape for their archiving solution," said Alyssa Henry, VP AWS Storage Services. “Amazon Glacier changes the game for companies requiring archiving and backup solutions because you pay nothing upfront, pay a very low price for storage, are able to scale up and down whenever needed, and AWS handles all of the operational heavy lifting required to do data retention well."  

Amazon Glacier allows customers to offload the administrative burdens of operating and scaling archival storage to AWS, removing the need for hardware provisioning, data replication across multiple facilities, or hardware failure detection and repair. Designed to deliver average annual durability of 99.999999999% for each item stored, the service automatically replicates all data across multiple facilities and performs ongoing data integrity checks, using redundant data to perform automatic repairs if hardware failure or data corruption is discovered. Data uploaded to Amazon Glacier remains safely stored for as long as necessary with no additional effort from customers.    

Amazon Glacier is available across the United States in three locations (Northern Virginia, Northern California, and Oregon), as well as Tokyo and Ireland. Further information pricing details can be found here: http://aws.amazon.com/glacier.  

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