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August 21, 2012

New Archival storage option? Amazon Glacier offers 1c per GB per month

Photographers, especially professional, advanced, amateur, and enthusiastic enthusiasts end up with lots and lots files, especially RAW shooters and dedicated post-processors. A new service launched by Amazon called "Amazon Glacier" offers archival storage for 1-cent per gigabyte per month. That's 12c per gigabyte (GB) for 1-year, or $120 per terabyte (TB).

Please note this is intended to be used as an archival storage service, not backup. There are charges for transferring the data out. You can transfer up to 5% of your average monthly storage for free. After that, there is a 1-cent per gigabyte retrieval charge. In other words, this is to be used as another layer of protection for your data, not your main backup source if you plan to retrieve stuff on a regular basis. The situation obviously varies depending on the amount of data you have.

There are five regions available for you to choose from, three in the USA (NoVa (Northern Virginia), NoCal (Northern California) and Oregon), one in the EU (Ireland) and one in Asia Pacific (Tokyo). The service promises redundancy on multiple devices within a facility and also across multiple facilities.

You can use your existing Amazon.com account name/password, but this is a separate AWS service, so you have to enter your data and agree to the customer agreement before using the service.

Details and pricing at the Amazon Glacier pages. Discussions of this in the techie-blogo-sphere via Techmeme.

One terabyte (TB) may sound like a lot but is it? Let's take an example using the Nikon D800. With a modest average of 40MB per NEF file (see sample samples at Imaging Resource), you get 25 images per gigabyte (GB). That's around 100 NEF files per DVD-R. And 25,000 NEF files per terabyte (TB). Obviously strategies for "keepers", storage, processing, post-processing, file formats kept, redundancy, etc vary from person to person, but for a working/studio/non-stop/active photographer, that's not a huge number.

UPDATE: Wired has a post asking whether there is a hidden landmine in this new service...


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