S3 Glacier Storage Class and Legacy Glacier Vaults Difference Explained

This article helps to understand better the difference between Amazon S3 Glacier for the regular S3 storage and the Glacier vault storage.

With the introduction of Amazon S3 Glacier storage class, some confusion persisted among AWS customers: what exactly had been changed and how to apply these changes properly. Below are a few simple answers to state the most notable points of difference between the Glacier-related storage solutions.

This article covers the following topics:

Legacy Glacier Storage

Legacy Glacier is an archive storage solution independent from AWS S3. It uses storage containers named vaults (opposed to S3 buckets) and its own set of APIs for data uploading and retrieving.

As the storage price is cheaper compared to S3, data retrieval is more expensive and time-consuming. However, both of these properties can be influenced by applying a retrieval policy specific to the use-case: either a standard, bulk (aimed at cost-effective retrieval of big datasets), or expedited policy (aimed at faster retrieval of data).

Once uploaded, the dataset stored in Glacier vault can be listed by requesting the metadata with an API request. Typically, it takes about four hours to retrieve metadata which in turn clears the way for full or partial retrieval of the dataset. The vault where the data is stored can also be applied with a vault lock which prevents locked data deletion for a certain period.

Despite legacy Glacier storage is no longer actively developed by Amazon, it is still fully functional

AWS S3 Glacier Storage

As the name implies, S3 Glacier is a combination of both storage solutions into one ecosystem with a single set of APIs. S3 Glacier uses S3 APIs in order of data management. It also uses S3 storage as a repository for metadata of the Glacier-stored objects, making metadata retrieval (and subsequently, data listing), much faster.

S3 Glacier is not a stand-alone storage solution. It appears as a storage class within S3 dedicated to long-term data storage. Data can be moved to the S3 Glacier storage class after a certain period by using the S3 lifecycle policy.

To learn more, refer to the Lifecycle Policies chapter

At the backend, S3 Glacier is similar to Glacier vault storage, with basically the same data retrieval approach and pricing. Meanwhile, close integration with S3 benefits the usability of this storage solution. As the vaults in S3 Glacier are no longer user-managed, an object lock can be applied to S3 buckets affiliated with S3 Glacier-stored data to secure it from preemptive deletion.

To learn more about AWS S3 Glacier, refer to the Amazon S3 Glacier FAQs section at aws.amazon.com

S3 Glacier Deep Archive Storage

A recently introduced storage class, S3 Glacier Deep Archive is the cheapest storage solution AWS has to offer a slower retrieval speed and a higher retrieval cost are the implications of the low storage costs. Retrieval policies are reduced to just standard and bulk, with no expedited option available.

To learn more about S3 Glacier Deep Archive storage class, refer to Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive section at aws.amazon.com

Amazon Glacier Storage Solutions in MSP360 (CloudBerry) Backup

  • Legacy Glacier storage is not supported in Managed Backup Service
  • Legacy Glacier storage is no longer supported in standalone MSP360 (CloudBerry) Backup. However, retrieval of legacy backups is possible on a case-to-case basis via the MSP360 support team
  • AWS S3 Glacier and S3 Glacier Deep Archive are supported as storage classes in both Managed Backup Service and standalone MSP360 (CloudBerry) Backup. Backups can be performed directly to S3 Glacier / Deep Archive storage classes or moved using the data lifecycle policy.