Blog articles
Read MSP360’s latest news and expert articles about MSP business and technology
Don’t miss new articles!
Thank you for subscribing!
Every week we deliver quality content about cloud storage, backups and security. Leave your email to get weekly and monthly digests

Direct Upload to Amazon S3 Glacier vs Upload Through Amazon S3

Direct Upload to Amazon S3 Glacier vs Upload Through Amazon S3

Amazon S3 Glacier is a cloud service dedicated for storing archived data which is not likely to be retrieved often. In other words, it is designed for infrequently accessed data. Glacier has a high latency of data retrieval but offers low pricing and high safety for stored archives. In this article, we are going to explain Glacier’s data uploading nuances.

Table of Contents

    Working with S3 Glacier

    Glacier is a quite cost-effective solution for the prolonged keeping of important data which is not used often. It is a nice choice for a company which possesses a lot of outdated electronic documentation and wants a cheap but safe storage. Amazon does not urge its customers to store more or less there, though Glacier's optimal usage model foresees archives to be kept for a longer period of time.

    Archiving to the Cloud: Cold Storage

    How to use cold storage - like Amazon S3 Glacier - cost-effectively and efficiently? Find out in our whitepaper:

    New call-to-action
    Cold Storage WP icon

    Glacier storage ensures high redundancy, as an archive is stored within multiple facilities at once. The archived data is secured with AES-256 encryption on the server side. Additional safety is ensured by Vault Lock policies.

    The monthly storage price is fixed and varies from $0.004 to $0.013 per 1GB, depending on a region. Retrieval is free for up to 10 GB a month. Deletion of data is free if this data was stored for more than 3 months, otherwise, an early deletion fee would be applied. 

    Further reading Amazon S3 Glacier Pricing Explained

    In 2019, Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive storage class will become available. The new service is meant for deep archival data that is only needed very infrequently but can’t be deleted. Storing 1Gb will cost you $0.00099 per month.

    Users have to set up jobs in order to download archives or archive lists in vault snapshots. These jobs run in the background and usually take several hours to complete. There are two ways to upload data

    • Direct upload from user's instance to Glacier.
    • Using Amazon S3 lifecycle policies to move data from S3 to Glacier.

    Let's explore both of them in details.

    Direct Upload to S3 Glacier


    There is no Wizard in AWS console for uploading archives to Glacier vaults. Users have to do that by creating requests via Glacier REST API or use AWS Software Development Kits (or SDKs) for their own applications. All that requires some coding and AWS provides SDKs with Glacier support for the following programming languages:

    • C++.
    • Go.
    • Java.
    • JavaScript in Node.js.
    • .NET.
    • PHP.
    • Python.
    • Ruby.

    This way of uploading is, therefore, most convenient for users with programming skills or for third-party providers who offer their own tools for S3 Glacier storage management.

    Amazon provides two alternative schemes of direct upload to S3 Glacier:

    • Upload in a single operation
    • Upload in parts

    Single operation option is available for up to 4GB of data. Upload in parts is recommended for archives bigger than 100MB: it transfers each part in a parallel session (size of parts is specified by the user). If a session fails, only this part would be missing so a user will have to resend only it alone. No additional fees are charged for multipart upload.

    Scheduled Upload to S3 Glacier from S3

    Adding a rule for S3-glacier lifecycle

    Data which is already in AWS’ cloud can be moved to Glacier storage with the help of the lifecycle policy feature. If you do not urgently need some of the files stored in an S3 bucket, it is possible to schedule their transfer to a less costly place - that is what these policies are for.  

    You can create a policy via your AWS console, in the Properties page of your S3 bucket. Just make sure that the Archive to the S3 Glacier Storage Class checkbox is selected. After a new policy is created, your data will be transferred to from S3 to Glacier after the time specified. It will not show up in Glacier storage, however - you still could view it from S3 bucket. You would have to restore this archive from Glacier before any other operations would be available.

    Further reading How to Upload Files to S3 Glacier with Lifecycle Rules

    Scheduled upload is the best option in case user's data is already in S3. It is also a more convenient way for companies with a great flow of electronic documentation because it allows an administrator to automate the archiving of a large number of items. On the downside, this additional tier of storage results in extra storage fees plus a request fee for archiving to Glacier.



    Both ways of transferring data to Glacier storage have certain pros and cons. Let us summarize their differences to make the comparison easier.

    Direct UploadArchiving from S3
    Time consumptionMultipart upload allows faster archivingScheduled archiving jobs automate the process and save time
    Fees that applyGlacier storage fee
    • S3 storage fee
    • S3 archiving request fee
    • Glacier storage fee
    PreconditionsAn interface must be set up programmatically in order to send uploading requests to AWSData must be stored in S3 in order to be transferred to Glacier
    VisibilityArchives are visible on Glacier control panelArchives are not visible on Glacier side and must be managed via the S3 control panel

    MSP360 Backup supports Amazon Glacier and you can perform direct uploads of the data to your Glacier storage. It's also possible to create and manage lifecycle policies and transfer archives to Glacier directly from MSP360 Backup user interface.

    Smart Guide to Amazon S3 Glacier
    • How to avoid the hidden costs of S3 Glacier
    • How to actually save on data cloud storage with lifecycle policies
    • Why data recovery planning can save you a dime
    New call-to-action
    Whitepaper icon