Amazon S3 Glacier - vs Amazon S3 - AWS Certification Cheat Sheet

Let’s get a quick overview of Amazon S3 Glacier from an AWS certification perspective. We will look at important certification questions regarding Amazon S3 Glacier and compare it with Amazon S3.

You will learn

  • What is Amazon S3 Glacier?
  • When do we use Amazon S3 Glacier?
  • How is Amazon S3 Glacier different from Amazon S3?

AWS Certification Study Material and Notes - 25 PDF Cheat Sheets

Each cheat sheet contains:

  • FAQs and Tutorials with 5-20 slides
  • Study Material and Notes to quickly review and prepare for certification exam
  • Certification Exam Tips
  • Certification and Interview Scenario Questions

Amazon S3 Glacier

In addition to existing as a S3 Storage Class, S3 Glacier is a separate AWS Service on it own!

Here are some of the important features:

  • Extremely low cost storage for archives and long-term backups:
    • Old media content
    • Archives to meet regulatory requirements (old patient records etc)
    • As a replacement for magnetic tapes
  • High durability (11 9s - 99.999999999%)
  • High scalability (unlimited storage)
  • High security (encrypted at rest and in transfer)

You cannot upload objects to Glacier using Management Console


Amazon S3 vs S3 Glacier

Let’s compare Amazon S3 vs S3 Glacier.

Feature Amazon S3 S3 Glacier
Terminology Objects (files) are stored in Buckets (containers) Archives (files) are stored in Vaults (containers)
Keys Objects keys are user defined Archive keys are system generated identifiers
Mutability (Default) Allows uploading new content to object After an archive is created, it cannot be updated
(Perfect for regulatory compliance)
Max size Each object can be upto 5TB Each archive can be upto 40TB
Management Console Almost all bucket and object operations supported Only vault operations are supported. You cannot upload/delete/update archives.
Encryption Optional Mandatory using AWS managed keys and AES-256.
You can use client side encryption on top of this.
WORM Write Once Read Many Times Enable Object Lock Policy Enable Vault lock policy

Retrieving archives from S3 Glacier

Retrieving archives from S3 Glacier is an Asynchronous two step process (Use REST API, AWS CLI or SDK)

  • 1: Initiate a archive retrieval
  • 2: (After archive is available) Download the archive

You can reduce S3 Glacier costs by :

  • Optionally specify a range, or portion, of the archive to retrieve.
  • Requesting longer access times. Here are some of the retrieval options:
    • Amazon S3 Glacier:
      • Expedited (1 – 5 minutes)
      • Standard (3 – 5 hours)
      • Bulk retrievals (5–12 hours)
    • Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive:
      • Standard retrieval (upto 12 hours)
      • Bulk retrieval (upto 48 hours)


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