S3 Glacier is a very low-cost cloud storage offering from Amazon Web Services (AWS). It's around $.005 per GB per month, or $5/TB per month to store your data. But there are many fees aside from the storage cost, and they can really add up if you're not aware of them. We'll explain AWS Glacier pricing in detail to help you avoid unexpected charges and achieve the goal of low-cost storage.
Like S3 "Standard", S3 Glacier is a cloud storage offering from AWS. Unlike S3 Standard, Glacier and its new cousin Deep Archive work differently than most cloud storage offerings because reading your data requires an extra step: you must "restore" a temporary copy of it first. We'll describe that below.
|Region||Storage cost per month|
|US East (N. Virginia)||$.0040 per GB|
|US East (Ohio)||$.0040 per GB|
|US West (Northern California)||$.0050 per GB|
|US West (Oregon)||$.0040 per GB|
|Africa (Cape Town)||$.0045 per GB|
|Asia Pacific (Hong Kong)||$.0050 per GB|
|Asia Pacific (Mumbai)||$.0050 per GB|
|Asia Pacific (Osaka)||$.0050 per GB|
|Asia Pacific (Seoul)||$.0050 per GB|
|Asia Pacific (Singapore)||$.0050 per GB|
|Asia Pacific (Sydney)||$.0050 per GB|
|Asia Pacific (Tokyo)||$.0050 per GB|
|Canada (Central)||$.0045 per GB|
|Europe (Frankfurt)||$.0045 per GB|
|Europe (Ireland)||$.0040 per GB|
|Europe (London)||$.0045 per GB|
|Europe (Milan)||$.0045 per GB|
|Europe (Paris)||$.0045 per GB|
|Europe (Stockholm)||$.0040 per GB|
|Middle East (Bahrain)||$.0045 per GB|
|South America (Sao Paulo)||$.0085 per GB|
|AWS GovCloud (US-East)||$.0060 per GB|
|AWS GovCloud (US-West)||$.0060 per GB|
There's no data transfer fee to upload data to Glacier.
But uploading an object is a PUT request. PUT request fees are billed at $.03 per 1,000 requests. Not a huge charge but 6x the PUT request for uploading an object to S3 Standard.
Also, if you upload an object as Standard or Standard-IA or OneZone-IA and then decide to transition it to Glacier, you'll be charged a Lifecycle Transition Fee of $.03 (or more depending on region) per 1,000 requests.
Minimum storage duration fee: Glacier objects have a minimum 90 days of storage. If you delete it 30 days after you created it, you'll be billed for the other 60 days.
When you need to download your data from Glacier is when the fees add up.
Note: The prices below are for the US East (N. Virginia) region. Prices for other regions vary slightly.
Glacier data objects are not immediately available. To retrieve the contents of a Glacier data object you put in your S3 bucket, you must first tell AWS (via the S3 console or with an app that uses the S3 API) to "restore" the object for a time period you choose. There are 3 "tiers" of restore -- Expedited, Standard and Bulk:
This "restore" action creates a temporary copy in S3. You'll be billed for both the archived object (at Glacier storage pricing) and the temporary copy (at the higher S3 standard pricing) while it exists.
The "restore" action is also a POST request which incurs a fee of $.03 per 1,000 requests.
Once the temporary copy of your object is available for download, actually downloading will incur a data transfer out fee just like all S3 data. The first 1 GB/month is free, but the next ~10 TB/month are $.09 per GB. There are small discounts for larger download totals in a month.
Downloading will also incur a GET fee, but in practice it doesn't add up to anything significant because it's $.0004/1,000 requests.
Here's a concrete example of AWS Glacier pricing: backing up your files and restoring them. For this example we'll use our online backup app Arq which saves encrypted backups of your files in Glacier (and many other clouds).
In this example we'll back up 1 TB of file data to Glacier.
Arq stores file data in de-duplicated "chunks" of up to 40 MB each. 1 TB in 40MB chunks means 25,000 objects.
Again using our cloud backup app Arq, we estimate the cost to restore the 1 TB of file data:
"Restore request" fees by tier:
Backing up 1 TB of data incurs a 1-time cost of $0.075, and an ongoing cost of $4.00/month.
Restoring that 1 TB of data incurs a 1-time cost of $2.00 + 89.91 + .01 + the "restore request" fees.
If you chose Expedited tier (to make your data available within minutes) the total cost is $341.92.
If you chose Standard tier (wait 3-5 hours for the data to become available) the total cost is $92.67.
If you switch from S3 Standard to S3 Glacier, the request fees for uploading data go from insignificant to significant, depending on the number of objects.
The biggest shock to me was the Expedited retrieval tier fees. If making 1,000 objects available costs $10 and you've got 100,000 objects, that's $1,000! Please be careful when using Expedited retrieval tier.
But even if you use Standard tier and wait 3-5 hours, you still might pay 23x to restore what you've been paying monthly for storage ($92.67 to download data that's been stored for $4/month).
Two S3-compatible alternatives have emerged with similar storage costs to Glacier but with minimal fees and without the delay for data retrieval:
The above backup/restore scenario with B2 would incur $10 in data transfer out and $.01 in transaction fees for a total restore cost of $10.01.
The above backup/restore scenario with Wasabi would incur a restore cost of $0.
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"Best backup solution? @arqbackup with your choice of cloud provider. Great program!! Always helpful when I have questions also. Great support!" @Tony_Simek Feb 5, 2021
"Just used @arqbackup for my first real world restore, which saved me hours of rework. Would recommend." @jonathon Nov 14, 2020