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Will Amazon spin up its OWN disk-based archive in 2014?

Nearline archive would be just the thing to fend off attacks from EVault's LTS2

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Blocks and Files Amazon's Glacier archive is beginning to look too slow in its data retrieval compared to disk-based services from suppliers like EVault with its LTS2 service and pretty instant retrieval.

What could the Bezos behemoth do about it if LTS2 captures customers who would otherwise have chosen Glacier?

Glacier costs $0.01/GB/month, with data retrieval taking four or five hours. LTS2 costs $0.015/GB/month with data retrieval starting in under five seconds; we might view is as a nearline archive with Glacier being an offline archive. Both services store data in non-moving media.

Glacier is based, we understand, on data stored in tape libraries whereas LTS2 uses spun-down disks. Spinning up a disk takes far less time than fetching a tape reel inside a tape library, bringing it to a drive, firing up the drive and streaming the tape to the target data point.

Some users will be willing to pay the extra to get access to their data in seconds rather than hours.

EVault's disk-based archiving scheme uses OpenStack software, available to Amazon should it wish, and Seagate Kinetic drives are on its roadmap, potentially lowering its costs further as fewer servers would be needed to handle these more intelligent drives.

EVault has a single LTS2 data centre at present, in Bluffdale, Colorado, but is building more so that it can increase data reliability from eleven 'nines' to thirteen 'nines' through geo-replication.

What Amazon could do is to set up its own spun-down disk-based archiving service, and use Seagate drives too or, if it dislikes Seagate's close relationship with its EVault subsidiary, then it could use HGST Helium drives instead, so long as spun-down versions work okay; that gets the power supply costs down to acceptable levels and lowers the service's costs.

Vulture Central's storage desk thinks Amazon may introduce a disk-based archive with instant retrieval in the new year. It will be priced less than EVault's LTS2, but still cost more than Glacier.

Let's call it Snowfield for short and predict a cost of $0.0125/GB/month with Glacier potentially dropping to $0.0075/GB/month. That would put pricing pressure on EVault and test parent Seagate's resolve and deep pockets. New year equals new cloud archiving deals. Watch this space. ®

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