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Summary:

Pogoplug appears to be the first company to offer a service that uses Glacier, Amazon’s slow-but-cheap storage service as a data archival backend-in-the-cloud. But nobody expects it to be the last.

Glacier
photo: Flickr/pfly

After Amazon announced Glacier,  its slow-but-cheap data archiving service, a few weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before third-party service providers would take advantage of it. Now Pogoplug appears to be the first to do so. The San Francisco startup, which made its name with its shared storage service for small businesses and consumers has integrated Glacier as the archiving backend for that service.

Timing was a factor, said Pogoplug CEO Dan Putterman. “We were planning to integrate an archival service last year, and had started down that path, but when Glacier came out, we figured why not use that?”

Pogoplug CEO Dan Putterman

Pogoplug’s Team Service lets businesses use an existing server as shared and secure storage for authorized users, and a small Pogoplug device brings similar capabilities to home users. Now those Pogoplug devices, using the Amazon Glacier API, will integrate with Glacier and act as way stations for data as it is continually archived.

Pogoplug itself will aggregate Amazon Glacier storage charges– which can be as low as $0.01 per GB — and networking fees into its $199 annual subscription for five users. That plan covers 5 TB of offsite storage. A family plan starting at $29 per year offers unlimited home storage with 100 GB of offsite archiving.

As is usually the case with Amazon, it’s the networking fees that can bite you. For Glacier there is no charge for incoming data or for data retrieval up to 1 GB per month. But charges start applying at  $0.120 per GB for up to 10 TB of data retrieved. In other words, Glacier is for data that tends to stay put.

The existing Pogoplug service provides everyday backup but in the event of a fire or catastrophe, it ensures that the company’s data is always updated on Glacier.

Stefan Reitshamer, founder of Arq, an online backup provider, told Webmonkey his company is looking into Glacier integration as well.

Amazon provides inexpensive infrastructure services that many companies use for storage and compute power. But increasingly third party service providers — like Appfog in the platform-as-a-service space — are aggregating Amazon services, bundling them with their own services, and then billing for the complete solution.

Don’t expect this to be the end of companies aggregating and billing for Glacier along with their own value-added services.

Feature photo courtesy Flickr user pfly

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  1. There’s an interesting post about why Glacier might not be suitable for online backup services from the guys behind Tarsnap, which provides backups powered by S3: http://www.daemonology.net/blog/2012-09-04-why-tarsnap-doesnt-use-glacier.html

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