BackWPup includes a S3 connection which we can use with Amazon’s Service Glacier. Amazon Glacier was developed to store or archive data that we don’t use regularly for a long time, thus significantly reducing the costs for storing the archives.
However, it can take up to 9 hours to access the data. 4 hours for getting the directory and another 3 to 5 hours to request the archive for the download. What are the advantages and how can we use it?
Amazon S3 provides a simple web service interface to store and access any amount of data – anywhere and any time.
Reasons for using Glacier with S3
- We don’t need any additional tools to access the archives at Glacier. Everything can be done with the AWS console.
- We can adjust when the archives are moved to Glacier. This way, we always have access to the most recent backup archives without waiting.
- We don’t have to wait four hours for the directory, since it is stored by S3.
- Up to 90% savings (see conclusion).
In the newest BackWPup version, the archives’ storage class are be shown in the list of backup archives: Glacier, Reduced redundancy or Standard.
Glacier support in BackWPup Pro
An outlook on the Glacier connection in BackWPup Pro in the upcoming major release:
- Direct Glacier support.
- The IDs needed for a restore are shown in the backup list.
- An extra tool is needed, however, for downloading the archive.
Warning: Amazon charges a fee per deleted GB for deleting archives that have been stored at Glacier for less than 90 days.
Setting up Glacier via S3 with Amazon
First, we go to the AWS Management console and create a new S3 bucket.
Now, we have to create a “Lifecycle Rule” for the bucket.
In the »Lifecycle Rule« we have to specify number of days, after which the archives will automatically be moved to Glacier. The number should be chosen that at least the last backup will not be moved to Glacier, so we can still access it in case of an emergency. In case of daily backups we pick 1, for weekly backups, we pick 7.
Now, the bucket has been configured. The next step is to open the Security Credetials page, so we can later copy & paste it into BackWPup.
Under »show« we find the secret key to be entered into BackWPup.
Setting up Glacier in BackWPup
Now we can create an assignment in BackWPup and pick an S3 server as target. We must set no Synchronization with S3, since Glacier only uses archives.
Under S3 service in the assignment settings, we pick the provider and the region. We then enter the keys and the AWS credentials. The bucket selection should refresh automatically now and we can pick the new bucket.
If the bucket is used for several backups, we should define a folder in the bucket to put the archives in.
The deletion of data should be set so archives are not deleted until after 90 days (because of the additional costs). In my case, that is one backup a day, so 90.
Currently, the multipart upload only works with Amazon. With this, uploads can continue if the backup is automatically restarted.
The storage class can be set as required. I use reduced redundancy, since it reduces costs for data storage with S3, although it makes the archive more prone to defects and failures.
Now we can start the assignment and see if it works as planned.
If everything works and we look at the S3 console a few days later, we should see this:
We can see here, that the archives were automatically moved to Glacier, except for the most recent ones.
With the right click menu we can access the archives, as long as they have not been moves to Glacier yet. In that case, we would have to do an initiate restore.
After selecting initiate restore, we get a message telling us how long the archive is available for download after the restore.
After clicking Okay, it will take 3 to 5 hours until the download is available. In the data properties we can see, if the restore is still in progress.
When the message »Restored until …« appears, we can download the archive in the stated time frame via the right click menu.
Glacier is suitable for S3 backups. With small amounts of data, the waiting might be a bigger drawback. However, considering the very low prices, it is worth it. With big archives the advantages are more significant: At $0.01/GB, data storing with Glacier is almost 90% cheaper than the regular S3 price of $0.095/GB. Data transfer to S3 is free in both cases.
This way, you can minimize your monthly running costs. Only in a real case of need, when the WordPress installation is lost and the hard drive is destroyed, you pay extra for the download. Even without BackWPup, Amazon’s Glacier is a cost-effective way of real long-term data storage.
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