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Tip #5: Cloud backup: how do I use AWS for long-term backups?

Use these AWS storage services and best practices for long-term cloud backup

The most suitable AWS service for long-term cloud backup is AWS Simple Storage Service (S3).

The service offers a number of different cloud storage classes suitable for long-term storage, with different retrieval times and different pricing:

S3 Storage Class NameDescriptionPrice per Month
S3 Intelligent TieringFor long-term backups with unknown access patterns – the storage class automatically moves the data into the most cost-effective classes (Frequent, Infrequent, Archive Instant Access tiers)$23.55/TB
S3 Glacier Instant RetrievalThe lowest-cost aws storage for long-lived rarely accessed data which need to be retrieved in milliseconds$4.1/TB
S3 Glacier Flexible RetrievalSuitable for data accessed 1-2 years and retrieved within minutes to hours (configurable)$3.69/TB
S3 Glacier Deep ArchiveThe lowest-cost storage class with retrieval time within 12 hours.$1.01/TB

All above cloud backup storage classes are designed for durability of 99.999999999% of objects across multiple Availability Zones and are thus resilient to events impacting an entire availability zone.

Finally, for any long-term AWS backup we strongly recommend:

  • Storing only compressed 
  • Storing only encrypted files: AWS offers a number of encryption options for S3 – unless there is a need for encryption audit, we recommend using S3 default server-side encryption.
  • Storing only non-duplicate files which are valuable
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