Amazon has launched a new cloud storage service called Glacier that aims to provide a low-cost storage solution to enterprise users. Glacier is able to keep costs down to as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month due to the fact that it's optimized for data that isn't frequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours is acceptable.

Amazon notes that companies typically overpay for backup solutions, citing expensive upfront costs that don't even include operational costs like power, staffing, facilities and maintenance. Furthermore, since many archiving solutions require the customer to purchase capacity packages ahead of time, this often results in buying more space than is needed and essentially wasting money.

With Glacier, there are no upfront fees, low monthly rates based on the amount of storage you need and you can scale usage up or down depending on your needs. Amazon Web Services takes care of all of the behind-the-scenes maintenance to ensure data retention is done well.

Getting started with Glacier only requires a few clicks in the Amazon AWS Management Console. From here, you can begin to store you data into archives that can either be a single file or a group of multiple files. These are then organized in vaults with access controlled using the AWS Identity and Access Management service. The service uses SSL to transfer data while stored information is encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256.

Data retrieval typically takes between 3.5 to 4.5 hours, seemingly one of the few drawbacks of the service.