Some users need cloud storage for archival purposes instead of day-to-day productivity. For these requirements, Amazon Glacier, a recent addition to the widely harnessed Amazon Web Services portfolio, might fit the bill. The cost is certainly appealing: Storage starts at only a penny per GB per month, and though it is slightly more expensive to transfer stored data back out of the cloud, the total expense is quite modest. Security is also formidable, with 256-bit encryption. Amazon claims 99.999999999% of stored bytes will be maintained without incident, and thanks to constant system checks and multisite redundancy, even files that become corrupted should be salvageable.
If other cloud services are the digital equivalents of briefcases, then Glacier is a storage locker. That is, in terms of capacity, it's tough to beat -- but it's not always convenient. Archived data can take hours to summon -- a far cry from the instantaneous, on-the-go access offered elsewhere. So while it won't appeal to everyone, Glacier offers an intriguing way to handle files that are important but rarely accessed. The service is a natural fit for legal records, media clips and anything else that needs to be preserved for compliance reasons or "what-if" scenarios.