Using Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive Storage

last updated on January 15, 2021

Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive are a storage tiers offered by AWS as part of S3. S3 users can create S3 lifecycle rules to control which of their S3 objects (files) are moved to Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive by S3. S3 users can also move objects between the standard tier, Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive using the S3 console and other S3 interfaces. Objects in Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive are inaccessible until they been restored by S3, a process that typically is completed within three to five hours for Glacier and within 12 hours for Glacier Deep Archive. The File Fabric's S3 connector can be configured to work with S3 buckets for which Glacier and/or Glacier Deep Archive are in use. Here is a blog post providing some additional background on how the File Fabric worked with Glacier prior recent to File Fabric enhancements.

How to configure S3 to move objects to Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive is outside the scope of this document. At the time that this document was written instructions could be found here:

http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonS3/latest/user-guide/create-lifecycle.html

Before you can configure an S3 provider to work with an S3 bucket that uses Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive, support must be enabled in the File Fabric. This can only be done by the appladmin user. If you manage your own File Fabric Appliance you can do this yourself. If SME manages your appliance, contact SME Support and we will do it for you.

Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive Support is enabled on a per user package basis. Once Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive support has been enabled for a package, any user who has been assigned that package and who has the authority to configure an S3 provider can use set up a provider for use with Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive in the File Fabric, and any user who has access to such a bucket can use the File Fabric's Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive features with that bucket. Note that users with read-only access to a folder in such a bucket can restore archived files from Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive in that folder.

Here is how appladmin can enable Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive support for a user package:

  • Navigate to the User Packages page.
  • Open the Package Edit page for the package to which Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive support will be added by clicking the edit (pencil) icon next to the package.
  • Scroll down to the “Extra options (add-ons)” list and, holding down the Ctrl key (Windows) or the Command key (Mac) so you don't deselect the items that are already selected, click on “Amazon S3 Video Streaming”.

  • Then click on “Save” at the bottom of the page.

After Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive support has been enabled for a user package, a user to whom that package has been assigned can add a Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive-ready S3 providers as follows:

From the Dashboard, select “Add new provider” and select Amazon S3. Then click “Add provider”. Enter your credentials, and click on “Continue”. After the provider has been added The Provider Settings page will be displayed. On the Provider settings page there are three options relating to Glacier and and Glacier Deep Archive.

The first, “Contains Glacier/Deep Archive Objects”, controls two aspects of File Fabric behavior for the provider: folder operations and storage tier discovery.
Folder operations (move, copy, delete and rename) will lead to errors if any of the files in the folder are in Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive storage at the time that the operation is performed. If this option is turned on then those operations will be prohibited by the File Fabric for folders on the provider. If it is turned off then the operations will be allowed in which case, if any files are in one one of those two storage tiers, errors will result.

Second, it controls whether the File Fabric will use storage tier discovery to learn from S3 whether the files on the provider are in standard S3 storage or if they are in Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive. When this option is turned on, the File Fabric will discover this about every file while it performs a re-sync or cloud refresh, and also about each file for which a download is requested.

In most cases this first option should be turned on for any provider that may contain objects stored on the Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive storage tiers.

The second provider setting, “Archived Object Life Cycle restore period in days”, affects the availability of files that have been restored from Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive storage to standard S3 storage in response to a request made through the File Fabric. Use this setting to control how long (in days) a restored object will remain in standard S3 storage.

The third provider setting, “Automatically unarchive Glacier and Deep-Archive files”, controls File Fabric behavior when a download is requested for a file that is stored on Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive storage. If this option is on then the File Fabric will automatically initiate a restore operation to bring the file back from Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive to standard S3 storage. If it is off then the download attempt will result in an error with an error message indicating where (Glacier or Deep Glacier) the file is stored.

Glacier and S3 and Glacier Deep Archive Enabled providers are suitable for use with the File Fabric's Web File Manager. Use of other clients such as the File Fabric's desktop and mobile tools and third party tools is not supported.

When Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive support is enabled for a provider, the File Fabric discovers whether files on that provider are stored on S3 standard storage if they are stored on either of those tiers. This discovery takes place during re-syncs, Cloud Refresh and, on download requests. The File Fabric adds a decoration to the icons of the each files that is on Glacier and Glacier Deep Archive to show where it resides. An S3 symbol adorned with a 'G' indicates that the file is on Glacier. An S3 symbol adorned with 'DA' indicates that the file is on Glacier Deep Archive. The file name is also marked “Archived” unless the file has been unarchived and is available for download, in which case it is marked as “Unarchived”.

To access a file that is archived on either Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive, you can click on its download icon in the File Manager or highlight the file and Select “Unarchive” from the file's right-click menu.

In either case the File Fabric will register a request with S3 to have the file restored. While the file is being restored, it will be marked in the File Manager with a gear symbol and the word “Extracting”.
When a file has been restored from Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive the File Fabric will send an email to the user who requested the file. That email contains a link for downloading the file.

The file can also be accessed directly from the File Manager.

During the period between when a file has been restored and when it is again migrated to Glacier or Glacier Deep Archive after the period specified with the option “Archived Object Life Cycle restore period in days”, it is labeled in the File Fabric with a clock symbol and the word “Unarchived”.

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