August 21, 2012 – Amazon is taking aim at the SMB cloud market with a new, penny-per-gigabyte monthly storage and archiving service, Amazon Glacier.

Under its flagship cloud brand, Amazon Web Services, the vendor is pitching Glacier for companies in need of data storage for archiving and backup of business information “that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable.” Arguing that many organizations overpay for data archiving with upfront rates, Amazon emphasized Glacier’s user scalability and usage pricing. A pricing form at Amazon’s Glacier site enables users to pick from one of the AWS data centers for a cloud hub and start data storage at $0.01 per gigabyte per month. There are no data limits with Glacier – the site redirects to a customer service rep for higher data volumes – and individual archives can range from one byte to 40 terabytes. The Glacier user dashboard is configurable and AWS handles data retention.

Bruce Guptill, SVP and head of research at analyst firm Saugatuck Technology, says the price points and Amazon’s resources definitely put Glacier in a position for a SMB cloud market that is “really open for it.” Although the provider and sales search giant has had a few noted service disruptions recently, Guptill says Amazon’s next challenge should be adding to its as-a-service layers.

“This is a smart move by AWS. The provider has done a good job of more or less minimizing the ‘potential outage’ specter and simply moved forward via a very low-cost, simple services portfolio,” says Guptill. “At this point, AWS is really a baseline infrastructure services provider, while the world is moving quickly toward, and demanding, more integrative IaaS/PaaS/SaaS services.”

Guptill added that, from a branding perspective, the term “Glacier” my exude elements of the real-life ice flows: slow, melting and unstable.

Overall, SMBs are facing increasing IT demands and offerings, though analyst firms give growing yet varied accounts of the deployment rate of the cloud among SMBs. Recently, vendors have made high-profile product announcements and big-money acquisitions to attract this growing SMB market, like Microsoft’s Azure programs and ERP offerings, and Salesforce.com’s acquisition and subsequent overhaul of Desk.com.

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