Amazon Glacier
Developer Guide (API Version 2012-06-01)

Working with Vaults in Amazon Glacier

A vault is a container for storing archives. When you create a vault, you specify a vault name and a region in which you want to create the vault. For a list of supported regions, see Accessing Amazon Glacier.

You can store an unlimited number of archives in a vault.


Amazon Glacier provides a management console. You can use the console to create and delete vaults. However, all other interactions with Amazon Glacier require that you use the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) or write code. For example, to upload data, such as photos, videos, and other documents, you must either use the AWS CLI or write code to make requests, using either the REST API directly or by using the AWS SDKs. For more information about using Amazon Glacier with the AWS CLI, go to AWS CLI Reference for Amazon Glacier. To install the AWS CLI, go to AWS Command Line Interface.

Vault Operations in Amazon Glacier

Amazon Glacier supports various vault operations. Note that vault operations are region specific. For example, when you create a vault, you create it in a specific region. When you list vaults, Amazon Glacier returns the vault list from the region you specified in the request.

Creating and Deleting Vaults

An AWS account can create up to 1,000 vaults per region. For a list of the AWS regions supported by Amazon Glacier, see Regions and Endpoints in the AWS General Reference.

You can delete a vault only if there are no archives in the vault as of the last inventory that Amazon Glacier computed and there have been no writes to the vault since the last inventory.


Amazon Glacier prepares an inventory for each vault periodically, every 24 hours. Because the inventory might not reflect the latest information, Amazon Glacier ensures the vault is indeed empty by checking if there were any write operations since the last vault inventory.

For more information, see Creating a Vault in Amazon Glacier and Deleting a Vault in Amazon Glacier.

Retrieving Vault Metadata

You can retrieve vault information such as the vault creation date, number of archives in the vault, and the total size of all the archives in the vault. Amazon Glacier provides API calls for you to retrieve this information for a specific vault or all the vaults in a specific region in your account. For more information, see Retrieving Vault Metadata in Amazon Glacier.

Downloading a Vault Inventory

A vault inventory refers to the list of archives in a vault. For each archive in the list, the inventory provides archive information such as archive ID, creation date, and size. Amazon Glacier updates the vault inventory approximately once a day, starting on the day the first archive is uploaded to the vault. A vault inventory must exist for you to be able to download it.

Downloading a vault inventory is an asynchronous operation. You must first initiate a job to download the inventory. After receiving the job request, Amazon Glacier prepares your inventory for download. After the job completes, you can download the inventory data.

Given the asynchronous nature of the job, you can use Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) notifications to notify you when the job completes. You can specify an Amazon SNS topic for each individual job request or configure your vault to send a notification when specific vault events occur.

Amazon Glacier prepares an inventory for each vault periodically, every 24 hours. If there have been no archive additions or deletions to the vault since the last inventory, the inventory date is not updated. When you initiate a job for a vault inventory, Amazon Glacier returns the last inventory it generated, which is a point-in-time snapshot and not real-time data. You might not find it useful to retrieve vault inventory for each archive upload. However, suppose you maintain a database on the client-side associating metadata about the archives you upload to Amazon Glacier. Then, you might find the vault inventory useful to reconcile information in your database with the actual vault inventory.

For more information about retrieving a vault inventory, see Downloading a Vault Inventory in Amazon Glacier.

Configuring Vault Notifications

Retrieving anything from Amazon Glacier, such as an archive from a vault or a vault inventory, is a two-step process in which you first initiate a job. After the job completes, you can download the output. You can use Amazon Glacier notifications support to know when your job is complete. Amazon Glacier sends notification messages to an Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) topic that you provide.

You can configure notifications on a vault and identify vault events and the Amazon SNS topic to be notified when the event occurs. Anytime the vault event occurs, Amazon Glacier sends a notification to the specified Amazon SNS topic. For more information, see Configuring Vault Notifications in Amazon Glacier.