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Perl Multithreaded multipart sync to Amazon Glacier service.


Amazon Glacier is an archive/backup service with very low storage price. However with some caveats in usage and archive retrieval prices. Read more about Amazon Glacier

mt-aws-glacier is a client application for Amazon Glacier, written in Perl programming language, for *nix.




  • Does not use any existing Amazon Glacier library, so can be flexible in implementing advanced features
  • Amazon Glacier Multipart upload
  • Multi-segment download (using HTTP Range header)
  • Multithreaded upload/download
  • Multipart+Multithreaded download/upload
  • Multithreaded archive retrieval, deletion and download
  • TreeHash validation while downloading
  • Tracking of all uploaded files with a local journal file (opened for write in append mode only)
  • Checking integrity of local files using journal
  • Ability to limit number of archives to retrieve
  • File selection options for all commands (using flexible rules with wildcard support)
  • Full synchronization to Amazon Glacier - new file uploaded, modified files can be replaced, deletions can be propogated
  • File name and modification times are stored as Glacier metadata (metadata format for developers)
  • Ability to re-create journal file from Amazon Glacier metadata
  • Full UTF-8 support (and full single-byte encoding support for *BSD systems)
  • Multipart/multithreaded upload from STDIN
  • User selectable HTTPS support. Currently defaults to plaintext HTTP
  • Vault creation and deletion
  • STS/IAM security tokens support

Important bugs/missing features

  • Only multipart upload implemented, no plain upload
  • Mac OS X filesystem treated as case-sensitive

Production readiness

  • After one year since first public version released, beta testing was finished and version released. Current project status is non-beta, stable.

Installation/System requirements

Script is made for Unix OS. Tested under Linux. Should work under other POSIX OSes (*BSD, Solaris). Lightly tested under Mac OS X. Will NOT work under Windows/Cygwin. Minimum Perl version required is 5.8.8 (pretty old, AFAIK there are no supported distributions with older Perls)

Installation via OS package manager

NOTE: If you've used manual installation before, please remove previously installed mtglacier executable from your path.

NOTE: If you've used CPAN installation before, please remove previously installed module, (cpanm is capable to do that)

Ubuntu 12.04+

Can be installed/updated via PPA vsespb/mt-aws-glacier:

  1. sudo apt-get update

  2. sudo apt-get install software-properties-common python-software-properties

  3. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vsespb/mt-aws-glacier

    (GPG key id/fingerprint would be D2BFA5E4 and D7F1BC2238569FC447A8D8249E86E8B2D2BFA5E4)

  4. sudo apt-get update

  5. sudo apt-get install libapp-mtaws-perl

Debian 6 (Squeeze)

Can be installed/updated via custom repository

  1. wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -

    (this will add GPG key 2C00 B003 A56C 5F2A 75C4 4BF8 2A6E 0307 D0FF 5699)

  2. Add repository

     echo "deb squeeze main"|sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mt-aws.list
  3. sudo apt-get update

  4. sudo apt-get install libapp-mtaws-perl

    (To use HTTPS you also need:)

  5. sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev

  6. install/update LWP::UserAgent and LWP::Protocol::https using cpanm

Debian 7 (Wheezy), including rasbian for Raspberry Pi

Can be installed/updated via custom repository

  1. wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -

    (this will add GPG key 2C00 B003 A56C 5F2A 75C4 4BF8 2A6E 0307 D0FF 5699)

  2. Add repository

     echo "deb wheezy main"|sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mt-aws.list
  3. sudo apt-get update

  4. sudo apt-get install libapp-mtaws-perl

Debian 8 (Jessie)

Can be installed/updated via custom repository

  1. wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -

    (this will add GPG key 2C00 B003 A56C 5F2A 75C4 4BF8 2A6E 0307 D0FF 5699)

  2. Add repository

     echo "deb jessie main"|sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mt-aws.list
  3. sudo apt-get update

  4. sudo apt-get install libapp-mtaws-perl

Manual installation

Install prerequisites

Ubuntu 12.04+, Debian 7

sudo apt-get install libwww-perl libjson-xs-perl

  1. sudo yum install perl-Digest-SHA
  2. sudo yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
  3. sudo yum install openssl-devel
  4. Install JSON::XS, LWP::UserAgent and LWP::Protocol::https using cpanm

You also can install mtglacier prerequisites without CPAN if you have EPEL repository enabled and if you don't need HTTPS:

sudo yum install perl-Digest-SHA perl-JSON-XS perl-libwww-perl

  1. sudo yum install perl-core perl-CGI
  2. sudo yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
  3. sudo yum install openssl-devel
  4. Install JSON::XS, LWP::UserAgent and LWP::Protocol::https using cpanm

You also can install mtglacier prerequisites without CPAN if you have EPEL repository enabled and if you don't need HTTPS:

sudo yum install perl-core perl-CGI perl-JSON-XS perl-libwww-perl

Debian 6

sudo apt-get install libwww-perl libjson-xs-perl

To use HTTPS you also need:

  1. sudo apt-get install build-essential libssl-dev

  2. install/update LWP::UserAgent and LWP::Protocol::https using cpanm

Fedora 18+

sudo yum install perl-core perl-CGI perl-JSON-XS perl-libwww-perl perl-LWP-Protocol-https

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
  1. sudo zypper install perl-libwww-perl libopenssl-devel
  2. sudo zypper install --type pattern Basis-Devel
  3. Upgrade openssl to (at least) 0.9.8r (to check version use openssl version), can be found here (more info here RT#81575)
  4. Update ExtUtils::MakeMaker via cpanm
  5. Install LWP::UserAgent, LWP::Protocol::https, JSON::XS using cpanm
Amazon Linux 2013.03

sudo yum install perl-core perl-JSON-XS perl-libwww-perl perl-LWP-Protocol-https


Install the following packages:

Install LWP::UserAgent (p5-libwww-perl), JSON::XS (p5-json-XS). For HTTPS support you need LWP::Protocol::https, however on MacOS X you probably need Mozilla::CA (it should go with LWP::Protocol::https, but it can be missing). Try to use HTTPS without Mozilla::CA - if it does not work, install Mozilla::CA

Install mt-aws-glacier

git clone

(or just download and unzip )

After that you can execute mtglacier script (found in root of repository) from any directory, or create a symlink to it - it will find other package files by itself (don't forget to remove it later, if you decide to switch to CPAN install)

OR Installation via CPAN

	cpan -i App::MtAws

That's it.

Installation general instructions, troubleshooting, edge cases and misc instructions

In general you need the following perl modules to run mt-aws-glacier:
  • LWP::UserAgent (or Debian package libwww-perl or RPM package perl-libwww-perl or MacPort p5-libwww-perl)
  • JSON::XS (or Debian package libjson-xs-perl or RPM package perl-JSON-XS or MacPort p5-json-XS)
Other notes
  1. for old Perl < 5.9.3 (i.e. CentOS 5.x), install also Digest::SHA (or Debian package libdigest-sha-perl or RPM package perl-Digest-SHA)

  2. Some distributions with old Perl stuff (examples: Ubuntu 10.04, CentOS 5/6) to use HTTPS you need to upgrade LWP::Protocol::https to version 6+ via CPAN.

  3. Fedora, CentOS 6 etc decoupled Perl, so package named perl, which is a part of default installation, is not actually real, full Perl, which is misleading. perl-core is looks much more like a real Perl (I hope so)

  4. On newer RHEL distributions (some Fedora versions) you need install perl-LWP-Protocol-https to use HTTPS.

  5. To inistall perl-JSON-XS RPM package on RHEL5/6 you need to enable EPEL repository

  6. If you've used manual installation before "CPAN" installation, it's probably better to remove previously installed mtglacier executable from your path.

  7. CPAN distribution of mt-aws-glacier has a bit more dependencies than manual installation, as it requires additional modules for testsuite.

  8. New releases of mt-aws-glacier usually appear on CPAN within a ~week after official release.

  9. On Fedora, CentOS 6 minimal you need to install perl-core, perl-CPAN, perl-CGI before trying to install via CPAN

  10. For some distributions with old Perl stuff (examples: CentOS 5/6) you need to update CPAN and Module::Build first: cpan -i CPAN, cpan -i Module::Build

  11. CPAN tool asks too many questions during install (but ignores important errors). You can avoid it by running cpan command and configuring it like this:

    o conf build_requires_install_policy yes
    o conf prerequisites_policy follow
    o conf halt_on_failure on
    o conf commit
  12. Instead system cpan tool you might want to try cpanm - it's a bit easier to install and configure.

  13. Installation of LWP::Protocol::https requires C header files ( yum groupinstall "Development Tools" for RHEL or build-essential for Debian ) and OpenSSL dev library (openssl-devel RPM or libssl-dev DEB).

Warnings ( MUST READ )

  • When playing with Glacier make sure you will be able to delete all your archives, it's impossible to delete archive or non-empty vault in amazon console now. Also make sure you have read all Amazon Glacier pricing/faq.

  • Read Amazon Glacier pricing FAQ again, really. Beware of retrieval fee.

  • Before using this program, you should read Amazon Glacier documentation and understand, in general, Amazon Glacier workflows and entities. This documentation does not define any new layer of abstraction over Amazon Glacier entities.

  • In general, all Amazon Glacier clients store metadata (filenames, file metadata) in own formats, incompatible with each other. To restore backup made with mt-aws-glacier you'll need mt-aws-glacier, other software most likely will restore your data but loose filenames.

  • With low "partsize" option you pay a bit more (Amazon charges for each upload request)

  • For backup created with older versions (0.7x) of mt-aws-glacier, Journal file required to restore backup.

  • Use a Journal file only with same vault ( more info here and here and here)

  • When work with CD-ROM/CIFS/other non-Unix/non-POSIX filesystems, you might need set leaf-optimization to 0

  • Please read ChangeLog when upgrading to new version, and especially when downgrading. (See "Compatibility" sections when downgrading)

  • Zero length files and empty directories are ignored (as Amazon Glacier does not support it)

  • See other limitations

Help/contribute this project

  • If you like mt-aws-glacier, and registered on GitHub, please Star it on GitHUb, this way you'll help promote the project.
  • Please report any bugs or issues (using GitHub issues). Well, any feedback is welcomed.
  • If you want to contribute to the source code, please contact me first and describe what you want to do


  1. Create a directory containing files to backup. Example /data/backup

  2. Create config file, say, glacier.cfg

     # region: eu-west-1, us-east-1 etc
     # protocol=http (default) or https

    (you can skip any config option and specify it directly in command line, command line options override same options in config)

  3. Create a vault in specified region, using Amazon Console (myvault) or using mtglacier

     ./mtglacier create-vault myvault --config glacier.cfg

    (note that Amazon Glacier does not return error if vault already exists etc)

  4. Choose a filename for the Journal, for example, journal.log

  5. Sync your files

     ./mtglacier sync --config glacier.cfg --dir /data/backup --vault myvault --journal journal.log --concurrency 3
  6. Add more files and sync again

  7. Check that your local files not modified since last sync

     ./mtglacier check-local-hash --config glacier.cfg --dir /data/backup --journal journal.log
  8. Delete some files from your backup location

  9. Initiate archive restore job on Amazon side

     ./mtglacier restore --config glacier.cfg --dir /data/backup --vault myvault --journal journal.log --max-number-of-files 10
  10. Wait 4+ hours for Amazon Glacier to complete archive retrieval

  11. Download restored files back to backup location

    ./mtglacier restore-completed --config glacier.cfg --dir /data/backup --vault myvault --journal journal.log
  12. Delete all your files from vault

    ./mtglacier purge-vault --config glacier.cfg --vault myvault --journal journal.log
  13. Wait ~ 24-48 hours and you can try deleting your vault

    ./mtglacier delete-vault myvault --config glacier.cfg

    (note: currently Amazon Glacier does not return error if vault is not exists)

Restoring journal

In case you lost your journal file, you can restore it from Amazon Glacier metadata

  1. Run retrieve-inventory command. This will request Amazon Glacier to prepare vault inventory.

     ./mtglacier retrieve-inventory --config glacier.cfg --vault myvault
  2. Wait 4+ hours for Amazon Glacier to complete inventory retrieval (also note that you will get only ~24h old inventory..)

  3. Download inventory and export it to new journal (this sometimes can be pretty slow even if inventory is small, wait a few minutes):

     ./mtglacier download-inventory --config glacier.cfg --vault myvault --new-journal new-journal.log

For files created by mt-aws-glacier version 0.8x and higher original filenames will be restored. For other files archive_id will be used as filename. See Amazon Glacier metadata format for mt-aws-glacier here: Amazon Glacier metadata format used by mt-aws glacier

Journal concept

What is Journal

Journal is a file in local filesystem, which contains list of all files, uploaded to Amazon Glacier. Strictly saying, this file contains a list of operations (list of records), performed with Amazon Glacier vault. Main operations are: file creation, file deletion and file retrieval.

Create operation records contains: local filename (relative to transfer root - --dir), file size, file last modification time (in 1 second resolution), file TreeHash (Amazon hashing algorithm, based on SHA256), file upload time, and Amazon Glacier archive id

Delete operation records contains local filename and corresponding Amazon Glacier archive id

Having such list of operation, we can, any time reconstruct list of files, that are currently stored in Amazon Glacier.

As you see Journal records don't contain Amazon Glacier region, vault, file permissions, last access times and other filesystem metadata.

Thus you should always use a separate Journal file for each Amazon Glacier vault. Also, file metadata (except filename and file modification time) will be lost, if you restore files from Amazon Glacier.

Some Journal features

  • It's a text file. You can parse it with grep awk cut, tail etc, to extract information in case you need perform some advanced stuff, that mtglacier can't do (NOTE: make sure you know what you're doing ).

    To view only some files:

      grep Majorca Photos.journal

    To view only creation records:

      grep CREATED Photos.journal | wc -l

    To compare only important fields of two journals

      cut journal -f 4,5,6,7,8 |sort > journal.cut
      cut new-journal -f 4,5,6,7,8 |sort > new-journal.cut
      diff journal.cut new-journal.cut
  • Each text line in a file represent one record

  • It's an append-only file. File opened in append-only mode, and new records only added to the end. This guarantees that you can recover Journal file to previous state in case of bug in program/crash/some power/filesystem issues. You can even use chattr +a to set append-only protection to the Journal.

  • As Journal file is append-only, it's easy to perform incremental backups of it

Why Journal is a file in local filesystem file, but not in online Cloud storage (like Amazon S3 or Amazon DynamoDB)?

Journal is needed to restore backup, and we can expect that if you need to restore a backup, that means that you lost your filesystem, together with Journal.

However Journal also needed to perform new backups (sync command), to determine which files are already in Glacier and which are not. And also to checking local file integrity (check-local-hash command). Actually, usually you perform new backups every day. And you restore backups (and loose your filesystem) very rare.

So fast (local) journal is essential to perform new backups fast and cheap (important for users who backups thousands or millions of files).

And if you lost your journal, you can restore it from Amazon Glacier (see retrieve-inventory command). Also it's recommended to backup your journal to another backup system (Amazon S3 ? Dropbox ?) with another tool, because retrieving inventory from Amazon Glacier is pretty slow.

Also some users might want to backup same files from multiple different locations. They will need synchronization solution for journal files.

Anyway I think problem of putting Journals into cloud can be automated and solved with 3 lines bash script..

How to maintain a relation between my journal files and my vaults?

  1. You can name journal with same name as your vault. Example: Vault name is Photos. Journal file name is Photos.journal. Or eu-west-1-Photos.journal

  2. (Almost) Any command line option can be used in config file, so you can create myphotos.cfg with following content:


Why Journal does not contain region/vault information?

Keeping journal/vault in config does looks to me more like a Unix way. It can be a bit danger, but easier to maintain, because:

  1. Let's imaging I decided to put region/vault into Journal. There are two options:

    a. Put it into beginning of the file, before journal creation.

    b. Store same region/vault in each record of the file. It looks like a waste of disk space.

    Option (a) looks better. So this way journal will contain something like


    in the beginning. But same can be achieved by putting same lines to the config file (see previous question)

  2. Also, putting vault/region to journal will make command line options --vault and --region useless for general commands and will require to add another command (something like create-journal-file)

  3. There is a possibility to use different account id in Amazon Glacier (i.e. different person's account). It's not supported yet in mtglacier, but when it will, I'll have to store account id together with region/vault. Also default account id is '-' (means 'my account'). If one wish to use same vault from a different Amazon Glacier account, he'll have to change '-' to real account id. So need to have ability to edit account id. And region/vault information does not have sense without account.

  4. Some users can have different permissions for different vaults, so they needs to maintain key/secret/account_id region/vault journal relation in same place (this only can be config file, because involves secret)

  5. Amazon might allow renaming of vaults or moving it across regions, in the future.

  6. Currently journal consists of independent records, so can be split to separate records using grep, or several journals can be merged using cat (but be careful if doing that)

  7. In the future, there can be other features and options added, such as compression/encryption, which might require to decide again where to put new attributes for it.

  8. Usually there is different policy for backing up config files and journal files (modifiable). So if you loose your journal file, you won't be sure which config corresponds to which vault (and journal file can be restored from a vault)

  9. It's better to keep relation between vault and transfer root (--dir option) in one place, such as config file.

Why Journal (and metadata stored in Amazon Glacier) does not contain file's metadata (like permissions)?

If you want to store permissions, put your files to archives before backup to Amazon Glacier. There are lot's of different possible things to store as file metadata information, most of them are not portable. Take a look on archives file formats - different formats allows to store different metadata.

It's possible that in the future mtglacier will support some other metadata things.

Specification for some commands


Propagates current local filesystem state to Amazon Glacier server.

sync accepts one or several of the following mode options: --new, --replace-modified, --delete-removed

If none of three above mode options provided, --new is implied (basically for backward compatibility).

  1. --new

    Uploads files, which exist in local filesystem (and have non-zero size), but not exist in Amazon Glacier (i.e. in Journal)

  2. --replace-modified

    Uploads modified files (i.e. which exist in local filesystem and in Amazon Glacier). After file gets successfully uploaded, previous version of file is deleted. Logic of detection of modified files controlled by --detect option.

  3. --delete-removed

    Deletes files, which exist in Amazon Glacier, but missing in local filesystem (or have zero size) , from Amazon Glacier.

  4. --detect

    Controls how --replace-modified detect modified files. Possible values are: treehash, mtime, mtime-or-treehash, mtime-and-treehash, always-positive, size-only. Default value is mtime-and-treehash

    File is always considered modified if its size changed (but not zero)

    1. treehash - calculates TreeHash checksum for file and compares with one in Journal. If checksum does not match - file is modified.

    2. mtime - compares file last modification time in local filesystem and in journal, if it differs - file is modified.

    3. mtime-or-treehash - compares file last modification time, if it differs - file is modified. If it matches - compares TreeHash.

    4. mtime-and-treehash - compares file last modification time, if it differs - compares TreeHash. If modification time is not changed, file treated as not-modified, treehash not checked.

    5. always-positive - always treat files as modified, Modification time and TreeHash are ignored. Probably makes some sense only with --filter options.

    6. size-only - treat files as modified only if size differs

    NOTE: default mode for detect is mtime-and-treehash, it's more performance wise (treehash checked only for files with modification time changed), but mtime-or-treehash and treehash are more safe in case you're not sure which programs change your files and how.

    NOTE: mtime-or-treehash is mnemonic for File is modified if mtime differs OR treehash differs mtime-and-treehash is mnemonic for File is modified if mtime differs AND treehash differs. Words AND and OR means here logical operators with short-circuit evaluation i.e. with mtime-and-treehash treehash never checked if mtime not differs. And with mtime-or-treehash treehash never checked if mtime differs.

NOTE: files with zero sizes are not supported by Amazon Glacier API, thus considered non-existing for consistency, for all sync modes.

NOTE: sync does not upload empty directories, there is no such thing as directory in Amazon Glacier.

NOTE: With --dry-run option TreeHash will not be calculated, instead Will VERIFY treehash and upload... message will be displayed.

NOTE: TreeHash calculation performed in parallel, so some of workers (defined with --concurrency) might be busy calculating treehash instead of network IO.


Initiate Amazon Glacier RETRIEVE oparation for files listed in Journal, which don't exist on local filesystem and for which RETRIEVE was not initiated during last 24 hours (that information obtained from Journal too - each retrieval logged into journal together with timestamp)


Donwloads files, listed in Journal, which don't exist on local filesystem, and which were previously RETRIEVED (using restore command) and now available for download (i.e. in a ~4hours after retrieve). Unlike restore command, list of retrieved files is requested from Amazon Glacier servers at runtime using API, not from journal.

Data downloaded to unique temporary files (created in same directory as destination file). Temp files renamed to real files only when download successfully finished. In case program terminated with error or after Ctrl-C, temp files with unfinished downloads removed.

If segment-size specified (greater than 0) and particular file size in megabytes is larger than segment-size, download for this file performed in multiple segments, i.e. using HTTP Range: header (each of size segment-size MiB, except last, which can be smaller). Segments are downloaded in parallel (and different segments from different files can be downloaded at same time).

Only values that are power of two supported for segment-size now.

Currenly if download breaks due to network problem, no resumption is performed, download of file or of current segment started from beginning.

In case multi-segment downloads, TreeHash reported by Amazon Glacier for each segment is compared with actual TreeHash, calculated for segment at runtime. In case of mismatch error is thrown and process stopped. Final TreeHash for whole file not checked yet.

In case full-file downloads, TreeHash reported by Amazon Glacier for whole file is compared with one calculated runtime and with one found in Journal file, in case of mismatch, error is thrown and process stopped.

Unlike partsize option, segment-size does not allocate buffers in memory of the size specified, so you can use large segment-size.


Uploads a single file into Amazon Glacier. File will be tracked with Journal (just like when using sync command).

There are several possible combinations of options for upload-file:

  1. --filename and --dir

    Uploads what: a file, pointed by filename.

    Filename in Journal and Amazon Glacier metadata: A relative path from dir to filename

     ./mtglacier upload-file --config glacier.cfg --vault myvault --journal journal.log --dir /data/backup --filename /data/backup/dir1/myfile

    (this will upload content of /data/backup/dir1/myfile to Amazon Glacier and use dir1/myfile as filename for Journal )

     ./mtglacier upload-file --config glacier.cfg --vault myvault --journal journal.log --dir data/backup --filename data/backup/dir1/myfile

    (Let's assume current directory is /home. Then this will upload content of /home/data/backup/dir1/myfile to Amazon Glacier and use dir1/myfile as filename for Journal)

    NOTE: file filename should be inside directory dir

    NOTE: both -filename and --dir resolved to full paths, before determining relative path from --dir to --filename. Thus yo'll get an error if parent directories are unreadable. Also if you have /dir/ds symlink to /dir/d3 directory, then --dir /dir --filename /dir/ds/file will result in relative filename d3/file not ds/file

  2. --filename and --set-rel-filename

    Uploads what: a file, pointed by filename.

    Filename in Journal and Amazon Glacier metadata: As specified in set-rel-filename

     ./mtglacier upload-file --config glacier.cfg --vault myvault --journal journal.log --filename /tmp/myfile --set-rel-filename a/b/c

    (this will upload content of /tmp/myfile to Amazon Glacier and use a/b/c as filename for Journal )

    (NOTE: set-rel-filename should be a relative filename i.e. must not start with /)

  3. --stdin, --set-rel-filename and --check-max-file-size

    Uploads what: a file, read from STDIN

    Filename in Journal and Amazon Glacier metadata: As specified in set-rel-filename

    Also, as file size is not known until the very end of upload, need to be sure that file will not exceed 10 000 parts limit, and you must specify check-max-file-size -- maximum possible size of file (in Megabytes), that you can expect. What this option do is simply throw error if check-max-file-size/partsize > 10 000 parts (in that case it's recommended to adjust partsize). That's all. I remind that you can put this (and any other option to config file)

     ./mtglacier upload-file --config glacier.cfg --vault myvault --journal journal.log --stdin --set-rel-filename path/to/file --check-max-file-size 131

    (this will upload content of file read from STDIN to Amazon Glacier and use path/to/file as filename for Journal. )

    (NOTE: set-rel-filename should be a relative filename i.e. must not start with /)


  1. In the current version of mtglacier you are disallowed to store multiple versions of same file. I.e. upload multiple files with same relative filename to a single Amazon Glacier vault and single Journal. Simple file versioning will be implemented in the future versions.

  2. You can use other optional options with this command (concurrency, partsize)


Issues inventory retrieval request for --vault.

You can specify inventory format with --request-inventory-format. Allowed values are json and csv. Defaults to json. Although it's not recommended to use csv unless you have to. Amazon CSV format is not documented, has bugs and mt-aws-glacier CSV parsing implementation (i.e. download-inventory command) is ~ 10 times slower than JSON.

See also Restoring journal for retrieve-inventory, download-inventory commands examples.


Parses Amazon glacier job list (for --vault) taken from Amazon servers at runtime, finds latest (by initiation date) inventory retrieval request, downloads it, converts to journal file and saves to --new-journal. Both CSV and JSON jobs are supported.

See also Restoring journal for retrieve-inventory, download-inventory commands examples.


Lists all vaults in region specified by --region (with a respect to IAM permissions for listing vaults), prints it to the screen. Default format is human readable, not for parsing. Use --format=mtmsg for machine readable tab separated format (which is not yet documented here, however it's self-explanatory and backward compatability is guaranteed; one note - LastInventoryDate can be empty string as Amazon API can return it as null).

Other commands

See usage for examples of use of the following commands: purge-vault, check-local-hash, create-vault, delete-vault.

File selection options

filter, include, exclude options allow you to construct a list of RULES to select only certain files for the operation. Can be used with commands: sync, purge-vault, restore, restore-completed and check-local-hash

  • --filter

    Adds one or several RULES to the list of rules. One filter value can contain multiple rules, it has same effect as multiple filter values with one RULE each.

      --filter 'RULE1 RULE2' --filter 'RULE3'

    is same as

      --filter 'RULE1 RULE2 RULE3'

    RULES should be a sequence of PATTERNS, followed by '+' or '-' and separated by a spaces. There can be a space between '+'/'-' and PATTERN.

      RULES: [+-]PATTERN [+-]PATTERN ...

    '+' means INCLUDE PATTERN, '-' means EXCLUDE PATTERN


      1. If RULES contain spaces or wildcards, you must quote it when running `mtglacier` from Shell (Example: `mtglacier ... --filter -tmp/` but `mtglacier --filter '-log/ -tmp/'`)
      2. Although, PATTERN can contain spaces, you cannot use if, because RULES separated by a space(s).
      3. PATTERN can be empty (Example: `--filter +data/ --filter -` - excludes everything except any directory with name `data`, last pattern is empty)
      4. Unlike other options, `filter`, `include` and `exclude` cannot be used in config file (in order to avoid mess with order of rules)
  • --include

    Adds an INCLUDE PATTERN to list of rules (Example: --include /data/ --filter '+/photos/ -' - include only photos and data directories)

  • --exclude

    Adds an EXCLUDE PATTERN to list of rules (Example: --exclude /data/ - include everything except /data and subdirectories)


      1. You can use spaces in PATTERNS here (Example: `--exclude '/my documents/'` - include everything except "/my documents" and subdirectories)
  • How PATTERNS work

    1. If the pattern starts with a '/' then it is anchored to a particular spot in the hierarchy of files, otherwise it is matched against the final component of the filename.

      /tmp/myfile - matches only /tmp/myfile. But tmp/myfile - matches /tmp/myfile and /home/john/tmp/myfile

    1. If the pattern ends with a '/' then it will only match a directory and all files/subdirectories inside this directory. It won't match regular file. Note that if directory is empty, it won't be synchronized to Amazon Glacier, as it does not support directories

      log/ - matches only directory log, but not a file log

    1. If pattern does not end with a '/', it won't match directory (directories are not supported by Amazon Glacier, so it makes no sense to match a directory without subdirectories). However if, in future versions, we find a way to store empty directories in Amazon Glacier, this behavior may change.

      log - matches only file log, but not a directory log nor files inside it

    1. if the pattern contains a '/' (not counting a trailing '/') then it is matched against the full pathname, including any leading directories. Otherwise it is matched only against the final component of the filename.

      myfile - matches myfile in any directory (i.e. matches both /home/ivan/myfile and /data/tmp/myfile), but it does not match /tmp/myfile/myfile1. While tmp/myfile matches /data/tmp/myfile and /tmp/myfile/myfile1

    1. Wildcard '*' matches zero or more characters, but it stops at slashes.

      /tmp*/file matches /tmp/file, /tmp1/file, /tmp2/file but not tmp1/x/file

    1. Wildcard '**' matches anything, including slashes.

      /tmp**/file matches /tmp/file, /tmp1/file, /tmp2/file, tmp1/x/file and tmp1/x/y/z/file

    1. When wildcard '**' meant to be a separated path component (i.e. surrounded with slashes/beginning of line/end of line), it matches 0 or more subdirectories.

      /foo/**/bar matches foo/bar and foo/x/bar. Also **/file matches /file and x/file

    1. Wildcard '?' matches any (exactly one) character except a slash ('/').

      ??.txt matches 11.txt, xy.txt but not abc.txt

    1. if PATTERN is empty, it matches anything.

      mtglacier ... --filter '+data/ -' - Last pattern is empty string (followed by '-')

    1. If PATTERN is started with '!' it only match when rest of pattern (i.e. without '!') does not match.

      mtglacier ... --filter '-!/data/ +*.gz' - - include only *.gz files inside data/ directory.

  • How rules are processed

    1. File's relative filename (relative to --dir root) is checked against rules in the list. Once filename match PATTERN, file is included or excluded depending on the kind of PATTERN matched. No other rules checked after first match.

      --filter '+*.txt -file.txt' File file.txt is INCLUDED, it matches 1st pattern, so 2nd pattern is ignored

    1. If no rules matched - file is included (default rule is INCLUDE rule).

      --filter '+*.jpeg' File file.txt is INCLUDED, as it does not match any rules

    1. When we process both local files and Journal filelist (sync, restore commands), rule applied to BOTH sides.
    1. When traverse directory tree, (in contrast to behavior of some tools, like Rsync), if a directory (and all subdirectories) match exclude pattern, directory tree is not pruned, traversal go into the directory. So this will work fine (it will include /tmp/data/a/b/c, but exclude all other files in /tmp/data):

      --filter '+/tmp/data/a/b/c -/tmp/data/ +'

    1. In some cases, to reduce disk IO, directory traversal into excluded directory can be stopped. This only can happen when mtglacier absolutely sure that it won't break behavior (4) described above. Currently it's guaranteed that traversal stop only in case when:
  • A directory match EXCLUDE rule without '!' prefix, ending with '/' or '**', or empty rule

  • AND there are no INCLUDE rules before this EXCLUDE RULE

      `--filter '-*.tmp -/media/ -/proc/ +*.jpeg'` - system '/proc' and huge '/media' directory is not traversed.
    1. Non-ASCII characters in PATTERNS are supported.

Additional command line options

NOTE: Any command line option can be used in config file as well, but options specified on command line override options specified in config.

  1. concurrency (with sync, upload-file, restore, restore-completed commands) - number of parallel upload streams to run. (default 4)

     --concurrency 4
  2. partsize (with sync, upload-file command) - size of file chunk to upload at once, in Megabytes. (default 16)

     --partsize 16
  3. segment-size (with restore-completed command) - size of download segment, in MiB (default: none)

    If segment-size specified (greater than zero), and file size in megabytes is larger than segment-size, download performed in multiple segments.

    If omited or zero, multi-segment download is disabled (i.e this is default)

    segment-size should be power of two.

  4. max-number-of-files (with sync or restore commands) - limit number of files to sync/restore. Program will finish when reach this limit.

     --max-number-of-files 100
  5. key/secret/region/vault/protocol - you can override any option from config

  6. dry-run (with sync, purge-vault, restore, restore-completed and even check-local-hash commands) - do not perform actual work, print what will happen instead.

  7. leaf-optimization (only sync command). 0 - disable. 1 - enable (default). Similar to find (coreutils tools) -noleaf option and File::Find $dont_use_nlink option. When disabled number of hardlinks to directory is ignored during file tree traversal. This slow down file search, but more compatible with (some) CIFS/CD-ROM filesystems. For more information see find and File::Find manuals.

  8. token (all commands which connect Amazon Glacier API) - a STS/IAM security token, described in Amazon STS/IAM Using Temporary Security Credentials to Access AWS

  1. timeout (all commands which connect Amazon Glacier API)

    Sets the timeout value in seconds, default value is 180 seconds. Request to Amazon Glacier is retried, if if no activity on the connection to the server is observed for timeout seconds. This means that the time it takes for the complete whole request might be longer.

  2. follow (only sync command)

    Follow symbolic links during directory traversal. This option hits performance and increases memory usage. Similar to find -L

Configuring Character Encodings

Autodetection of locale/encodings not implemented yet, but currently there is ability to tune encodings manually.

Below 4 options, that can be used in config file and in command line.

  1. terminal-encoding - Encoding of your terminal (STDOUT/STDERR for system messages)

  2. filenames-encoding - Encoding of filenames in filesystem.

    Under most *nix filesystems filenames stored as byte sequences, not characters. So in theory application is responsible for managing encodings.

  3. config-encoding - Encoding of your config file (glacier.cfg in examples above)

  4. journal-encoding - Encoding to be used for Journal file (when reading and writing journal specified with --journal and --new-journal options)

Default value for all options is 'UTF-8'. Under Linux and Mac OS X you usually don't need to change encodings. Under *BSD systems often single-byte encodings are used. Most likely yo'll need to change terminal-encoding and filenames-encoding. Optionaly you can also change config-encoding and journal-encoding.


  • Before switching config-encoding and journal-encoding you are responsible for transcoding file content of config and journal files manually.

  • You are responsible for encoding compatibility. For example Don't try to work with UTF-8 journal with non-Cyrilic characters and KOI8-R (Cyrilic) filesystem.

  • Don't try to use UTF-16 for *nix filesystem. It's not ASCII compatible and contains \x00 bytes, which can't be stored in filesystem.

  • Don't use UTF8 - it does not validate data, use UTF-8 (one with a dash) instead.

  • To get list of encodings installed with your Perl run:

      perl -MEncode -e 'print join qq{\n}, Encode->encodings(q{:all})'
  • Config file name (specified with --config) can be in any encoding (it's used as is) Of course it will work only if your terminal encoding match your filesystem encoding or if your config file name consists of ASCII-7bit characters only.

  • Additional information about encoding support in Perl programming language: CPAN module Encode::Supported

  • Amazon Glacier metadata (on Amazon servers) is always stored in UTF-8. No way to override it. You can use Journal in any encoding with same metdata without problems and you can dump metadata to journals with different encodings (using download-inventory command)

  • See also convmv tool


  • Only support filenames, which consist of octets, that can be mapped to a valid character sequence in desired encoding (i.e. filename which are made of random bytes/garbage is not supported. usually it's not a problem).

  • Filenames with CR (Carriage return, code 0x0D) LF (Line feed, code 0x0A) and TAB (0x09) are not supported (usually not a problem too).

  • Length of relative filenames. Currently limit is about 700 ASCII characters or 350 2-byte UTF-8 character (.. or 230 3-byte characters).

  • File modification time should be in range from year 1000 to year 9999.

(NOTE: if above requirements are not met, error will be thrown)

  • If you uploaded files with file modifications dates past Y2038 on system which supports it, and then restored on system which does not (like Linux 32bit), resulting file timestamp (of course) wrong and also unpredictible (undefined behaviour). The only thing is guaranteed that if you restore journal from Amazon servers on affected (i.e. 32bit) machine - journal will contain correct timestamp (same as on 64bit).

  • Memory usage (for 'sync') formula is ~ min(NUMBER_OF_FILES_TO_SYNC, max-number-of-files) + partsize*concurrency

  • With high partsize*concurrency there is a risk of getting network timeouts HTTP 408/500.

Test/Play with it

  1. create empty dir MYDIR

  2. Set vault name inside

  3. Run

     ./ init MYDIR
     ./ retrieve MYDIR
     ./ restore MYDIR
  • OR

      ./ init MYDIR
      ./ purge MYDIR

See also

Minimum Amazon Glacier permissions:

Something like this (including permissions to create/delete vaults):

"Statement": [
	"Effect": "Allow",
		"Effect": "Allow",
		  "glacier:DeleteVault", "glacier:ListVaults"]


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