Use Amazon S3 Glacier with the Amazon CLI - Amazon Command Line Interface
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Use Amazon S3 Glacier with the Amazon CLI

An introduction to Amazon S3 Glacier

This topic shows examples of Amazon CLI commands that perform common tasks for S3 Glacier. The examples demonstrate how to use the Amazon CLI to upload a large file to S3 Glacier by splitting it into smaller parts and uploading them from the command line.

You can access Amazon S3 Glacier features using the Amazon Command Line Interface (Amazon CLI). To list the Amazon CLI commands for S3 Glacier, use the following command.

aws glacier help

For command reference and additional examples, see aws glacier in the Amazon CLI Command Reference.


To run the glacier commands, you need to:

  • Install and configure the Amazon CLI. For more information, see Install or update to the latest version of the Amazon CLI and Authentication and access credentials.

  • This tutorial uses several command line tools that typically come preinstalled on Unix-like operating systems, including Linux and macOS. Windows users can use the same tools by installing Cygwin and running the commands from the Cygwin terminal. We note Windows native commands and utilities that perform the same functions where available.

Create an Amazon S3 Glacier vault

Create a vault with the create-vault command.

$ aws glacier create-vault --account-id - --vault-name myvault { "location": "/123456789012/vaults/myvault" }

All S3 Glacier commands require an account ID parameter. Use the hyphen character (--account-id -) to use the current account.

Prepare a file for uploading

Create a file for the test upload. The following commands create a file named largefile that contains exactly 3 MiB of random data.

Linux or macOS

$ dd if=/dev/urandom of=largefile bs=3145728 count=1 1+0 records in 1+0 records out 3145728 bytes (3.1 MB) copied, 0.205813 s, 15.3 MB/s

dd is a utility that copies a number of bytes from an input file to an output file. The previous example uses the system device file /dev/urandom as a source of random data. fsutil performs a similar function in Windows.


C:\> fsutil file createnew largefile 3145728 File C:\temp\largefile is created

Next, split the file into 1 MiB (1,048,576 byte) chunks.

$ split -b 1048576 --verbose largefile chunk creating file `chunkaa' creating file `chunkab' creating file `chunkac'

HJ-Split is a free file splitter for Windows and many other platforms.

Initiate a multipart upload and upload files

Create a multipart upload in Amazon S3 Glacier by using the initiate-multipart-upload command.

$ aws glacier initiate-multipart-upload --account-id - --archive-description "multipart upload test" --part-size 1048576 --vault-name myvault { "uploadId": "19gaRezEXAMPLES6Ry5YYdqthHOC_kGRCT03L9yetr220UmPtBYKk-OssZtLqyFu7sY1_lR7vgFuJV6NtcV5zpsJ", "location": "/123456789012/vaults/myvault/multipart-uploads/19gaRezEXAMPLES6Ry5YYdqthHOC_kGRCT03L9yetr220UmPtBYKk-OssZtLqyFu7sY1_lR7vgFuJV6NtcV5zpsJ" }

S3 Glacier requires the size of each part in bytes (1 MiB in this example), your vault name, and an account ID to configure the multipart upload. The Amazon CLI outputs an upload ID when the operation is complete. Save the upload ID to a shell variable for later use.

Linux or macOS

$ UPLOADID="19gaRezEXAMPLES6Ry5YYdqthHOC_kGRCT03L9yetr220UmPtBYKk-OssZtLqyFu7sY1_lR7vgFuJV6NtcV5zpsJ"


C:\> set UPLOADID="19gaRezEXAMPLES6Ry5YYdqthHOC_kGRCT03L9yetr220UmPtBYKk-OssZtLqyFu7sY1_lR7vgFuJV6NtcV5zpsJ"

Next, use the upload-multipart-part command to upload each of the three parts.

$ aws glacier upload-multipart-part --upload-id $UPLOADID --body chunkaa --range 'bytes 0-1048575/*' --account-id - --vault-name myvault { "checksum": "e1f2a7cd6e047fa606fe2f0280350f69b9f8cfa602097a9a026360a7edc1f553" } $ aws glacier upload-multipart-part --upload-id $UPLOADID --body chunkab --range 'bytes 1048576-2097151/*' --account-id - --vault-name myvault { "checksum": "e1f2a7cd6e047fa606fe2f0280350f69b9f8cfa602097a9a026360a7edc1f553" } $ aws glacier upload-multipart-part --upload-id $UPLOADID --body chunkac --range 'bytes 2097152-3145727/*' --account-id - --vault-name myvault { "checksum": "e1f2a7cd6e047fa606fe2f0280350f69b9f8cfa602097a9a026360a7edc1f553" }

The previous example uses the dollar sign ($) to reference the contents of the UPLOADID shell variable on Linux. On the Windows command line, use a percent sign (%) on either side of the variable name (for example, %UPLOADID%).

You must specify the byte range of each part when you upload it so that S3 Glacier can reassemble it in the correct order. Each piece is 1,048,576 bytes, so the first piece occupies bytes 0-1048575, the second 1048576-2097151, and the third 2097152-3145727.

Complete the upload

Amazon S3 Glacier requires a tree hash of the original file to confirm that all of the uploaded pieces reached Amazon intact.

To calculate a tree hash, you must split the file into 1 MiB parts and calculate a binary SHA-256 hash of each piece. Then you split the list of hashes into pairs, combine the two binary hashes in each pair, and take hashes of the results. Repeat this process until there is only one hash left. If there is an odd number of hashes at any level, promote it to the next level without modifying it.

The key to calculating a tree hash correctly when using command line utilities is to store each hash in binary format and convert to hexadecimal only at the last step. Combining or hashing the hexadecimal version of any hash in the tree will cause an incorrect result.


Windows users can use the type command in place of cat. OpenSSL is available for Windows at

To calculate a tree hash
  1. If you haven't already, split the original file into 1 MiB parts.

    $ split --bytes=1048576 --verbose largefile chunk creating file `chunkaa' creating file `chunkab' creating file `chunkac'
  2. Calculate and store the binary SHA-256 hash of each chunk.

    $ openssl dgst -sha256 -binary chunkaa > hash1 $ openssl dgst -sha256 -binary chunkab > hash2 $ openssl dgst -sha256 -binary chunkac > hash3
  3. Combine the first two hashes and take the binary hash of the result.

    $ cat hash1 hash2 > hash12 $ openssl dgst -sha256 -binary hash12 > hash12hash
  4. Combine the parent hash of chunks aa and ab with the hash of chunk ac and hash the result, this time outputting hexadecimal. Store the result in a shell variable.

    $ cat hash12hash hash3 > hash123 $ openssl dgst -sha256 hash123 SHA256(hash123)= 9628195fcdbcbbe76cdde932d4646fa7de5f219fb39823836d81f0cc0e18aa67 $ TREEHASH=9628195fcdbcbbe76cdde932d4646fa7de5f219fb39823836d81f0cc0e18aa67

Finally, complete the upload with the complete-multipart-upload command. This command takes the original file's size in bytes, the final tree hash value in hexadecimal, and your account ID and vault name.

$ aws glacier complete-multipart-upload --checksum $TREEHASH --archive-size 3145728 --upload-id $UPLOADID --account-id - --vault-name myvault { "archiveId": "d3AbWhE0YE1m6f_fI1jPG82F8xzbMEEZmrAlLGAAONJAzo5QdP-N83MKqd96Unspoa5H5lItWX-sK8-QS0ZhwsyGiu9-R-kwWUyS1dSBlmgPPWkEbeFfqDSav053rU7FvVLHfRc6hg", "checksum": "9628195fcdbcbbe76cdde932d4646fa7de5f219fb39823836d81f0cc0e18aa67", "location": "/123456789012/vaults/myvault/archives/d3AbWhE0YE1m6f_fI1jPG82F8xzbMEEZmrAlLGAAONJAzo5QdP-N83MKqd96Unspoa5H5lItWX-sK8-QS0ZhwsyGiu9-R-kwWUyS1dSBlmgPPWkEbeFfqDSav053rU7FvVLHfRc6hg" }

You can also check the status of the vault using the describe-vault command.

$ aws glacier describe-vault --account-id - --vault-name myvault { "SizeInBytes": 3178496, "VaultARN": "arn:aws-cn:glacier:us-west-2:123456789012:vaults/myvault", "LastInventoryDate": "2018-12-07T00:26:19.028Z", "NumberOfArchives": 1, "CreationDate": "2018-12-06T21:23:45.708Z", "VaultName": "myvault" }

Vault status is updated about once per day. See Working with Vaults for more information.

Now it's safe to remove the chunk and hash files that you created.

$ rm chunk* hash*

For more information on multipart uploads, see Uploading Large Archives in Parts and Computing Checksums in the Amazon S3 Glacier Developer Guide.


Amazon CLI reference:

Service reference: