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Last active July 12, 2024 09:22
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Delete all archives in an AWS Vault

AWS Glacier: Delete vault

Follow these steps to remove all archives from an AWS vault. After this is finished, you will be able to delete the vault itself through the browser console.

Step 1 / Retrieve inventory

This will create a job that collects required information about the vault.

$ aws glacier initiate-job --job-parameters '{"Type": "inventory-retrieval"}' --account-id YOUR_ACCOUNT_ID --region YOUR_REGION --vault-name YOUR_VAULT_NAME 

This can take hours or even days, depending on the size of the vault. Use the following command to check if it is ready:

aws glacier list-jobs --account-id YOUR_ACCOUNT_ID --region YOUR_REGION --vault-name YOUR_VAULT_NAME 

Copy the JobId (including the quotes) for the next step.

Step 2 / Get the ArchivesIds

The following command will result in a file listing all archive IDs, required for step 3.

$ aws glacier get-job-output --account-id YOUR_ACCOUNT_ID --region YOUR_REGION --vault-name YOUR_VAULT_NAME --job-id YOUR_JOB_ID ./output.json

Step 3 / Delete archives

Set the following parameters through environment variables:


Create a file with the following content and run it:



if [[ -z ${AWS_ACCOUNT_ID} ]] || [[ -z ${AWS_REGION} ]] || [[ -z ${AWS_VAULT_NAME} ]]; then
	echo "Please set the following environment variables: "
	echo "AWS_REGION"
	exit 1

archive_ids=$(jq .ArchiveList[].ArchiveId < $file)

for archive_id in ${archive_ids}; do
    echo "Deleting Archive: ${archive_id}"
    aws glacier delete-archive --archive-id=${archive_id} --vault-name ${AWS_VAULT_NAME} --account-id ${AWS_ACCOUNT_ID} --region ${AWS_REGION}

echo "Finished deleting archives"


This tutorial is based on this one:

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I can see the logic which handles this

You're right @aivus, but that doesn't adapt client behaviour based upon the API state - it's a try/fail/retry (which is helpful of course but can be bettered).

I just run a removal of 100k

Using the CLI, you'd average about one delete operation a second so clearly any Boto3 script is an improvement.

When you're processing 10 vaults at a time, each with +/- 100M archives, you'll find retry_mode = adaptive is worth your consideration.

Glacier's behaviour under load can be a little unpredictable. Granting more client-side retry behaviour is very useful. :-)

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marcodpt commented Jun 6, 2024

This was very helpful. Anyone else feel like a Glacier vault is the digital equivalent of Hotel California...

They gathered for the feast They stab it with their steely knives But they just can't kill the beast

Relax, said the night man
We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave

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