I was thinking cool,

Amazon thought colder.

Hearsay from Hacker News is that Glacier is not luke-warm short-stoked storage, this is custom low rpm hard drives running custom boards to make extremely low powered extremely cold storage, so low powered racks are only partially provisioned for power:

The reason Glacier is so cheap is because of the custom hardware. They've optimized for low-power, low-speed, which will lead to increased cost savings due to both energy savings and increased drive life. I'm not sure how much detail I can go into, but I will say that they've contracted a major hardware manufacturer to create custom low-RPM (and therefore low-power) hard drives that can programmatically be spun down. These custom HDs are put in custom racks with custom logic boards all designed to be very low-power. The upper limit of how much I/O they can perform is surprisingly low - only so many drives can be spun up to full speed on a given rack.

I hope what Sintaks actually means is, we plugged the maximum possible 108 USB hard drives (4200 rpm green) into a PandaBoard and figured out how to only turn 4 at a time on, then ran the same storage software we run everywhere else. :p

(With seven-port hubs, 18 hubs can support 108 devices, according to http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?s=d5437131a58689a0de1b1651ac37d6ce&p=5239848&postcount=5 )
Former S3 employee here. I was on my way out of the company just after the storage engineering work was completed, before they had finalized the API design and pricing structure, so my POV may be slig...
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