I think one lesson is glacier is only for backups. It sounds like he was storing the originals? The idea of using a cheap USB drive for local storage and glacier for emergency recovery would have been a good compromise.
This is definitely true. I also would’ve assumed that the Amazon Glacier backup was /dev/null until I had successfully restored from it. I was completely blown away that he not only hadn’t tested restore, he didn’t even know what tool he was going to use.