How To Optimize Your Data Storage With Amazon S3 Storage Classes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hello learners, in this blog we will discuss Amazon S3 storage classes. Amazon S3 is object-level storage in AWS which lets you store virtually limitless amounts of data. Amazon S3 offers a range of storage classes that you can choose from based on the resiliency, data access, and cost requirements of your workload.

Key features of Amazon S3

You can virtually store any number of objects.

Data is stored redundantly.

Data can be retrieved from anywhere anytime over the internet through a URL.

Data in S3 is private by default, you can encrypt it if required.

The bucket name should be unique.

Granular access to objects and buckets.

Designed for seamless scaling.

You pay only for what you use.

Amazon S3 offers a range of storage classes that are purpose-built to provide the lowest cost storage for different access patterns and use cases. Following are the different Amazon S3 storage classes.

S3 Standard

S3 Intelligent-Tiering

S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA) 

S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access (S3 One Zone-IA)

S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval

S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval (formerly S3 Glacier)

Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive (S3 Glacier Deep Archive)

Let’s understand them one by one.

Amazon S3 Standard

Amazon S3 standard offers higher availability, durability, and performance object storage for frequently accessed data. It delivers low latency and high throughput. S3 is suitable for a wide range of use cases like content distribution, mobile, and gaming applications, dynamic websites, etc.

S3 standard storage is configured at the object level. Data is stored as objects in buckets. Key features of the S3 standard include low latency and high throughput performance with 11 9s (99.999999999 %) of durability.

Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering

It is designed to optimize cost on a granular object level by automatically moving data to the most cost-effective access tier based on access pattern, without performance impact and operational overhead. S3 Intelligent-Tiering showcases milliseconds latency for frequently, infrequently, and rarely accessed data in the Frequent, Infrequent, and Archive Instant Access tiers. Amazon S3 monitors access patterns of objects in Amazon S3 Intelligent tiering and moves the objects that haven’t been accessed for 30 consecutive days to the infrequent access tier. If an object in the infrequent access tier is accessed, it’s automatically moved back to the Frequent Access tier. It is suitable for data that is long-lived with unknown or unpredictable access patterns. It doesn’t charge any retrieval fees for using this storage class and it doesn’t incur additional fees when objects are moved between access tiers. 

S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA) 

Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access is used for data that is less accessed but requires quick access when needed. It is designed to provide high durability, high throughput, and low latency. It has a low per GB storage and retrieval fee. This combination is suitable for long-term storage backups and disaster recovery.

S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access (S3 One Zone-IA)

Amazon S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access is also used for data that is less accessed but requires quick access when needed. Amazon S3 One Zone-IA stores data in only one AZ whereas other storage classes have data replicated in at least three AZs. It incurs less cost than Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access. It is suitable for secondary backups and workloads with easily re-creatable data. Thus it becomes one of the low-cost options for infrequently accessed data but doesn’t require the resilience and availability of other storage classes.

Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval

Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval is a storage class for archived data types. It offers the lowest-cost storage for long-term data that is rarely accessed and requires retrieval in milliseconds. S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval has the fastest access to archive storage, with the same throughput and milliseconds access as the S3 Standard and S3 Standard-IA storage classes. S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval is ideal for archiving data that needs rapid access, such as financial data, medical data, news and media assets. You can upload objects to S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval, alternatively use S3 Lifecycle policies to transfer data.

Amazon S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval (also called S3 Glacier)

Amazon S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval offers low-cost storage, up to 10% lower cost than S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval. It is ideal for backup and disaster recovery use cases when large sets of data occasionally need to be retrieved in minutes. S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval is designed for 99.999999999% (11 9s) of data durability and 99.99% availability by redundantly storing data across multiple AZs.

Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive (also called S3 Glacier Deep Archive)

Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive is the lowest-cost storage among all the S3 storage classes. It supports the long-term retention of data. It is designed for entities like financial companies, the healthcare sector, and the government sector. Such sectors must retain data for around 7 to 10 years for regulatory compliance requirements. Retrieval time is 12 hours for this storage class.

Amazon S3 Outposts

Amazon S3 on Outposts delivers object storage to on-premises AWS Outposts environments. S3 on Outposts allows easy storage and retrieval of data on the Outpost. The S3 Outposts storage class suits workloads with local data regulatory requirements. Also, the data that has to be close to the on-premises applications are suitable for S3 Outposts.

This was just an overview of all the available storage classes in Amazon S3. Stay tuned for more learning!

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