Amazon S3 is an object storage service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is designed to store and protect large amounts of data for individuals and industries. In this article, we discuss Amazon S3, how it works, the standout features, and its costs.
What Is Amazon S3?
Amazon Simple Storage Service, or simply Amazon S3, is designed to provide industry-leading performance, speed, security, scalability, and data availability through a web service interface. The platform was developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and initially launched on March 14, 2006.
The flexible service accommodates the varying needs of different types of customers and industries. It is used to store and protect any amount of data for range of use cases, including mobile applications, websites, backup and restore, disaster recovery, data lakes, archives, IoT devices, big data analytics, and enterprise applications.
Amazon S3 Intelligent Tiering provides 9.999999999% durability and 99.9% availability. Management features allow users to optimize, configure, and organize access to their data to meet specific compliance, business, or organizational requirements.
How Does Amazon S3 Work?
As an object storage service, S3 stores each object as a file with its metadata. Objects have unique identifiers (key names), which applications use to access and manipulate the objects. Developers can access these objects through a Representational State Transfer (REST) API.
Amazon S3 is different from other cloud storage services like block and file cloud storage. Within the platform, the user creates buckets to store the object-based files and folders. The users can specify the name and AWS region of deployment of the buckets when creating them. Based on associated permissions and properties, every object uploaded to the bucket can be an independent entity.
When uploading an individual or group of files to buckets, users specify the storage type to be used for specific objects. Lifecycle Management allows users to design lifecycle policies, which will automatically move objects from one storage tier to another after a set number of days, or after other conditions are met.
Amazon S3 Features
S3 is designed to provide user-friendly features that support data organization and management for specific use cases, enforce security policies, meet compliance requirements, and enable cost efficiencies.
Depending on the use case, Amazon S3 offers a range of storage classes, including S3 Standard, S3 Standard-IA, S3 Intelligent-Tiering, S3 One Zone-IA, S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval, S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval, S3 Glacier Deep Archive, and RRS.
S3’s storage management features (S3 Lifecycle, S3 Object Lock, S3 Replication, and S3 Batch Operations) help control costs, reduce latency, meet regulatory requirements, and save multiple distinct copies of data for compliance requirements.
Access Management and Security
S3 Block Public Access, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), bucket policies, Amazon S3 access points, access control lists (ACLs), S3 Object Ownership, and Access Analyzer for S3 all handle aspects of auditing and managing access to objects and buckets.
S3 Object Lambda and Event Notifications are data-processing features that automate a variety of other processing activities at scale, including data transformation and workflow triggering.
Storage Logging and Monitoring
Amazon S3 provides logging and monitoring tools to control use of resources. Automated monitoring tools include Amazon CloudWatch metrics and AWS CloudTrail. Manual monitoring tools include server access logging and AWS Trusted Advisor.
Analytics and Insights
Amazon S3 Storage Lens, Storage Class Analysis, and S3 Inventory give users visibility into storage usage, which can help data teams better analyze, understand, and optimize data at scale.
The platform offers strong read-after-write consistency for PUT and DELETE requests of objects in buckets for all AWS Regions. Additionally, read operations on Amazon S3 Select, access control lists (ACLs), Object Tags, and object metadata are strongly consistent.
Amazon S3 Cost
Amazon S3 does not have a set minimum charge. Instead the cost is charged on a GB/month basis, and varies depending on the region.
Before choosing a plan, the AWS pricing calculator allows prospective users to determine an estimated price based on their specific parameters. The calculator takes into consideration six cost components in generating its estimates:
- Storage cost
- Request and data retrieval cost
- Data transfer and transfer acceleration cost
- Data management and analytics cost
- Replication cost
- S3 Object Lambda cost
While evaluating storage solutions, prospective users can get started with Amazon S3 for free as a part of AWS Free Tier, which includes:
- 5GB of storage in the S3 Standard storage class
- 20,000 GET Requests
- 2,000 PUT, COPY, POST, or LIST Requests
- 100 GB of Data Transfer Out each month