Amazon S3 Storage Classes

Table of Contents

Amazon S3 Standard

S3 Standard offers highly durable, available, and performance object storage for frequently accessed data. S3 Standard has a retrieval time (first-byte latency) of milliseconds. Because S3 Standard delivers low latency and high throughput, S3 Standard is appropriate for a wide variety of use cases, including cloud applications, dynamic websites, content distribution, mobile and gaming applications, and big data analytics. However, the S3 Standard storage class is not used to store secondary backup copies of on-premises data. Data store in S3 Standard – is used for General Purposes and for frequently accessed data.

Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering

The S3 Intelligent-Tiering storage class is designed to optimize costs by automatically moving data to the most cost-effective access tier-based access patterns change without performance impact or operational overhead. It works by storing objects in two access tiers: one tier that is optimized for frequent access and another lower-cost tier that is optimized for infrequent access. S3 Intelligent-Tiering has a retrieval time (first-byte latency) of milliseconds.

It works by storing objects in four access tiers: two low latency access tiers optimized for frequent and infrequent access and two optional archive access tiers designed for asynchronous access that are optimized for rare access. Objects uploaded or transitioned to S3 Intelligent-Tiering are automatically stored in the Frequent Access tier.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering works by monitoring access patterns and then moving the objects that have not been accessed in 30 consecutive days to the Infrequent Access tier. Once you have activated one or both of the archive access tiers, S3 Intelligent-Tiering will automatically move objects that haven’t been accessed for 90 consecutive days to the Archive Access tier and then after 180 consecutive days of no access to the Deep Archive Access tier. If the objects are accessed later, S3 Intelligent-Tiering moves the objects back to the Frequent Access tier.

There are no retrieval fees when using the S3 Intelligent-Tiering storage class and no additional tiering fees when objects are moved between access tiers within S3 Intelligent-Tiering. It is the ideal storage class for data sets with unknown storage access patterns, like new applications, or unpredictable access patterns, like data lakes.

Amazon S3 Standard-IA

Amazon S3 Standard-IA (Standard-Infrequent Access) is for data that is accessed less frequently but requires rapid access when needed. S3 Standard-IA offers highly durable, high throughput, and low latency of S3 Standard, with a low per GB storage price and per GB retrieval fee. This combination of low cost and high performance makes S3 Standard-IA ideal for long-term storage, backups, and as a data store for disaster recovery files. It can be used for backups, but it is more expensive than S3 One Zone – Infrequent Access. Hence, S3 One Zone – Infrequent Access is a better option for secondary backup copies.

S3 One Zone-IA

S3 One Zone-IA Storage Class is used for data that is accessed less frequently. However, when needed, it requires rapid access. Unlike other S3 Storage Classes, which store data in a minimum of three AZs, S3 One Zone-IA stores data in a single AZ,  and it costs 20% less than S3 Standard-IA.  S3 One Zone-IA is very good for the use cases of customers who want a lower-cost option for infrequently accessed data but do not need the availability and resilience of S3 Standard or S3 Standard-IA. Additionally, S3 One Zone-IA is a good choice for storing secondary backup copies of on-premises data or easily re-creatable data. You can also use it as cost-effective storage for data that is replicated from another AWS Region using S3 Cross-Region Replication.

An example is thumbnail storage. However, S3 One Zone-IA offers less availability than S3 Standard, but that's not an issue for storing thumbnails since the thumbnails can be regenerated easily.

In a use case where the thumbnails are rarely used but need to be rapidly accessed when required, S3 One Zone-IA could be the best choice.

Please review this illustration for S3 Storage Classes availability. You don't need to memorize the actual numbers, just remember that S3 One Zone-IA offers the lowest availability:

Amazon S3 Glacier

Amazon S3 Glacier is a secure, durable, and extremely low-cost S3  Storage Class for data archiving and long-term backup. It is designed to deliver 99.999999999% durability. Amazon S3 Glacier provides comprehensive security and compliance capabilities that can help meet even the most stringent regulatory requirements. S3 Glacier has a retrieval time (first-byte latency) of minutes or a few hours.

Amazon S3 Glacier is optimized for infrequently used data, or “cold data.” Data stored in S3 Glacier is automatically server-side encrypted using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256) with keys maintained by AWS.

You can further review the use-cases for S3 Glacier:

Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive

Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive is the lowest-cost Storage Class offering. Its typical use case supports long-term retention of data that may be accessed once or twice a year. It is designed for customers that retain data sets for 7-10 years or longer to meet regulatory compliance requirements — particularly those in highly-regulated industries, such as Financial Services, Healthcare, and Public Sectors.

S3 Glacier Deep Archive can also be used for backup and disaster recovery cases. It is also a cost-effective and easy-to-manage alternative to magnetic tape systems, whether they are on-premises libraries or off-premises services. It has a retrieval time (first-byte latency) of 12 to 48 hours.

S3 Glacier Deep Archive complements Amazon S3 Glacier, which is ideal for archives where data is regularly retrieved, and some of the data may be needed in minutes. All objects stored in S3 Glacier Deep Archive are replicated and stored across at least three geographically-dispersed AZs, protected by 99.999999999% of durability, and can be restored within 12 hours.

Please review this illustration for S3 Storage Classes data retrieval times. You don't need to memorize the actual numbers, just remember that S3 Glacier Deep Archive takes the most time to retrieve data:

AWS Snowball

AWS Snowball is a data migration and edge computing device that is part of the AWS Snow Family. If you have large quantities of data you need to migrate into AWS, offline data transfer with AWS Snowball can overcome the challenge of limited bandwidth and avoid the need to lease additional bandwidth. It is a data transport solution that accelerates moving terabytes to petabytes of data into and out of AWS services using storage devices designed to be secure for physical transport. Snowball moves terabytes of data in about a week. You can use it to move databases, backups, archives, healthcare records, analytics datasets, IoT sensor data, and media content, particularly network conditions that prevent timelines for transferring large amounts of data into and out of AWS.

AWS Snowball is a petabyte-scale data transport solution. It uses secure appliances to transfer large amounts of data into and out of AWS. The use of Snowball addresses common challenges with large-scale data transfers, including high network costs, long transfer times, and security concerns. Transferring data with Snowball is simple, fast, secure, and can be as little as one-fifth the cost of high-speed Internet. However, one Snowball only provides up to 80 TB of capacity.

AWS Snowmobile

AWS Snowmobile is an Exabyte-scale data transfer service. It is used to move extremely large amounts of data such as video libraries, image repositories, or even a complete data center migration to AWS. You can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile. A Snowmobile is a 45-foot-long ruggedized shipping container pulled by a semi-trailer truck.

AWS Snowball Edge

AWS Snowball Edge is a type of Snowball device which contains onboard storage and compute power for some selective AWS capabilities. The Snowball Edge can also do local processing and edge-computing workloads besides transferring data between your local environment and the AWS Cloud. One Snowball Edge only provides up to 100 TB of capacity.

AWS Snowcone

AWS Snowcone is the smallest member of the AWS Snow Family  –weighing in at 4.5 pounds (2.1 kg). AWS Snowcone is equipped with eight terabytes of usable storage, while AWS Snowcone Solid State Drive (SSD) supports 14 terabytes of usable storage. Snowcone is designed for data migration needs up to 8 TB per device in environments where the space is constrained or where AWS Snowball devices will not fit.

Its small form factor makes it a perfect fit for small spaces where you need portability or where network connectivity is unreliable. You can use Snowcone in backpacks or for IoT, vehicular, or drone use cases. Like AWS Snowball, Snowcone has multiple layers of security and encryption. You can use either of these services to run edge computing workloads, or to collect, process, and transfer data to AWS.

Feature comparison in members of Snow Family

AWS OpsHub

AWS OpsHub is a graphical user interface you can use to manage your AWS Snowball devices. Thus it enables you to rapidly deploy edge computing workloads and simplify data migration to the cloud. With just a few clicks in AWS OpsHub, you have the full functionality of the Snowball devices at your fingertips; you can unlock and configure devices, drag-and-drop data to devices, launch applications, and monitor device metrics.

Previously, customers operated Snowball devices by either entering commands into a command-line interface or by using REST APIs. Now with AWS OpsHub, you have an easier way to deploy and manage even large fleets of Snowball devices, all while operating without an internet connection.

AWS OpsHub takes all the existing operations available in the Snowball API and presents them as a simple graphical user interface. This interface helps you quickly and easily migrate data to the AWS Cloud and deploy edge computing applications on Snow Family Devices.

S3 Storage Classes Overview

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