S3 Storage Classes

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Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a premier object storage solution offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Designed for scalability and performance, S3 enables users to store vast amounts of data, such as photos, videos, and backups, in buckets. Each uploaded data item receives a unique ID within these buckets. Notably, S3 supports a maximum file size of 5 terabytes. The service's architecture distinguishes it from conventional file storage systems. AWS restricts users to 100 buckets per account by default, but requests for additional buckets are accommodated upon service limit adjustments. Overall, S3 stands out for its robustness, security, and suitability for online backups and data archiving on AWS.

Types of S3 Storage Classes

Once we create a bucket, we can upload and download objects (files) in the bucket. Depending upon the usage of objects, AWS S3 offers 7 storage classes to cover various use cases.

  1. Amazon S3 Standard
  2. Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering
  3. Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access
  4. Amazon S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access
  5. Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval
  6. Amazon S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval
  7. Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive

Amazon S3 Standard

In the Standard Storage class, objects are stored across multiple availability zones within a region.

This S3 storage class is suitable for frequently accessed data.

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZonePrice per month
Standard99.999999999%99.99%≥3$0.025 per GB for First 50TB/month

Use case: Data-intensive web/mobile application.

Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering

Using the machine learning algorithm, S3 Intelligent-Tiering automatically moves the object across storage classes based on the accessed pattern change.

Using S3 Intelligent-Tiering, we can save S3 storage costs without performance impact or operation overload.

S3 Intelligent Tiering does not have any retrieval fees. We have to pay for the monitoring and automation fees for the objects.

E.g: $0.01 per 1000 Object

S3 Intelligent-Tiering uses the below 3 tiers to perform the object transition from one storage class to another.

Frequent Access tier

If the object is uploaded or accessed frequently, then the object will be stored in the frequent access tier.

EG: standard S3 storage class.

Infrequent Access Tier

If the object is not accessed for 30 consecutive days, then it will move into the infrequent access tier.

Eg: Standard IA S3 storage class

The Archive Access tier

If the object is not accessed for 90 consecutive days, it will move into the archive tier.

E.g. Glacier Instant Retrieval storage class

The Deep Archive Access tier

If the object is not accessed for 180 consecutive days, it will move into the archive tier.

Eg: S3 Glacier Deep Archive

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZonePrice per month
Intelligent -tiering99.999999999%99.9%≥30.0045perGBand0.0045 per GB and 0.002 for archive and deep archive tier

Use cases: Data with unknown, changing, or unpredictable access patterns

Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access

IA stands for infrequent access. This storage class is suitable for long-lived and infrequently accessed data. The actual cost is less when compared to the standard storage class due to the nature of infrequent access. Amazon S3 charges a retrieval fee per GB.

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZonePrice per month
Standard IA99.999999999%99.9%≥3$0.0138 per GB

Use case: Backup and restore.

Amazon S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access

IA stands for "infrequent access." In this storage class, objects will be stored in a single availability zone within a region.

This S3 storage class is suitable for recreatable and infrequently accessed data.

The actual cost is less when compared to the standard and standard IA storage classes due to the nature of infrequent access.

Amazon S3 charges a retrieval fee per GB.

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZonePrice per month
One Zone IA99.999999999%99.5%1$0.011 per GB

Consideration for Glacier storage class

  • All glacier storage classes are designed for low-cost data archiving.
  • Glacier Flexible Retrieval and S3 Glacier Deep Archive objects are not available for real-time access.
  • Before accessing the objects, we should restore them from S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval and S3 Glacier Deep Archive objects.

Amazon S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval

This S3 storage class is suitable for storing or archiving data that is rarely accessed. This class offers instant retrieval whenever the object is required.

Glacier instant retrieval offers low storage costs compared to standard and standard IA storage classes. In this storage class, the object retrieval cost is higher than in S3 Standard IA and IA.

The minimum data storage period will be 90 days.

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZonePrice per month
Glacier Instant Retrieval99.999999999%99.9%≥3$0.025 per GB for First 50TB/month

Amazon S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval

This S3 storage class is suitable for storing or archiving data that might need to be retrieved in minutes.

Types of Retrieval

  • Expedited = 1 to 5 minutes.
  • Bulk = 5 hours to 12 hours

Glacier instant retrieval offers low storage costs compared to standard and standard IA storage classes.

In this storage class, the object retrieval cost is higher than in S3 Standard IA and IA.

The minimum data storage period will be 90 days.

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZonePrice per month
Glacier Flexible Retrieval99.999999999%99.99%≥3per GB retreval fees apply

Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive

This S3 storage class is suitable for archiving rarely accessed data that might need to be retrieved in hours.

S3 Glacier Deep Archive is AWS's most affordable storage option.

Storage costs for S3 Glacier Deep Archive are less expensive when compared to the S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval storage class.

  • Standard: 12 hours
  • Bulk: 48 hours

The minimum data storage period will be 180 days.

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZonePrice per month
Glacier Deep Archive99.999999999%99.99%≥3per GB retreival fee apply

Performance Across the Storage Classes

All the objects in the S3 storage class provide milliseconds latency with higher performance and resiliency.

Storage classDurabilityAvailibilityAvailability ZoneMinimum storage durationMinimum billable object size
S3 Standard99.999999999%99.99%≥3NoneNone
S3 Standard IA99.999999999%99.9%≥330 days128 KB
S3 Intelligent-tiering99.999999999%99.9%≥3NoneNone
One zone IA99.999999999%99.5%130 Days128 KB
Glacier Instant retrieval99.999999999%99.9%≥390 Days128KB
Glacier flexbible retrieval99.999999999%99.99%≥390 Days40 KB
Glacier Deep Archive99.999999999%99.99%≥3180 Days40KB

Conclusion

  • Amazon S3 is the best object storage service available in the cloud industry.

  • Customers can choose the storage class as per their application and business needs.

  • In addition to that, AWS also provides the S3 outpost as one storage class, which is available only for AWS Outpost customers.

  • Amazon S3 also provides native support for integrated AWS services such as Glue, Lambda, and EC2.