Uses of AWS S3 Cloud Storage

With more than 32 percent of the world’s public cloud share, it’s no surprise that Amazon Web Services (AWS) serves more than 190 countries with scalable, reliable, and low-cost cloud infrastructure. One of its most powerful and commonly used storage services is Amazon S3. So, what is AWS S3? AWS S3 (“Simple Storage Service”) enables users to store and retrieve any amount of data at any time or place, giving developers access to highly scalable, reliable, fast, and inexpensive data storage. Designed for 99.999999999 percent durability, AWS S3 also provides easy management features to organize data for websites, mobile applications, backup and restore, and many other applications.


What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a web service where your data can be stored, accessed, and quickly backed up by users on the internet. It is more reliable, scalable, and secure than traditional on-premises storage systems.

Cloud storage is offered in two models:

  1. Pay only for what you use
  2. Pay on a monthly basis

Now, let’s have a look at the different types of storage services offered by AWS.

AWS S3 Benefits

Some of the benefits of AWS S3 are:

  • Durability:  S3 provides 99.999999999 percent durability.
  • Low cost: S3 lets you store data in a range of “storage classes.” These classes are based on the frequency and immediacy you require in accessing files.
  • Scalability: S3 charges you only for what resources you actually use, and there are no hidden fees or overage charges. You can scale your storage resources to easily meet your organization’s ever-changing demands.
  • Availability: S3 offers 99.99 percent availability of objects
  • Security: S3 offers an impressive range of access management tools and encryption features that provide top-notch security.
  • Flexibility: S3 is ideal for a wide range of uses like data storage, data backup, software delivery, data archiving, disaster recovery, website hosting, mobile applications, IoT devices, and much more.
  • Simple data transfer: You don’t have to be an IT genius to execute data transfers on S3. The service revolves around simplicity and ease of use.

These are compelling reasons to sign up for S3. Now, let’s move on and have a look at some of the major components of the AWS S3 storage service.

AWS Buckets and Objects

An object consists of data, key (assigned name), and metadata. A bucket is used to store objects. When data is added to a bucket, Amazon S3 creates a unique version ID and allocates it to the object.

How Does Amazon S3 work?

Like we saw in the example above, first off, a user creates a bucket. When this bucket is created, the user will specify the region in which the bucket is deployed. Later, when files are uploaded to the bucket, the user will determine the type of S3 storage class to be used for those specific objects. After this, users can define features to the bucket, such as bucket policy, lifecycle policies, versioning control, etc.

What is AWS S3: Amazon S3 Storage Classes

Let’s have a look at the different storage classes using the example of a school:

  • Amazon S3 Standard for frequent data access: Suitable for a use case where the latency should below. Example: Frequently accessed data will be the data of students’ attendance, which should be retrieved quickly.
  • Amazon S3 Standard for infrequent data access: Can be used where the data is long-lived and less frequently accessed. Example: Students’ academic records will not be needed daily, but if they have any requirement, their details should be retrieved quickly.
  • Amazon Glacier: Can be used where the data has to be archived, and high performance is not required. Example: Ex-student’s old record (like admission fee) will not be needed daily, and even if it is necessary, low latency is not required.
  • One Zone-IA Storage Class: It can be used where the data is infrequently accessed and stored in a single region. Example: Student’s report card is not used daily and stored in a single availability region (i.e., school).
  • Amazon S3 Standard Reduced Redundancy storage: Suitable for a use case where the data is non-critical and reproduced quickly. Example: Books in the library are non-critical data and can be replaced if lost.

AWS S3 Features

In lifecycle management, Amazon S3 applies a set of rules that define the action to a group of objects. You can manage and store objects in a cost-effective manner. There are two types of actions:

1. Transition Action

With this action, you can choose to move objects to another storage class. With this, you can configure S3 to move your data between various storage classes on a defined schedule. Assume you’ve got some data stored in the S3 standard class. If this data is not used frequently for 30 days, it would be moved to the S3 infrequent access class. And after 60 days, it is moved to Glacier. This helps you to migrate your data to lower-cost storage as it ages automatically.

2. Expiration Actions

Here, S3 removes all objects within the bucket when a specified date or time period in the object’s lifetime is reached.

Why Should I Consider Using Amazon S3?

Now that we’ve answered the question “What is AWS S3?” let’s dig into why you should consider using it. There are two big reasons why you should use Amazon S3, and they’re points we’ve covered before but bear calling further attention to:

  • S3 offers 99.999999999% (11 9s) data durability. That means, if you stored 10,000,000 objects in Amazon S3, you would only lose a single object every 10,000 years. That is durable!
  • S3 will automatically create and store copies of every uploaded object across many systems. This protects your data against errors, failures, and threats while guaranteeing you complete data availability when you need it.

Also, it doesn’t hurt that Amazon Web Services is the most popular cloud provider available today.


S3 bucket features

AWS offers several features for Amazon S3 buckets. An IT professional can enable versioning for S3 buckets to preserve every version of an object when an operation is performed on it, such as a copy or delete operation. This helps an IT team prevent accidental deletion of an object. Likewise, upon bucket creation, a user can set up server access logs, object-level API logs, tags and encryption.

Also, S3 Transfer Acceleration helps execute fast, secure transfers from a client to an S3 bucket via AWS edge locations.

S3 bucket limits, prices

There is no limit to the amount of objects an IT professional can store in a bucket, though buckets cannot exist inside of other buckets.

S3 performance remains the same regardless of how many buckets an individual creates. Each AWS account can create 100 buckets, though more are available by requesting a service limit increase. The AWS account that creates a bucket owns it, and ownership is not transferable. An S3 customer can delete a bucket, but another AWS user can claim that globally unique name.

AWS charges customers for storing objects in a bucket and for transferring objects in and out of buckets. Bucket pricing varies by region.

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