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Understanding the different Amazon S3 Storage Classes

Amazon s3

What are Amazon S3 Storage Classes?

Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) provides a strategic way to organize objects in different layers, where each layer has its particularities that we will detail later.

The storage classes are characterized by offering different levels of durability, availability, performance and costs. For this, you must understand well which strategy to use to keep the objects aiming at the best cost benefit. Next, we'll detail each class, describing its advantages and disadvantages.

S3 Standard

The S3 Standard storage class is the default and most widely used option for Amazon S3. It is designed to provide high durability, availability, and performance for frequently accessed objects.


S3 Standard is the most common class used in storing and accessing objects more frequently, as it is the layer that offers low latency and this allows it to be used for different use cases where dynamic access to objects is essential.

Another advantage is the durability of 99.999999999%, which means that the chances of objects being corrupted or even lost is very low. As for availability, this class provides a SLA of 99.99%, which means that the objects have high availability for access.


S3 Standard has some disadvantages compared to other classes. One of them is the high cost of storage for rarely accessed objects. That's why it's important to define lifecycle policies to deal with infrequently accessed objects. In this case, there is the S3 Standard-Infrequent Access class, which

would be most appropriate for this context. We will talk about this class shortly.

Another disadvantage is related to accessing newly created objects. Even though this class has low latency as one of its main characteristics. Newly created objects may not be immediately available in all regions, and it may take time for objects to become available for some regions, causing high latency


S3 Intelligent-Tiering

The S3 Intelligent-Tiering storage class provides a mechanism where you can automatically move objects based on usage pattern to more suitable tiers, looking for lower storage costs.


The concept itself says it all about one of the advantages of using S3 Intelligent-Tiering. This class is capable of managing objects based on the usage pattern. So, for those objects that are rarely accessed, the class itself moves to more suitable classes aiming at lower storage costs.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering automatically monitors and moves objects to the most suitable layers according to the usage pattern, generally this integration works for 3 types of layers. An optimized layer for frequently accessed objects, an optimized layer for rarely accessed objects, which according to AWS generates savings of up to 40%. And a last layer targeted at objects that are rarely accessed, generating storage savings of around 68%.

Another point of advantage is that there's no charge for data access using S3-Intelligent-Tiering. Only charges for storage and transfer.


Possible increase in latency for objects accessed for the first time. The reason is that when moving objects to more suitable layers, there's the possibility of increasing latency for these objects that are rarely accessed.


S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA)

Suitable class for storing objects with less frequent accesses but that need to be available for quick accesses, keeping a low latency. It is a typical class for storing long-term data.


The storage cost is lower compared to the S3 Standard class, maintaining the same durability characteristics. Regarding data availability, it has the same characteristics as the S3 Intelligent-Tiering class, with 99.9% SLA. Also, it allows fast access to data by offering a high throughput rate.

The minimum storage fee is charged monthly, unlike classes such as S3-Standard and S3-Intelligent Tiering.


Access data is charged per gigabyte accessed. So, depending on the frequency of access and volume accessed, it would be better to keep the data in a layer like S3 Standard. Everything will depend on your strategy.


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

Ideal storage class for objects that are accessed infrequently and will only be available in one zone (Availability Zone). AWS itself suggests this class for secondary data backup copies.


The cost is lower compared to other storage classes, as the data will be stored in only one zone, making a low cost operation.


Unlike other storage classes, where object storage is available in at least 3 availability zones (AZ). The S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access makes data available in only 1 zone, meaning that there is no redundancy. So there's a possibility of data loss if that zone fails.


S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval

S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval is part of the Glacier family, which features low-cost storage for accessed objects. It's an ideal storage class for archiving data that needs immediate access.


Low storage costs. It has the same availability compared to S3 Intelligent-Tiering and S3 Standard-IA classes. Provides redundancy, which means that the data is replicated to at least 3 Availability Zones (AZ).


Although it offers immediate data recovery while maintaining the same throughput as classes like S3 Standard and S3 Standard-IA, the cost becomes high when it's necessary to recover this data with a high frequency in a short period.


S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval

S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval is the old storage class called just S3 Glacier, it has a characteristic to store objects with long life duration, like any other class of the Glacier family. This class is ideal for objects that are accessed 1 to 2 times a year and that require recovery asynchronously, without immediate access.


This class is ideal for keeping objects that don't require immediate recovery, making it a cost advantage. In this case, data as a backup, in which recovery is very rare, this class does not offer recovery costs due to the idea that the frequency of accessing this data is very close to zero.


Retrieval time can be slow for some scenarios. As a feature of its own class, S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval may fall short when immediate access to data is required.


S3 Glacier Deep Archive

Lowest cost storage class among the Glacier family classes. Ideal for storing data that can be accessed 1 to 2 times a year. AWS suggests using this class for scenarios where we have to keep data between 8 to 10 years in order to comply with regulations related to compliance or any other type of rules related to data retention for long periods.


The lowest cost among classes in the same segment and with 99.99% availability. Available class in at least 3 Availability Zones (AZ) and ideal for data that requires long retention periods.


Long recovery time. So, if you need a quick data retrieval, maybe this SLA may not meet expectations. Because it has a characteristic in which the data must be rarely accessed and the cost of recovery can be higher, depending on the frequency of accesses.

Well that’s it, I hope you enjoyed it!


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