How to get started with Amazon S3 cloud storage

In the tech world,anytime you see the letter ‘S’ followed by a number normally attracts your attention to Samsung’s world leading handset line. Well , there is an lesser known S3 in the world . Amazon S3 is one of the many services provided by the world’s largest cloud computing service provider Amazon Web Services. It is the short form simple storage service hence the S3. It is a quite user friendly, reliable and affordable cloud storage service. With its easy‐to‐use web interface you can store almost any amount of data from any device around the world.

Getting your hands on Amazon S3

To access the S3 service first step is to signup for an AWS account with your email address on aws website. After the initial account setup, once you have access to the AWS console, you can click on S3 icon to go to the s3 dashboard.

Aws console

AWS console

First thing to know that files are stored in “bucket” , it can be thought as something like ‘folder’ in windows . Any file that an user uploads is an object in the “bucket”. When you click on ‘create bucket’ it asks for the name you want to give to the bucket. The bucket name shares globally unique namespace like a domain name, which means there can not be another bucket with same name in the total aws service.(not only in your account). So it might take a few try get a unique one for your choice.

Pricing of Amazon S3 cloud Storage:

We all know, Not all data are same in a enterprise. Some are critical which we can not afford to loose some are less critical which can be regenerated in case we loose them. Some data we need with immediate access while for some data we can wait few hours to get our hand on. So it doesn’t make sense to charge same price to store all kinds of data. Thats why amazon has 4 tier storage option.

Standard : This is for high durability, availability, and performance object storage for frequently accessed data, which is used for mission critical data. Amazon promises a 99.999999999% durability with 99.99% availability for this storage class.

Reduced Redundancy Storage : This is an storage option which comes with a lower reliability than standard storage, hence less costly than standard. This is used for non ‐critical data which we can afford to lose because they could be easily reproduced.

Standard – Infrequent Access : This offers same durability and availability but less costly than the standard, although there is a retrieval cost when you access the data. This is for data which are important but not accessed very frequently, but when needed can be accessed immediately. Ideal for storing backups and in case of disaster recovery.

Glacier: This is secure, durable, and extremely low‐cost storage service .It is mainly used for archiving purposes. To access the data in glacier there is a waiting time of several hours.

Pricing for these four options as of June 2016 stands as follows for EU region. (prices slightly differ depending on the region).These prices are charged per GB.

Per Month Uses Standard  Standard Infrequent Access Reduced Redundancy Storage Glacier
First 1 TB $0.0324 $0.018  $0.0260 $0.0120
Next 49 TB $0.0319 $0.018  $0.0255 $0.0120
Next 450 TB $0.0314 $0.018  $0.0251 $0.0120
Over 5000 TB $0.0297 $0.018 $0.0238 $0.0120



Versioning gives the customer the capability to retain, retrieve, and restore every version of every object stored in a S3 bucket. One important note about versioning is that if you activate it once, you can never deactivate it, although you can suspend it for a period of time. Only way you can totally get rid of it is if you delete this bucket and move all the files to a different bucket. With the versioning it really easy to restore a deleted file in a bucket. Actually when a user deletes a file, S3 just creates another version of it with a “delete marker” attached to it. For example , suppose i have a file named some_text in my bucket. If i delete it , it will not be shown in my default object list. But if i check the list showing all versions , i will see there are two versions of it including one with the “delete marker”. Now, to restore the deleted file all i have to do is delete the file with “delete marker”. Then it will show up again in my default object list.

There is a downside of enabling versioning. Since it stores all the versions of a file with exact size, it occupies more space which will drive up the cost. For instance , let’s say a media agency using S3 to store their video files . One employee has uploaded a 2gb video file. Later if he edited that file and stored it , it will take another 2 gb space. After 5 edits later (which is a prey common scenario), he ended up occupying roughly 10 gb space.

I hope you would be able get an overview of Amazon’s popular storage service S3 from this post. The best way to learn about it is to have a go yourself. So try it and feel free to give any feedback in the comment option below. I look forward to reading your comment.

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