Amazon unveils intelligent tiering for S3 storage

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Amazon unveils intelligent tiering for S3 storage

Amazon unveiled a new automated cloud storage tiering capability for handling files that have not been accessed for 30 days.

Termed S3 Intelligent-Tiering, it allows users to get the benefit of lower-cost long-term storage without having an in-depth understanding of the data's access patterns, wrote Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for Amazon Web Services in a blog post.

The new tiering capability was unveiled at the start of the AWS re:Invent conference being held this week in Las Vegas.

Until Monday, AWS offered four classes of service: Standard for frequently accessed data; Standard-IA for long-lived, infrequently accessed data; One Zone-IA for long-lived, infrequently accessed non-critical data; and Glacier for long-lived, infrequent accessed, archived critical data.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering is a new fifth class of service that automates movement of data between two access tiers, called frequent access and infrequent access, with the same low latency as the Standard storage class, Barr wrote.

If users want to use the S3 Intelligent-Tiering class, they can specify the class when adding new objects to S3. They can also use a Lifecycle Policy to transition other data to S3 Intelligent-Tiering, Barr wrote.

Once in S3 Intelligent-Tiering, storage of the objects in the frequent access tier is the same as if they were stored in the S3 Standard class, while objects in the infrequent access tier are stored at the same cost as if in the S3 Standard-IA (infrequent access) class.

Data in the S3 Intelligent-Tiering frequent access tier which is not accessed for 30 days is automatically moved to the infrequent access tier to take advantage of the lower cost, but is moved back to the frequent access tier if it is later accessed, Barr wrote.

"The bottom line: You save money even under changing access patterns, with no performance impact, no operational overhead, and no retrieval fees," he wrote.

Barr wrote that there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when deciding whether to use the S3 Intelligent-Tiering class. For data which customers are sure will be accessed infrequently, the Storage-IA class is better for cost reasons, while the S3 Intelligent-Tiering class is better for data which may see changes in access patterns.

Objects smaller than 128 KBs in size will never be transferred to the infrequent access tier, and objects that are kept in S3 for under 30 days will still be billed for a minimum of 30 days, he wrote.

Data stored in the Intelligent-Tiering class frequent access tier is billed the same rate as S3 Standard, while data on the infrequent access tier is billed the same as S3 Standard-IA.

"When you use Intelligent-Tiering, you pay a small monthly per-object fee for monitoring and automation; this means that the storage class becomes even more economical as object sizes grow. … S3 Intelligent-Tiering will automatically move data back to the frequent access tier based on access patterns but there is no retrieval charge," Barr wrote.

Solution providers who work with AWS said the new S3 Intelligent-Tiering service is a winner for customers and channel partners.


This article originally appeared at

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