The Ultimate Guide to What is amazon AWS S3

When it comes to storing data on the cloud, We often think about google drive, dropbox, and other cloud storage services available. Among these, AWS S3 is gaining popularity. The main reason behind this is S3’s unique features, consistency model & guarantees. If you have never come across these terms, We are going to discuss this in what is amazon aws s3 & its unique features in brief. S3’s unique features are beyond the storage services, which makes it unique & popular. Without further wait, let’s uncover What is amazon AWS S3.

What is amazon AWS S3?

Amazon AWS S3 is a simple storage service used to store data on the cloud in the form of objects. It is serverless storage which means you do not have to manage servers to store data. Data stored in aws s3 is accessible anywhere from the internet. The data is stored in the form of buckets & objects. It is a scalable, safe & secure storage service and data is stored at multiple availability zones (AZs).

AWS S3 follows a universal namespace, which means names should be unique for the AWS S3 bucket. If the name is already taken by someone, you cannot create the bucket with the same name in the same region. Because S3 creates a unique URL to access the object which should be unique.

AWS S3 allows object size to be anywhere between 0 to 5 TB per object. It means you can upload the objects but they should be a size of a maximum of 5 TB. S3 also provides unlimited storage, which means you can store unlimited objects. But, remember each object size should not be more than 5 TB to support unlimited storage.

Files are called Objects in the s3 & Buckets are called Folders. So you can imagine the File-Folder structure. The object data is stored in the form of key & value pair. Key refers to your object name & value refers to the actual data. AWS S3 list objects command will list the object keys. These object keys are object names (file names). If you haven’t set up the AWS CLI on MAC / Windows, You can refer to Step by step guide on How to Install AWS CLI. This will help you to connect to AWS infrastructure. You can perform the AWS S3 list objects command to list the objects in the S3 Bucket.

Addition to What is amazon AWS S3

We have now discovered the basics of What is amazon AWS S3 & some of its features. There are a few more addition in What is amazon AWS S3 which we will uncover in the following article, this includes,

  1. AWS S3 Versioning.
  2. AWS S3 Consistency model.
  3. AWS S3 S3 ACLs.
  4. AWS S3 Encryption.
  5. AWS S3 MFA Delete
  6. AWS S3 costs & S3 storage classes

1. What is amazon AWS S3 Versioning

One of the unique features of AWS S3 is AWS S3 Versioning. You can create multiple versions of your objects with a version. The most recent version will be your latest version of the object. Once you deleted the object having versioning enabled, you are most likely deleting the current version of the object. Your older version of the object still remains accessible. This feature will also work as an additional security layer if the object gets deleted accidentally.

S3 versioning also supports the S3 Lifecycle rule & MFA Delete. Once you enable the versioning, you cannot disable the versioning, the only option is to suspend the versioning. You can create AWS S3 Versioning during the bucket creation as shown in the below image. If you have already created the bucket then you can enable the aws s3 versioning by going into the bucket properties. You can also suspend the bucket versioning from bucket Properties -> Bucket Versioning.

AWS S3 Versioning

2. What is amazon AWS S3 Consistency model:

AWS S3 supports two types of constituency models,

A) Read After Write consistency
B) Eventual consistency

A) AWS S3 Read After Write Consistency

Read-after-write consistency applies to the PUT object. Whenever you are uploading an object for the first time, AWS S3 provides Read After Write Consistency. This means, you write the file (uploads) and you can immediately view the file.

B) AWS S3 Eventual consistency

AWS S3 Eventual consistency comes into the picture when you overwrite the object or DELETE the bucket or object. This is called a 1-sec delay. Let’s understand this with an example. If you have an s3 bucket that contains data and you deleted the bucket. You are now trying to recreate the bucket with the same name but S3 won’t allow you to recreate it immediately. Because S3 might take a lot of time or hours to empty the bucket depending on the size of the bucket. Once the bucket is empty, AWS S3 will then release the bucket name. This is known as AWS S3 eventual consistency.

3. What is amazon AWS S3 ACLs

ACLs are Access control lists that will control access to buckets & objects. Access control list allows you to control public & private access. You can block public access or even allow public access. If you want to generate the URL for the object & share it with the public. You have to remove Block the public access so that the object can become public. Otherwise even after sharing the URL it won’t be accessible. Under Ownership, you will find the Object Ownership option. While creating a bucket you can select ACLs enabled & disabled options. By default, it is disabled. If you have already created the bucket, You can go to the Permissions tab under which you can control ACLs.

AWS S3 S3 ACLs while creating a bucket

4. What is amazon AWS S3 Encryption

It is important to know how aws s3 encrypted data is securely stored. When the data is in transit, encryption provides a good layer of security (Data traveling from source to destination). S3 provides the feature of versioning, which will allow encryption of the data. Aws S3 encrypted data will be safe & secure even when it is in transit. AWS provides two types to manage encryption.

AWS S3 Encryption
AWS S3 Encryption

5. What is amazon AWS S3 MFA Delete

Personally, I like this feature of S3 a lot. MFA Delete is Multi-Factor Authentication for delete operation. MFA Delete provides a strong level of delete protection to the data you have stored in the S3 bucket. We are mostly using AWS CLI to connect to AWS infrastructure, This will allow us to list as well as delete the objects, and buckets in AWS S3. There are chances of getting the data deleted accidentally. Alternatively, You can accidentally delete the wrong bucket from your S3. To prevent such scenarios MFA deletes comes into the picture to save your data.

You have to set up another level of authentication which is known as multi-factor. Once it is enabled, To delete the MFA enable data, you have to go through another level of the authentication process, once entered the second level of the authentication password, then only you can delete the data. You must have now got surprised by What is amazon AWS S3. Stay connected as we will be further uncovering S3 storage classes, Lifecycle management, and many more.

6. What are amazon aws s3 costs & s3 storage classes

S3 provides different storage classes with different costing as per the class. The important thing to know before selecting the storage class is to get information about your data. Whether it requires infrequent access? Is it a backup of your local server data? Are you storing a backup over decades for Audit purposes? etc. Answering this question helps you choose the aws s3 costs for the data you are storing. Selecting the appropriate storage class helps you reduce the aws s3 costs for the data. You can read more about the aws s3 costs in the official AWS S3 documentation.

Standard class: This will provide you with the highest availability of data. This will cost you more than any with their class. The data is spread across at least 3 Availability zone. It means if one Availability zone is down, still your data is accessible. You should use this storage class when you have to retrieve the data with one click & you are storing important data.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering: There are scenarios where you can’t choose which class will be the best to store the data. S3 intelligent Tiering will choose this for you and can move the data from one storage class to another. It will decide based on how frequently you are accessing the data & the age of the data, there are more scenarios as well to help choose the class which you can explore in detail in AWS S3 documentation

There are other classes that S3 provides for storing data which include, Standard Infrequent access, One Zone Infrequent access, and AWS S3 glacier deep archival. Archival is good to store data over decades which does not require rapid access. For example, the AWS S3 glacier class can be used to store data which requires for audit purposes after a long time.

The below image is captured from AWS official docs, these details might have changed when you are referring to this article, please refer to the original documentation for the performance of s3 storage classes.

s3 storage class & performance
s3 storage class & performance

In aws s3 costs, Glacier is much cheaper than the standard storage class. AWS S3 now introduces the AWS S3 glacier instant retrieval class, AWS S3 glacier flexible retrieval class, and AWS S3 glacier deep Archive class. If you have a large chunk of data to store on s3 & wanted to save aws s3 storage costs, you can select AWS S3 glacier as an option. In this section, we have discussed What is amazon AWS S3 storage classes.

You are now familiar with What is amazon AWS S3 & its unique features. I hope you have enjoyed this article. We are sending a few tips & tricks on such topics exclusively via email, to follow such updates, please subscribe to our newsletter.

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