Amazon S3 – A Storage Solution That Scales

Inside this report we will cover why Amazon S3 is an important tool for all business owners, big or small. We explain what S3 is and various options that are available to you. It’s very simple to use and Amazon offers no charges for the first year if you sign up for a new account. This is a great way to take them for a test drive and to see how easy it is, especially for uploading and delivering your files to customers.

Amazon’s Web Services are gaining advocates with each passing week as more and more big names in multiple modern industries choose to adopt their use. Big name companies like Netflix, Airbnb, Nokia, Expedia, Adobe, Pinterest and others use Amazon S3 services.

There are a wide number of services on offer from Amazon at the moment – all of which can drastically improve the daily digital operations of even the largest of companies. However, their utility in the eyes of business owners is not limited to big cap corporations.

Small businesses, individual entrepreneurs and even hobbyists will find functionality that appeals to them in the bundle of web apps that Amazon has put together for public consumption. In many cases, basic use of their services can even be enjoyed for free.

Amazon’s S3 Solution

This service, in particular, is a remarkable option to consider implementing in your own operations. It provides users with a powerful storage utility that can handle any amount of data they throw its way without maxing out. Major names such as Netflix utilise Amazon S3 to effectively and efficiently handle the storage of incredible amounts of varied data.

Smaller scale users will find that the storage capacity, fidelity and speed they can have at their disposal through the use of this utility offer significantly more power than they would likely need, yet will accommodate all of their immediate usage requirements without exorbitant additional prices coming into play if and when their businesses begin to grow.

Amazon put together the S3 utility as a solution to a growing problem that a number of companies have begun to experience and seek fixes for – the problem of questionable (and often unforeseeable) data storage necessities. Traditionally, data storage was managed in a pretty straightforward fashion.

An initial IT team and server/storage setup would be put in place in accordance with the needs and policies of the company in question. This setup and team would then gradually evolve to fit the rising digital requirements of the growing company – offering the proper amount of storage and processing power for the business at that moment in time.

This method of data storage management was quite sufficient for its intended purpose a few years ago, for sure. However, the emergence of the cloud and multiple dynamic access points for users to take advantage of has thrown the entire traditional data system for a loop.

With modern data needs on the rise from all angles, companies are having a harder time keeping up with technological demands and are turning to third party services to handle all of the leg work involved in the management of their data, databases and delivery.

Amazon’s “S3” stands for “Simple Storage Solution” and it fits this title excellently. A number of useful features and intuitive options converge in this offering to guarantee exceptional data storage performance on Amazon’s E2 cloud system as well as simple means for retrieving data when and how your organisation deems necessary.

S3 is a direct answer to the current debacle that is modern data management, with a definite angle of simplicity and cost-effectiveness. In this article, we will dive into the various intricacies of Amazon S3’s inner-workings and determine precisely how its various features make it so useful to companies of all sizes.

Amazon S3 Service Variations

Amazon’s S3 solution comes outfitted with plenty of useful features depending on the variation of the service that you choose to implement in your company’s operations.

The variations are based on the frequency with which you are planning on accessing certain types of data and files on a regular basis. Your stored files can be switched from one space to another depending on the level of functionality that you require for your organisation’s use.

Reliability is a given regardless of the service type that you decide on for your data, but each of the three options on offer have their own unique advantages depending on the situation.

Amazon S3’s standard option is, of course, ideal for general data usage requirements as it offers ideal throughput and low latency performance for any type of file you might choose to store.

However, there are specific situations in which you can cut costs significantly by switching files over to either the infrequent access space or the glacier data storage system. These two options are slower, but they have their own perks to consider.

Amazon S3 Standard

With the standard configuration of Amazon’s S3 offering, you can expect quick access to all of your files 99.9 percent of the time. S3 is key for developmental flexibility and control over data, regardless of the exact manner in which said data will be used. Even the types of files you need to store are irrelevant to S3, as it is an object-based service that facilitates the archival of multiple file formats with differing sizes and characteristics.

Amazon S3’s standard option delivers all features for very affordable costs and it imposes no limitations on what you can do with the data that you store. Amazon asserts this option’s usefulness for anything, from big data analytics to mobile gaming applications, etc.

With S3’s standard storage option, users can make use of the most data intensive of web applications and processes as needed without needing to commit to any sustained price augmentations.

To further reduce price points, users can enable the automatic management of object lifecycles from within the same platform – relegating unused objects to infrequent access or glacier space as needed. On top of all of this, safety is ensured through the use of end to end data encryption to keep out unwanted access indefinitely.

Amazon S3 Standard

Infrequent Access or “Amazon S3 IA”–The infrequent access variation that Amazon has on offer is ideal for any files that you do not need to use as often as the rest of the data that you keep on S3 standard. Although the price for storage drops off a bit, the potential speed with which your data can be recalled and accessed is actually exactly the same.

This makes for an excellent value service to employ with any files you feel will be accessed a bit less than standard service typically applies to. The files you store in infrequent access space can also be moved back to standard space quite quickly as they continue to share the same storage “buckets” they did before they were moved to infrequent access space.

Infrequent access is ideal for any files that you are planning on keeping in long-term storage, but might not need to access on a daily basis. Users can expect to enjoy storage pricing that is more than halved from the standard space with this option, but there is also a per gigabyte retrieval fee to consider (although this too is quite low).

Again, files and data can be interchanged between the standard and infrequent spaces without any difficulty – allowing for dynamic price cutting and value maximisation for the end users.

Amazon Glacier

Amazon’s glacier option is perfect for establishing a reasonable storage point for older, very infrequently accessed data that your company can make use of to properly manage its important long-term files.The glacier option comes with a pretty strong drop off in terms of overall speed and efficiency, but it is still a very safe option to employ for the sake of keeping your older, less vital data in place.

Retrieval is far slower than S3 standard and S3 IE with Amazon’s glacier space – necessitating 3 to 5 hours on average for data retrieval to be completed from the moment in which you specify the data you would like to retrieve. However, this may, in fact, be of little consequence depending on the specific application you have in mind.

The driving point for storing files in Amazon’s glacier service is to cut costs significantly on storage of data that would otherwise go untouched on a premium system for long periods of time, but, regardless, cannot be deleted as it is actually of potential importance to the users.

Keeping such files on a standard server can become costly and is very rarely of much use, until one of the files is actually needed. Glacier provides a very cost-effective solution to this problem with a price that is nearly half that of the infrequent access space.

Amazon S3 Uses

You can use Amazon S3 for so many things in your business from backup to letting your customers download secure files and more. Plus, the hosting is second to none.


For the purpose of backing up important files, Amazon S3 is, of course, absolutely ideal. With so many price cutting optimisations and scalable capacities to employ as needed S3 makes for an excellent backup location.

The web module that S3 provides you with for managing your uploads and downloads to the system is simplistic in its approach and expedient in its results as well.All typical backup functions are accounted for and accessible to users of S3 so that they can properly backup their files as needed.

Backups to S3 can even be automated to free up time and labor costs for IT departments. The backups that are made can be stored repeatedly by versions, too – giving you the excellent security of having multiple file versions on hand in the event of a data disaster.


Amazon S3 can easily be used to assist with content distribution efforts if needed – facilitating the delivery of multiple files across myriad networks in disparate locations all at once. Distribution of data is a major aspect of most modern business efforts that is becoming harder and harder to manage properly as end user requirements diversify, and data content compounds on server networks.

S3 provides excellent fidelity and throughput on its services, allowing for optimum delivery speeds on recalled data despite changing locations and access points.


Hosting a website is one of the simplest applications that you can choose to use a service like S3 for and it works extremely well for this purpose – allowing you to host your site for a very low price while still being able to scale its capabilities if and when it becomes a necessity.

Odd spikes in your traffic are easily factored in on the fly by Amazon S3’s dynamic provisioning so that you can upscale or downscale as is needed without making any long term service commitments to do so.

Amazon S3 Service Combinations

Simple, manageable storage such as that which is offered through Amazon S3 can take your company’s digital operations to the next level. However, joining the utility offered by S3 with other specialised Amazon services can yield some pretty impressive results.

Services like EC2 can afford your company the kind of performance options that were previously considered entirely exclusive to large cap corporations. Also, as your own company grows, you can scale all of the web services you are making use of to better fit your new requirements without major hassles, data migrations or data losses.

By carefully choosing integrations for your organisation’s systems to make use of, you can achieve optimum effectiveness while simultaneously cutting down on unnecessary costs that would otherwise occur if you were to combine services from separate providers.

Certain web service combinations, of course, can work exceptionally well for your intended purpose, though, while others might not achieve precisely what you are hoping to. Here, we have two of the best combinations for you to employ in your own system designs. These combinations have already been well-thought out, assessed and encouraged by the Amazon web services team, so you can rest assured that they will work as you need them to.

Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2

S3 and EC2 are to services that were designed specifically to function well in tandem and, together, they create an optimised cloud environment for computing and storing data at professional levels of fidelity and speed. EC2 is Amazon’s cloud computing service.

It exists for the sole purpose of providing users with valuable virtual servers for whatever digital needs they may require. Multiple compute instances (or individual virtual servers) can be employed from a single web console and can be removed whenever they are not needed. With EC2, you pay only for the computational resources you actually use and can scale upwards or downwards without any real hassle.

By combining S3 and EC2, you can create a highly effective and fully scalable virtual system to use as needed. EC2 handles server computing processes while S3 keeps all of your data safely stored and accessible by simple, expedient means.

This combination of services can be used for all sorts of web applications and purposes such as website hosting, dynamic data archival and custom content delivery platforms. S3’s integrated automatic data management options that emphasise performance for file that are used more often combines perfectly with the powerful computing capabilities of Amazon’s EC2 virtual server systems.

Amazon S3 and AWS Identity and Access Management or “AWS IAM” – With data storage come the important question of data access. In particular, identities and access points ought to be managed properly in order to ensure maximum safety of company resources and vital information. This is precisely where a service such as AWS identity and access management can integrate so well with a storage solution like S3.

AWS IAM provides company owners and team leaders with the tools that they need to properly manage all aspects of user identities and user access options in regards to the system in question.With AWS IAM, all users, groups, permissions, roles, etc. can be properly managed when it comes to accessing data from the S3 service that your organisation has employed.

This makes for a far more secure and customizable experience overall – keeping out visitors/users with insufficient clearance and allowing those with enough assigned capabilities to easily access whatever data they need to get to.

Amazon S3 Notable Benefits

There are numerous benefits to using Amazon S3 in your small business. There are cost savings, plus you can scale up and down as needed easily. This makes it possible for your small business to look like a big business.

Durability and Cost

Amazon S3 was initially built to perform under the strenuous conditions required of it by the massive Amazon retail site. It is this same level of functionality that gives Amazon S3 users the type of storage service they have consistently lauded and puts even small-scale users on the same level, in terms of potential storage capacity and efficiency, as any major company.

Amazon promise a strong 99.9 percent uptime delivery from their standard and infrequent access data storage service and their established service level agreement for the service backs this up with reclaimable credit for unscheduled or otherwise unnecessary downtime.

In terms of overall pricing for the service, users can expect very low fees for all standard use. However, if used properly, by determining the relative importance of their data, users can specify whether or not to include it in either the afore-mentioned “infrequent access” version of the storage system or the extremely economical “glacier” space. Both the “infrequent access” space and the “glacier” space have significantly lower costs than the standard data location does, but the speed of recall lessens quite a bit with the glacier option.

Security and Scalability

Security is always an issue for companies as they interact with digital media and set up systems for end users to enjoy or utilise in some fashion. Large and small operations alike require proper security for data to remain unperturbed and company integrity within the scope of the digital realm to be upheld.

The overall security of your company’ data as it is being stored, recalled or accessed in any way can make or break your reputation in the eyes of your potential clients, so this is definitely not an aspect of business operations that you should gloss over. Amazon S3 covers its users on this front with proper end-to-end encryption technology. This type of functionality can be managed easily to accommodate your specific needs, too.

As far as scalability goes, S3 is as flexible and dynamic of a service of its type as they come. There are few competitors in this area that can claim to offer similar pricing options for an entirely scalable storage utility. Petabytes of data can be managed on the S3 platform as easily as can megabytes – giving growing organisations a valid option to make use of that will not need an expensive upgrade in the near future.

Even as your business accumulates data, costs can be cut through the use of glacier and infrequent access storage space. This gives you the freedom to scale upwards or downwards as needed without a hassle and with minimal price bumping madness.

Network Acceleration

Network acceleration is an awesome aspect of Amazon’s S3 service that you can access now as well. This feature, in particular, assists in the transferal of data over long distances by improving the routing choices that the system makes as it sends said data on its way. With network acceleration enabled, you can enjoy the benefits of an optimised data delivery system without having to invest in any costly acceleration hardware or software on your end.

There is an additional cost for using this feature, but this is well managed by Amazon Web Services staff to mitigate any unnecessary expenditure on your part. If the network acceleration option will not actually allow for a strong, calculable increase in speed, then you are liable to not be charged at all for its use, and the staff at AWS may terminate its execution to ensure you do not wrongly expend your own resources on it.

Amazon’s web services are of exceptional value to users for any conceivable web application. S3 is a strong aspect of this overall utility and through its proper use; companies can drastically reduce their IT costs and improve their digital processes immensely.

Overall storage space is just one piece of the puzzle that is modern data management. With the inclusion of cloud technology, digital content delivery has seen a drastic leap in capabilities, but also in global user needs. More and more end users are expecting professional data access speeds and availability options to be made available to them online, regardless of the size of the company whose information they intend to access.

Amazon’s S3 service accommodates any practical amount of data to be made available to end users at the same speeds that industry leaders boast of. Data access has grown to become a driving force in the steady expansion and ongoing success of many major businesses.

Managing your data through the use of S3’s functionality means you will have the same level of service available to your customers and clients that they expect to enjoy. It also means that you will have the degree of functionality available to your IT department or staff members that is needed without having to break the bank to afford the necessary optimisations in server technology and maintenance processes.