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Cutting Storage Costs with Intelligent Tiering for S3

Hey everyone, Eric Ethridge from Mission here. Today I’d like to talk to you about AWS S3 costs and one of the features that AWS has provided to help you automate a little bit of storage savings without a lifecycle plan in place. So without further ado let’s dive into the exciting ocean of S3 savings possibilities. 

To make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to AWS S3 storage (in the context I’ll be talking about it). S3 is object-based storage (more about what that means, here), which offers a range of storage classes.  When I’m talking about an ‘object’, I mean a file (be it an image, a text note, a zip archive, etc). 

S3 Intelligent Tiering was released by AWS in late 2018, and is a great way to save money on objects that have no set usage pattern. It provides savings by dividing objects into two storage classes: infrequently accessed, and frequently accessed. When AWS S3 monitoring detects an object in the Intelligent Tiering class isn’t accessed for 30 days it automatically (and invisibly) moves that object into an infrequent access tier. If that object is requested in the future, it is brought back into frequently-accessed storage and monitored for usage (and the cycle starts again). S3 Intelligent Tiering maintains 99.9% availability and 99.999999999% durability, and maintains the same speedy throughput and low latency users associated with S3-Standard.

The math behind the savings is straightforward, having two parts. The monitoring fee is associated with monitoring objects to be placed in S3 Intelligent Tiering, the second cost is the storage of objects itself. There is no retrieval or transport costs for an object moving from frequently accessed to infrequently accessed.

AWS S3 Pricing Table

For each GB in the infreq access tier, you see a savings of 48%.

When combined with well-designed lifecycle and versioning policies - AWS Intelligent Tiering can provide serious savings for your storage in the cloud from day one with AWS.  

Enabling Intelligent Tiering

AWS S3 Intelligent Tiering is built into the AWS console, AWS CLI, and various API’s / SDKs as a feature within S3. It can be immediately enabled for current S3 objects, set as part of a lifecycle policy, or set as the default for newly created objects. AWS documentation has some excellent guides on setting up your objects for tiering and using S3 lifecycles. Additionally, feel free to contact Mission, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, to learn more about how you can save money in the cloud.

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Eric Ethridge

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