The Cloud

What is Amazon S3?

Amazon S3 is short for Amazon Simple Storage Service, and it is the storage in the cloud.

Amazon S3 is short for Amazon Simple Storage Service, and it is the storage in the cloud. While it can be used to store anything, it's best to think of as optimized for files (documents, images, etc) that you may need quick, easy access to from the cloud.

What is Amazon S3 used for?

Amazon S3 is a good choice for the following:

  • Images
  • Documents
  • Videos
  • Audio

What's great about Amazon S3?

  • It's super durable
  • It's fast
  • It's cheap

It's super durable

Storage durability is measured as a percentage and Amazon S3 weighs in at an incredible 99.999999999% (that's eleven 9s) of data durability. That kind of reliability is kind of mind blowing for folks who have been in the industry for a while, but I would say it has been born out in our experience over the past 8 years working with AWS.

It's fast

Traffic between Amazon S3 and other Amazon services (like EC2) can leverage up to 100 Gbps of bandwidth when they are in the same Region.

It's cheap

How much does Amazon S3 cost? It's is priced at $0.023 (2.3 USA cents) per gigabyte per month. Even better you can get started with 5GB of standard S3 storage for 12 months. After 12 months that storage would cost you $1.38 per year.

What Amazon S3 should NOT be used for

While it's possible to store pretty much anything on S3, there are a few use cases it shouldn't be used for:

  • Databases - Amazon S3 is not optimized for databases and there are other Amazon products (Amazon RDS, Aurora, DynamoDB, etc.) which are plug-and-play database products.
  • Long term storage - while S3 is cheap enough that it can be used for long term storage, Amazon gets even cheaper with Amazon S3 Glacier.


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