Amazon S3 Storage Classes Basics

Learn about different storage classes offered by Amazon S3.

· 4 min read
Amazon S3 Storage Classes Basics

Hello everyone, In this article, I'll be discussing the types of storage classes that AWS S3 provides.

AWS S3 offers different storage classes based on different use cases.

AWS S3 offers 7 storage classes, which are -

  1. S3 Standard
  2. S3 Intelligent-Tiering
  3. S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA)
  4. S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access (S3 One Zone-IA)
  5. Amazon S3 Glacier (S3 Glacier)
  6. Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive (S3 Glacier Deep Archive)
  7. S3 Outposts

AWS S3 categorizes these storage classes into 4 different categories, so you must also know that.

  1. General Purpose

    1. S3 Standard
  2. Unknown or Changing Access

    1. S3 Intelligent-Tiering
  3. Infrequent Access

    1. S3 Standard-Infrequent Access
    2. S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access
  4. Archive

    1. S3 Glacier
    2. S3 Glacier Deep Archive
  5. S3 Outposts

‌In this article, I am going to discuss each storage class one by one. For each storage class, we will be discussing

  1. Introduction
  2. Use Cases

S3 Standard


AWS S3 Standard offers general-purpose storage for frequently accessed data.

In simple words, the AWS S3 Standard storage class can be used for data that is being accessed regularly or frequently.

You can store the data here that needs to be accessed again & again without any delay (with low latency). Like serving images for your site. Because the images need to be accessed each time your site is opened.

S3 Standard offers high durability, availability, and performance object storage for frequently accessed data

Use Cases

Due to its low latency & high throughput, S3 Standard can be used on applications like websites, mobile apps, gaming apps, cloud applications, etc.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering


S3 Intelligent-Tiering is used for data with unknown or changing access patterns.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering monitors access patterns and automatically moves objects that have not been accessed to lower-cost access tiers.

In simpler words, when you store some data and enable the S3 Intelligent-Tiering it monitors the stored data. It monitors that how frequently the data is being accessed. If the data is not being accessed in a certain amount of duration it moves the data into different storage classes that will result in cost savings.

By default when you store data in S3 Intelligent-Tiering it stores data in the S3 Standard storage class.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering monitors access patterns and then moves objects that have not been accessed in 30 consecutive days to the Infrequent Access tier. Once you have activated one or both of the Archive Access tiers, S3 Intelligent-Tiering will move objects that haven’t been accessed for 90 consecutive days to the Archive Access tier and then after 180 consecutive days of no access to the Deep Archive Access tier. If the objects are accessed later, S3 Intelligent-Tiering moves the objects back to the Frequent Access tier.

Use Cases

You can use S3 Intelligent-Tiering as the default storage class for data lakes, analytics, and new applications.

S3 Standard-Infrequent Access


S3 Standard-IA is for data that is accessed less frequently but requires rapid access when needed.

S3 Standard-IA offers the high durability, high throughput, and low latency of S3 Standard, with a low per GB storage price and per GB retrieval charge.

Use Cases

S3 Standard-IA is ideal for long-term storage, backups, and as a data store for disaster recovery files.

S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access


S3 One Zone-IA is for data that is accessed less frequently but requires rapid access when needed.

Unlike other S3 Storage Classes which store data in a minimum of three Availability Zones (AZs), S3 One Zone-IA stores data in a single AZ and costs 20% less than S3 Standard-IA.

Use Cases

It’s a good choice for storing secondary backup copies of on-premises data or easily re-creatable data.

S3 Glacier


S3 Glacier is a secure, durable, and low-cost storage class for data archiving.

To keep costs low yet suitable for varying needs, S3 Glacier provides three retrieval options that range from a few minutes to hours.

Use Cases

You can use this to storage class to archive a large amount of data that can be accessed when requested.

S3 Glacier Deep Archive


S3 Glacier Deep Archive is Amazon S3’s lowest-cost storage class and supports long-term retention and digital preservation for data that may be accessed once or twice a year.

All objects stored in S3 Glacier Deep Archive are replicated and stored across at least three geographically dispersed Availability Zones, protected by 99.999999999% of durability, and can be restored within 12 hours.

Use Cases

It is designed for customers — particularly those in highly regulated industries, such as the Financial Services, Healthcare, and Public Sectors — that retain data sets for 7-10 years or longer to meet regulatory compliance requirements.

S3 Glacier Deep Archive can also be used for backup and disaster recovery.

S3 Outposts


Amazon S3 on Outposts delivers object storage to your on-premises AWS Outposts environment

S3 on Outposts makes it easy to store and retrieve data on your Outpost, as well as secure the data, control access, tag, and report on it

Use Cases

S3 Outposts storage class is ideal for workloads with local data residency requirements.

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S3 Storage Classes can be configured at the object level and a single bucket can contain objects stored across S3 Standard, S3 Intelligent-Tiering, S3 Standard-IA, and S3 One Zone-IA.

You can also use S3 Lifecycle policies to automatically transition objects between storage classes without any application changes.

Performance across the S3 Storage Classes

So this is all for this article.

To learn more about the S3 Storage classes you can through the official documentation of S3.

Object Storage Classes – Amazon S3

I hope, this article helped you. If you have any questions related to this article you can ask me in the comment section.

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