S3 Intelligent Tiering

What is S3 Intelligent Tiering and How Does it Work?

Automatic movement of data across AWS S3 tiers.

For over a decade, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) has offered different levels of data storage classes to efficiently assist users in need of cloud-based storage infrastructure. Several additional storage classes have been added to increase the variety of use cases that S3 can support.

Today, there are six major storage classes available in AWS S3, which are optimized based on the frequency of access, importance of data, and archiving needs for the storage solution.

Classes of AWS S3 Storage

These are the main storage classes available through S3:

  1. Standard (S3) – Used for frequently accessed data (hot data)
  2. Standard-Infrequent Access (S3-IA) – Used for infrequently accessed, long-lived data that needs to be retained but is not being actively used
  3. One Zone Infrequent Access – Used for infrequently accessed data that’s long-lived but not critical enough to be covered by storage redundancies across multiple locations
  4. Intelligent Tiering – Used for data with changing access patterns or uncertain need of access
  5. Glacier – Used to archive infrequently accessed, long-lived data (cold data) Glacier has a latency of a few hours to retrieve data.
  6. Glacier Deep Archive – Used for data that is hardly ever or never accessed and for digital preservation purposes for regulatory compliance

Simple lifecycle policies based on objects’ date of creation can be implemented to move objects automatically between S3 storage tiers, but when the pattern of data access is less predictable or widely accessed by many applications, a more intelligent tiering model is often more cost-efficient.

How S3 Intelligent Tiering Works

For a fee, Amazon’s S3 Intelligent Tiering can monitor and automate the movement of data between S3 tiers designed for frequent and infrequent access. When objects have not been accessed for a certain period of time, it’s moved into the infrequent access tier; but if it’s accessed at a later point in time, it’s then moved back into the infrequent access tier automatically.

This type of data management strategy can mainly help organizations save on storage costs in environments where the frequency of data access is uncertain. But it may not always be the best choice of storage class if there is high confidence in access frequency.

S3 Intelligent Tiering is also limited to the S3 storage classes, and does not tier data to the Glacier storage classes.  You can tier intelligently based on accurate access patterns across both S3 and Glacier storage classes with Komprise Intelligent Data Management.

S3 Intelligent Tiering Pricing

The cost of Intelligent Tiering is based on how much of each type of storage is being used, how many requests are being made, and how many objects are being monitored. Amazon charges $0.0025 per 1,000 objects monitored.

Advantages of S3 Intelligent Tiering

  • Objects can be assigned a tier upon upload
  • No retrieval fees
  • Objects are moved automatically back to the correct tier based on monitored access patterns
  • No operational overhead
  • No impact on performance
  • Same throughput as Standard S3 class performance
  • Designed for 99.999999999% durability and 99.9% availability over annual average

Disadvantages of S3 Intelligent Tiering

  • If access patterns are predictable, then Lifecycle rules may be more cost-effective than Intelligent Tiering
  • It is limited only to the S3 and S3 IA storage classes whereas most data needs to be moved across EFS, FSX, S3 and Glacier storage classes for maximum efficiency
  • Minimum object storage requirement of 30 days
  • Objects smaller than 128kb are never moved from frequent access tier
  • You can configure different policies for different groups, it is an automated management solution

Alternatives to S3 Intelligent Tiering

As an AWS Advanced Tier partner, Komprise offers intelligent data management tools that can provide significant savings on AWS storage costs with strategies built from analytics-driven input.

Komprise enables analytics-driven intelligent tiering across File, S3 and Glacier storage classes in AWS seamlessly so you can maximize price performance across all your data on Amazon.

Komprise also provides analytics and cost visibility across all the storage classes to enable intelligent tiering.

See how much you could save with the right data management platform providing in-depth insight into AWS storage efficiency. Get in touch with an expert at Komprise today for more information.