How to Use Amazon S3 Cost-Effectively


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The benefits of Amazon Web Services are directly proportional to the number of ways to use it. It’s not unusual for the business to allocate a limited budget on cloud storage, but never use it to the max. Then it turns out the company uses several paid solutions for a bunch of tasks that can be accomplished with AWS.

We’ve prepared an Amazon S3 use case list that will help you take the most out of it in your workflow.

Backup File System

Backup is among the most popular use cases for Amazon S3. Storage claims 99.999999999% durability and distribution of three copies of each file between its data centers in different regions. This means crucial backup files you need to store will not be destroyed by the human error or even region-level natural disaster.

With the price of $0,0300 per GB at the first usage tier in N. Virginia region, you get a reliable and cost-effective offsite solution. Don’t forget though that a solid backup strategy assumes recurring jobs. To make it simple, you can use free backup tools, like our CloudBerry Backup.

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Infrequent Access, Reduced Redundancy & Archival Storage

Amazon S3 is divided by Standard, Standard IA Z-IA, RRS, and Glacier. In Standard I/A and Z-IA classes the accessibility of an object is reduced, therefore it poorly suits for files that can be requested by the websites or applications. Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) class assumes the higher probability of losing an object, so it’s not wise to store crucial data there. Use it for tons of user images or for files that have another copy stored locally instead.

Amazon Glacier is also described as an Amazon S3 class by AWS, but in fact represents a standalone archival storage for data that is almost never accessed: older backup versions, family archives, etc. Archiving helps users to reduce the overall storage cost and get rid of the outdated files.

Host Static Website

Amazon S3 is a silver bullet for site administrators because it’s suitable for almost each and every webmaster’s need. First of all, it can be used as a hosting service. With the same $0.0300 price for a hosted GB/Month, it surpasses the hosting market average $2.75/month, but only to the point where your static website is below 100 GB in total.

Amazon S3 also has a few more extraordinary use cases in terms of web hosting.

  • Backup CMS Data
    If the thought of losing your blog posts makes you wince, backup is worth taking a look. There are a few plugins that can be integrated into the WordPress system, like BackupBuddy, that can store pages, files, directories, plugins, tables, user accounts and comments in Amazon S3 account on schedule.
  • Downloadable Content Storage
    Amazon S3 can significantly boost website’s performance, with the helping hand from the CloudFront content delivery network. If you’re planning to use content distribution on a regular basis, remember that requests to your data are $0.004/10.000 requests. Because of its price, Amazon S3 is extremely useful for large content distributions.
  • Video Stream Source
    You can host your streams and live broadcasting using both Amazon S3 and CloudFront. While there are a lot of protocols available for it, most of the users stay on RTMP, which delivers media to the common Adobe Flash Player.

Create Private Local Repository

Amazon S3 can be used to create your own private local Git, Yum or Maven repository. This helps in the situation when you want to save some time and avoid complicated scripting. Instead of running multiple servers you just store the master file in the cloud (making S3 bucket a root directory) and push commits through plug-ins like Jgit.

Host Apache Hadoop

Apache Hadoop file systems can also be hosted on Amazon S3, because it partially meets their requirements. At the end of the day, the Hadoop is able to run MapReduce on Amazon EC2 virtual machines and store its results back into S3.

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Improve File Sharing

Amazon S3 can be also used as a cheap file sharing solution or a network drive and be integrated into your environment. The first use case is similar to Dropbox (which was built on the top of Amazon S3 previously) — you configure ACL policy to allow access to the bucket for some users and upload files to do some teamwork. The second is more complicated since assumes mounting amazon S3 bucket as a Windows external drive with some tool similar to our very own Cloudberry Drive.

Take the Most Out of S3!

In this article we have explained the most common use cases for Amazon S3 in the business environment. As we can see there are plenty of them, while you still can invent some. Please feel free to share your own use cases in the comment section below.

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