New Amazon S3 Features Announced at re:Invent

In true AWS style, a number of new features and services were announced yesterday, the day before the official start of re:Invent.

Three of these announcements were related to Amazon S3 which included:

  • S3 Intelligent Tiering (A new storage class)
  • Batch Operations for Object Management
  • AWS Transfer for SFTP in S3

S3 Intelligent Tiering

This new feature was announced as a new storage class, the first in some time.  It allows automatic optimization of storage costs while at the same time removing a level of administration. (Here’s a good, more general resource on optimizing S3 storage costs) By selecting intelligent tiering, you can leave the management of selecting a storage class management of data on S3 in the hands of AWS.  

Depending on data access patterns of objects, S3 will be able to move the objects between two different storage classes with frequent and infrequent access. These classes are a part of the intelligent tiering class and are separate from existing classes.  When objects are moved to intelligent tiering, they are placed within the ‘frequent access’ tier. If an object is not accessed for 30 days, then AWS will automatically move that object to the cheaper tier, known as the ‘ infrequent access tier’.  Once that same object is accessed again, it will automatically be moved back to the ‘frequent tier’.

This new feature operates a 99.9% availability and 99.999999999% durability (using multiple AZs) while maintaining low latency and high throughput performance that you will find in the S3 Standard storage class.

To use this storage class, you will be charged an additional small monthly fee on top of your data storage, which is different to other storage classes.

S3 Intelligent-Tiering Storage Pricing

As with other storage classes, you can use your lifecycle policies to move data to this new storage tier and also move data out of this tier to another.

Batch Operations for Object Management (Preview)

This new S3 feature is currently in preview mode but will surely be welcomed by many since it saves time and additional development work while being executed with ease.

It allows you to carry out management operations across millions or even billions of your S3 Objects at the same time.  You may find that you need to alter the tagging information of your objects, security access controls, metadata, or property information to your objects.  With Batch Operations, you can carry out these tasks and more either by using a single API or by using the S3 Management Console.

Batch operations also integrate with AWS CloudTrail to monitor all changes made using the APIs selected.  It also includes the ability to notify you when specific events occur and provides a completion report keeping you aware of the progress of your batch changes.

Being able to run huge batch management across your data storage in S3 can save you a huge amount of time by trying to develop other alternate methods in trying to achieve the same result.  It’s also compatible with AWS Lambda to allowing you to run your functions across billions of objects at once.

To sign up to the preview of this feature, visit: https://pages.awscloud.com/S3BatchOperations-Preview

AWS Transfer for SFTP in S3

This provides a simple mechanism of moving your file transfer workloads to S3 using the Secure Shell File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). 

Using this feature you will not need to manage and maintain your own SFTP server. Instead, all you need to do is to create your SFTP server, select your endpoint, and configure the security of your S3 buckets for your SFTP clients. AWS will then manage the rest from an infrastructure perspective, including any auto-scaling and high availability by utilizing multiple AZs. Check out our post where we walk you through the process. 

Customers will not need to modify their current SFTP client settings in any way and can continue to operate as they already have. By utilizing Route 53, DNS routing can be configured so customers can continue to use existing hostnames and domains.

AWS transfer for SFTP is also fully compatible with your existing systems and architecture including a range of identity systems, including LDAP and Active Directory. This helps you to easily migrate your existing SFTP workflows to AWS with ease

Pricing for this service is provisioned and charged at an hourly rate and the amount of data passed through this endpoint is measured on a per GB basis.

AWS Transfer Costs for SFTP

These new features to Amazon S3 are just a small example of the news we can expect from re:Invent this week.  Each of these features has been designed to help us as customers to minimize administration, optimize cost, and enhance the customer experience. Check out our S3FS Lab to get your hands dirty with S3FS.

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Written by

Stuart Scott

Stuart is the AWS content lead at Cloud Academy where he has created over 40 courses reaching tens of thousands of students. His content focuses heavily on cloud security and compliance, specifically on how to implement and configure AWS services to protect, monitor and secure customer data and their AWS environment.


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