Other Considerations and Limitations

The course is part of this learning path

Start course

In this course, we will discuss AWS S3 Lifecycle configurations, a tool to automate the movement and deletion of content through S3 storage classes. If you’re looking for information on how to create Lifecycle configurations, this is the course for you!

Learning Objectives

  • What a Lifecycle configuration is
  • Why Lifecycle configurations are beneficial 
  • How to create a Lifecycle configuration
  • The limitations of Lifecycle configurations

Intended Audience

This course has been created for those looking to better manage their storage lifecycle and S3 storage costs or those already planning on implementing or using Lifecycle configurations that may need more information on how they work.


To get the most from this course, you should have a strong understanding of S3, including knowledge of storage classes, multipart uploads, object versioning, object tags, and prefixes. Familiarity with XML and JSON will help you understand some of the practical parts of this course. For more information on the S3 service, check out existing content here: Deep Dive: Amazon S3.


For this video, I want you to think about the S3 storage classes as a staircase. S3 Standard storage is at the top of the staircase, while S3 Glacier Deep Archive is at the bottom of the staircase. And all of the other storage classes are in between. 

With lifecycle configurations, this staircase only goes one way: down. Once you transition data down the staircase to a lower-cost storage class, you can't move objects back up. For example, let's say I move my data to S3 Standard-Infrequent Access. Once my data transitions to that storage class, I can't use a lifecycle configuration to move my data back to S3 Standard. This is also true if I move my data to S3 One Zone - IA, I can’t move it back to S3 Intelligent-Tiering, S3 Standard-IA, or S3 Standard. 

This becomes important if I'm using archival storage. If I reach the bottom of the staircase, by moving my data to the lowest cost storage class, S3 Glacier Deep Archive, I can't transition my data back to any other storage tier. 

Lifecycle Configuration costs follow a similar staircase model. I categorize these costs in two ways: minimum storage duration fees, and storage transition costs. Both of which increase as you move down the staircase. 

For example, let's take storage transition costs. You get charged when you move data to other storage classes and this fee increases as you move down the staircase. For example, at the top of the staircase, you’re charged $0.01 for every 1,000 lifecycle transition requests when objects are moved from S3 Standard to the S3 Standard-IA storage class. 

As you go down the staircase, all the way to S3 Glacier Deep Archive, this cost increases, and can be up to $0.05 for every 1000 transition requests. 

While it might not seem like a huge cost, it can stack up over time, especially if you're consistently moving data to archival storage. For example, if you need to transition millions of small objects to archival storage, that transition cost can be very high. To minimize this cost, you should consider transitioning mostly large objects that need to be retained over long periods of time. You can also consider aggregating several small objects into one large object to save on this fee as well. 

The second cost factor related to lifecycle configurations is minimum storage duration fees. Most storage classes have a minimum storage duration that requires you to keep data in a storage class for a certain period of time before you delete, overwrite, or transition those objects.  

These minimum storage duration periods increase as you go down the staircase as well. For example, S3 Standard and S3 Intelligent-Tiering have no minimum storage duration. Infrequent access tiers like S3 Standard-IA and S3 One Zone - IA have a minimum storage duration of 30 days. Archival storage tiers like S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval and S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval have a minimum storage duration of 90 days, while S3 Glacier Deep Archive has a minimum storage duration of 180 days.

So what happens if you delete or overwrite these objects before the minimum storage duration is reached? You get charged. For example, say you transition an object into S3 Glacier Deep Archive for 30 days, and then delete it. In this case, you will still be charged for the full 180 days of storage. 

So when you’re setting up your lifecycle configurations, ensure that you’re keeping the limitations and costs in mind. That’s all for this one! See you next time!

About the Author

Alana Layton is an experienced technical trainer, technical content developer, and cloud engineer living out of Seattle, Washington. Her career has included teaching about AWS all over the world, creating AWS content that is fun, and working in consulting. She currently holds six AWS certifications. Outside of Cloud Academy, you can find her testing her knowledge in bar trivia, reading, or training for a marathon.