4.9 Introduction on S3 Standard-Infrequent Access

Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA) is a storage class in AWS S3 designed for data that is accessed less frequently but requires rapid access when needed. It offers a cost-effective solution for long-term storage, backups, and as a data store for disaster recovery. S3 Standard-IA provides the same high durability, throughput, and low latency as S3 Standard, but at a lower storage cost, making it suitable for data that doesn’t need to be accessed frequently. The trade-off is a higher retrieval fee compared to S3 Standard, so it’s best used for infrequently accessed data.

Comparing Amazon S3 Standard and S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (IA):

  1. Cost of Storage: S3 Standard-IA is generally less expensive in terms of storage costs compared to S3 Standard. However, it has higher retrieval costs.
  2. Access Frequency: S3 Standard is ideal for frequently accessed data, while S3 Standard-IA is cost-effective for data that is less frequently accessed.
  3. Durability and Availability: Both offer high durability (99.999999999%). S3 Standard provides slightly higher availability than S3 Standard-IA.
  4. Use Cases: S3 Standard is suited for data that needs to be accessed quickly and frequently, like dynamic websites or content distribution. S3 Standard-IA is better for backups and as a data store for disaster recovery.
  5. Retrieval Fees: S3 Standard does not charge for data retrieval, whereas S3 Standard-IA charges a fee for data retrievals.

In summary, S3 Standard is best for frequently accessed data, while S3 Standard-IA is more cost-effective for infrequently accessed data, with a trade-off in retrieval costs.

Storage type comparsion with Performance , Use case and Cost Optimization

 S3 StandardS3 Intelligent-Tiering*S3 Express One Zone**S3 Standard-IAS3 One Zone-IA**S3 Glacier
Instant Retrieval
S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval***S3 Glacier
Deep Archive***
Use casesGeneral purpose storage for frequently accessed dataAutomatic cost savings for data with unknown or changing access patternsHigh performance storage for your most frequently accessed dataInfrequently accessed data that needs millisecond accessRe-creatable infrequently accessed dataLong-lived data that is accessed a few times per year with instant retrievalsBackup and archive data that is rarely accessed and low costArchive data that is very rarely accessed and very low cost
First byte latencymillisecondsmillisecondssingle-digit millisecondsmillisecondsmillisecondsmillisecondsminutes or hourshours
DurabilityAmazon S3 provides the most durable storage in the cloud. Based on its unique architecture, S3 is designed to exceed 99.999999999% (11 nines) data durability. Additionally, S3 stores data redundantly across a minimum of 3 Availability Zones by default, providing built-in resilience against widespread disaster. Customers can store data in a single AZ to minimize storage cost or latency, in multiple AZs for resilience against the permanent loss of an entire data center, or in multiple AWS Regions to meet geographic resilience requirements.
Designed for availability99.99%99.9%99.95%99.9%99.5%99.9%99.99%99.99%
Availability SLA99.9%99%99.9%99%99%99%99.9%99.9%
Availability Zones≥3≥31≥31≥3≥3≥3
Minimum storage duration chargeN/AN/A1 hour30 days30 days90 days90 days180 days
Retrieval chargeN/AN/AN/Aper GB retrievedper GB retrievedper GB retrievedper GB retrievedper GB retrieved
Lifecycle transitionsYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYes

Please find the offical document for Other Storage Use case:Decision Guide for Storage (amazon.com)

Ideal Use Cases for Amazon S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA):

  1. Backup and Disaster Recovery: S3 Standard-IA is well-suited for storing backup data, including database backups and critical system backups. Its low storage cost and high durability make it ideal for disaster recovery plans where data is not regularly accessed but must be available immediately when needed.
  2. Secondary Storage for Infrequently Accessed Data: It’s an excellent choice for storing infrequently accessed data that still requires quick access. Examples include older project files, archived records, or infrequently accessed media files.
  3. Data Archives: Suitable for archiving data that must be retained for compliance or regulatory reasons, where access is rare but must be prompt when necessary.
  4. Medical, Financial, and Legal Records: For industries like healthcare, finance, and legal, where certain records are accessed infrequently but require high durability and immediate availability when accessed.
  5. Seasonal or Periodic Data: Ideal for data accessed seasonally or in cycles, such as annual reports, monthly financial statements, or seasonal inventory data.

S3 Standard-IA offers a cost-effective solution for storing important data that is accessed less frequently but needs rapid access when it is accessed, balancing cost and accessibility effectively.

Migration Strategies to Current Storage Classes:

  1. Analyze Current Usage: Begin by analyzing the access patterns and usage of your existing data. Tools like AWS S3 Analytics can help identify how frequently data is accessed.
  2. Understand Storage Class Options: Familiarize yourself with various S3 storage classes and their characteristics like cost, performance, and access frequency.
  3. Lifecycle Policies: Use S3 Lifecycle policies to automate the migration of data to the most appropriate storage class. For instance, transitioning older data to S3 Standard-IA or Glacier for cost savings.
  4. Test and Monitor: Before fully transitioning, test with a subset of data. Monitor performance and costs to ensure the new storage class aligns with your needs.
  5. Iterative Approach: Gradually migrate data, adjusting strategies based on observations and changing requirements.
  6. Review Regularly: Regularly review storage patterns and adjust lifecycle policies as needed to optimize costs and performance.

This strategy ensures a smooth transition to the most efficient storage class, balancing cost, access frequency, and data retrieval needs.

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