Brief overview of AWS Storage Services

Brief overview of AWS Storage Services

Part 1

What is cloud storage and why it’s so important?

Cloud storage is the storing of data and files on the internet through a cloud computing provider. You can access your files and data through public internet and/ or a dedicated private network connection. Cloud providers will store, manage, and maintain the storage servers, infrastructure, and network. Cloud storage providers offer scalable, cost-effective storage for any needs. So, no matter the size of your organization you can have access to cost-effective, fast, scalable storage. With that brief intro let’s look at what AWS brings to the space.

Storages Services

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)

What is it?

S3 is an object storage service that uses buckets and objects to store your data at any scale from anywhere. S3 stores your data as objects within resources called buckets. Buckets are organized with a flat structure which means there is no hierarchy as in a file system. File systems use a folder hierarcy. Although S3 does support folder concept for organization. Folders can hold folders, but buckets can’t hold other buckets. S3 bucket objects can be up to 5 terabytes in size. An object can be nearly anything you want. S3 comes in various classes. S3 Standard, S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA), S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access (S3 One Zone-IA), S3 Intelligent-Tiering, S3 Glacier Instant Retrieval, S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval, S3 Glacier Deep Archive, and S3 Outposts. S3 provides individuals and organizations of any size with industry-leading scalability, performance, security, and data availability. Amazon promises 99.99999999999% durability.

Use Cases:

Host static websites.

Build data lakes.

Archive data at the lowest cost

Backup and restore critical data.

Cost: S3 has a tier-paid system depending on the class and data size.

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS)

What is it?

EFS is a serverless elastic file storage that grows and shrinks as you need in the cloud. There is no set up cost and you only pay for what you use. Amazon EFS provides a file system interface and file system access semantics. It also provides accessible storage for up to thousands of EC2 instances concurrently. This service comes in two classes Standard or One Zone storage classes. Amazon EFS is designed to be both highly available and highly durable. Coming with Amazon 11 9’s of durability.

Use Cases:

Modernize application development

Accelerate data science

Simplify DevOps

Cost: Pay for what you use.

Amazon FSx

What is it?

FSx is a service that lets you launch and run high-performance file systems in the cloud. It comes in four versions: NetApp ONTAP, OpenZFS, Windows File Server, and Lustre. FSx is fully managed, and hybrid-enabled. Amazon FSx offers SSD or HDD storage options. This service also lets you provision and scale throughput performance independently from your storage capacity. Your choice of system is based on your familiarity, needs and workload requirements.

Use Cases:

Accelerate Media & Entertainment workloads

Build bleeding-edge machine learning, analytics, and HPC applications

Migrate your workloads to the cloud

Simplify business continuity

Cost: Price based on the type of file system you choose.

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)

What is it?

Amazon Elastic Block Store is a high-performance block storage at any scale built for Amazon EC2 instances. EBS is great if you need your data to persist beyond the life of the instance because EBS volume can persist independently. Amazon EBS provides seven volume types.

General Purpose SSD (gp3 and gp2),

Provisioned IOPS SSD (io2 Block Express, io2, and io1)

Throughput Optimized HDD (st1)

Cold HDD (sc1)

Storage can be divided into two major types, SSD-backed storage and HDD-backed storage. The former is best for transactional, IOPS-intensive database workloads, boot volumes, and workloads that require high IOPS. The latter HDD-backed storage for throughput workloads (performance depends primarily on throughput, measured in MB/s).

Use Cases:

Right-size your big data analytics engines.

Run relational or NoSQL databases.

Build your SAN in the cloud for I/O-intensive applications.

Cost: Free tier and a paid tier based on what you use.

AWS DataSync

What is it?

AWS DataSync is an online data movement and discovery service. It helps to simplify and accelerate data migration to AWS from on-premises. DataSync Discovery uses automated data collection and analysis to help you to better understand your on-premises storage performance and capacity thus enabling you to quickly identify data to be migrated. Also, it gives you generated recommendations you can use to select AWS Storage services that align with your performance and budget needs. Data collected will be stored and managed by AWS DataSync service and can be viewed with AWS DataSync console, AWS Software Development Kit (SDK), or AWS CLI. DataSync supports a host of storage location types.

Use Cases:

Build data lakes

Migrate your data

Securely replicate your data into cost-efficient AWS storage services

Archive old data

Cost: flat, per-gigabyte fee according to your region based on the amount of data that you migrate.

AWS Storage Gateway

What is it?

AWS Storage Gateway provides on-premises application access to virtually unlimited cloud storage through a hybrid cloud service. AWS allows on-premises app access to the cloud without having to change your architecture or deploy new storage hardware. Storage Gateway does this with a standard set of storage protocols. Storage Gateway allows you to reduce your on-premises storage footprint and associated cost. It comes with three types of storage interfaces for your on-premises applications: file, volume, and tape. Also, Storage Gateway supports your compliance efforts with important capabilities like audit logging, encryption, and write-once, read-many storages.

Use Cases:

Fill your data lake

Back up data to the cloud for on-premises files and database applications

Modernize interactive file sharing

Cost: Pay for what you use.

AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery (DRS)

What is it?

AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery is a scalable, cost-effective cloud application recovery service that minimizes downtime and data loss. AWS DRS accomplishes this with affordable storage, minimal computing, and point-in-time recovery. It recovers your applications within minutes from a previous point in time or its most recent state if possible. Elastic Disaster Recovery also saves you money by removing idle recovery site resources.

Use Cases:

recover operations after unexpected events

increase resilience and meet compliance requirements

AWS Region to AWS Region that helps your meet availability goals.

Cost: flat per hour fee paying only for the servers you are actively replicating to AWS

AWS Backup

What is it?

AWS Backup is a fully managed service that enables you to centrally manage, monitor, and automate data protection across your AWS services. Backup allows you to define a central data protection policy called a backup plan. The backup plan defines parameters such as backup frequency and backup retention period and works across AWS services for compute, storage, and databases. It also allows you to generate reports on compliance metrics. These reports can be on backup frequency, data retention period, and backup coverage across resources.

Use Cases:

Cloud Native Back up key data stores, such as your volumes, databases, buckets and file systems

Hybrid data protection centralized across your environment

Centralized data protection policies

Data protection compliance

Cost: no minimum fee and there is no setup charge and you only pay for the backup storage you use


I hope this brief introduction gives you an idea of what AWS has to offer for your storage needs in the cloud. Although not extensive you can use this guide for further study into the AWS documentation. With a plethora of services follow for more detailed explanations as well as tutorials on AWS, Google Cloud, machine learning and other coding concepts.