Originally published March 16, 2021.

In our previous post about Simple Storage Service (S3), we showed how to view request metrics, egress, and accompanying costs, and we’re back again to show a breakdown of S3 storage types and costs. S3 Buckets currently support 28 different types of object storage classes (including overhead and staging storage classes), each with their respective pricing specific to certain AWS regions. To add more complexity, some of these storage classes have flat storage rates, whereas others have different prices for different tiers of storage where the per-unit cost will decrease as you reach certain storage thresholds. Lastly, S3 also charges you for overhead storage for certain storage classes—which is the cost of storing metadata about the underlying data held in an S3 Bucket. All of this can be fairly overwhelming, but Vantage has built tools to simplify this all.

Vantage automatically profiles all S3 Buckets and their underlying storage classes and compute prices accordingly, with no action necessary by you. If you’re an existing user, you can check your Vantage Console and see the breakdown of costs accordingly. There are two things Vantage will show: (1) the “Monthly Price” field shown in tables where S3 Buckets are present shows the total cost of that S3 Bucket across S3 Storage Types and (2) on S3 Bucket resource pages you’ll see the full breakdown of storage summaries and their accompanying costs. In the latter case, if your S3 Bucket is using multiple storage types, you’ll see the corresponding prices and storage for all of them like what is shown below:

Vantage lists all storage types you're using in an S3 Bucket with a breakdown of their storage size and monthly cost.

You can also see historical trends of storage sizes and prices on a per S3 Bucket basis so you can see how your S3 Buckets are growing for each storage class. Vantage also includes these cost summaries in your weekly email report so you can always stay up-to-date on how prices are trending.

What Are the Various S3 Storage Types?

As mentioned above, S3 currently supports 28 different object storage types within an S3 Bucket. Each bucket is capable of holding objects from a single class or multiple classes. Below is a list of the storage types (note: pricing shown is in us-east-1):

Standard Storage

Standard Storage (StandardStorage) is for general purpose storage of any type of data, typically used for frequently accessed data. Standard Storage is priced on a tiered basis where it gets incrementally cheaper to store data as you store more. Pricing starts at $0.023 per GB.

Intelligent-Tiering

Intelligent-Tiering works by storing objects in five access tiers: one optimized for frequent access, one for infrequent access, and three for rare access. Objects uploaded or transitioned to Intelligent-Tiering are automatically stored in the Frequent Access tier. Intelligent-Tiering works by monitoring access patterns and then moving the objects that have not been accessed in 30 consecutive days to the Infrequent Access tier. Then after 90 consecutive days to the Archive Instant Access tier.

You can also activate one or both of the optional asynchronous archive access tiers. Intelligent-Tiering will then automatically move objects after the configured number of consecutive days with no access (a minimum of 90 days for the Archive Access tier and a minimum of 180 days for the Deep Archive Access tier). If the objects are accessed later, Intelligent-Tiering moves the objects back to the Frequent Access tier.

The five Intelligent-Tiering tiers are below:

  • Intelligent-Tiering - Frequent Access (IntelligentTieringFAStorage): Objects uploaded to Intelligent-Tiering are automatically stored in the Frequent Access tier which has the same rates as Standard Storage. They are priced in a tiered manner. Pricing starts at $0.023 per GB.
  • Intelligent-Tiering - Infrequent Access (IntelligentTieringIAStorage): Objects in Frequent Access that haven’t been accessed in 30 consecutive days are moved to this tier in which prices drop significantly. This is priced in a flat rate manner. Pricing is $0.0125 per GB.
  • Intelligent-Tiering - Archive Instant Access (IntelligentTieringAIAStorage): Objects that haven’t been accessed in 90 consecutive days are moved to this tier in which prices drop even more. This is priced in a flat rate manner. Pricing is $0.004 per GB.
  • Intelligent-Tiering - Archive Access (IntelligentTieringAAStorage): Upon activating the Archive Access tier for Intelligent-Tiering, S3 will automatically move objects that haven’t been accessed for 90 days (or more depending on your configuration) to Archive Access where the pricing is the same as Glacier. It is priced at a flat rate. Pricing is $0.0036 per GB.
  • Intelligent-Tiering - Deep Archive Access (IntelligentTieringDAAStorage): Upon activating the Deep Archive Access tier for Intelligent-Tiering, S3 will automatically move objects that haven’t been accessed for 180 days (or more depending on your configuration) to Deep Archive Access. This is priced at the same flat rate as Glacier Deep Archive. Pricing is $0.00099 per GB.

The two optional archive tiers also have overhead charges:

  • Intelligent-Tiering - Archive Access Object Overhead (IntAAObjectOverhead): For each object that is stored in the Intelligent-Tiering - Archive Access tier, 32KB of chargeable overhead is added for index and related metadata, charged at Glacier Flexible Retrieval rates.
  • Intelligent-Tiering - Archive Access S3 Object Overhead (IntAAS3ObjectOverhead): Intelligent-Tiering - Archive Access also requires an additional 8KB of data per object for the name of the object and other metadata, charged at Standard Storage rates.
  • Intelligent-Tiering - Deep Archive Access Object Overhead (IntDAAObjectOverhead): For each object that is stored in the Intelligent-Tiering - Deep Archive Access tier, 32KB of chargeable overhead is added for index and related metadata, charged at Glacier Flexible Retrieval rates.
  • Intelligent-Tiering - Deep Archive Access S3 Object Overhead (IntDAAS3ObjectOverhead): Intelligent-Tiering - Deep Archive Access also requires an additional 8KB of data per object for the name of the object and other metadata, charged at Standard Storage rates.

Standard - Infrequent Access

Standard - Infrequent Access (StandardIAStorage) is for data that is accessed less frequently but requires rapid access when needed. It offers the high durability, high throughput, and low latency of Standard Storage, with a low per GB storage price and per GB retrieval fee. This combination of low cost and high performance makes Standard - Infrequent Access ideal for long-term storage, backups, and as a data store for disaster recovery files. It is priced at a flat rate and pricing is $0.0125 per GB. This is the same storage type included in the Intelligent-Tiering Infrequent Access tier above.

There are two overhead charges associated with this storage class described below:

  • Standard - Infrequent Access Size Overhead (StandardIASizeOverhead): There is a minimum billable object size of 128KB. For example, if you stored an object at 28KB, the rate would increase by 100KB, (128KB - 28KB) and is represented by this metric.
  • Standard - Infrequent Access Object Overhead (StandardIAObjectOverhead): For each object stored in Standard - Infrequent Access 32KB of chargeable overhead is added for metadata.

Standard - Infrequent Access (One Zone)

Standard - Infrequent Access (One Zone) (OneZoneIAStorage) is for data that is accessed less frequently but requires rapid access when needed. Unlike other S3 storage classes which store data in a minimum of three Availability Zones (AZ), Standard - Infrequent Access (One Zone) stores data in a single AZ and costs much less than Standard - Infrequent Access. The pricing is a fixed rate and is $0.16 per GB.

Similar to its three Availability counter-part above, Standard - Infrequent Access (One Zone) has the following overhead charge:

  • One Zone Size Overhead (OneZoneIASizeOverhead): There is a minimum billable object size of 128KB. For example, if you stored an object at 28KB, the rate would increase by 100KB, (128KB - 28KB) and is represented by this metric.

Glacier Instant Retrieval

Glacier Instant Retrieval (GlacierInstantRetrievalStorage) is a high-latency, low-cost, durable archive storage class. The use case is ideal for data that requires long-term storage and is only accessed once per quarter. Glacier Instant Retrieval is charged at a flat rate of $0.004 per GB.

Glacier Instant Retrieval has an overhead cost to be aware of:

  • Glacier Instant Retrieval Size Overhead (GlacierInstantRetrievalSizeOverhead): There is a minimum billable object size of 128KB. For example, if you stored an object at 28KB, the rate would increase by 100KB, (128KB - 28KB) and is represented by this metric.

Glacier Flexible Retrieval

Glacier Flexible Retrieval (GlacierStorage) (formerly called Glacier) is a secure, durable, and low-cost storage class for data archiving. You can reliably store any amount of data at costs that are competitive with or cheaper than on-premises solutions. To keep costs low yet suitable for varying needs, Glacier provides three retrieval options that range from a few minutes to hours. Glacier is priced at a flat rate and pricing is $0.0036 per GB.

Glacier Flexible Retrieval also has overhead costs to be aware of that are described below:

  • Glacier Object Overhead (GlacierObjectOverhead): For each object that is stored in Glacier, 32KB of chargeable overhead is added for index and related metadata, charged at Glacier Flexible Retrieval rates.
  • Glacier S3 Object Overhead (GlacierS3ObjectOverhead): Glacier also requires an additional 8KB of data per object for the name of the object and other metadata, charged at Standard Storage rates.
  • Glacier Staging Storage (GlacierStagingStorage): Staging storage serves as the temporary holding space for the components of a Multipart Upload until the CompleteMultipart request is initiated. These parts are temporarily stored in Standard Storage, and chargers based on Standard Storage pricing.

Glacier Deep Archive

Glacier Deep Archive (DeepArchiveStorage) is tied with Intelligent-Tiering - Deep Archive Access as Amazon S3’s lowest-cost storage class. It supports long-term retention and digital preservation of data that may be accessed once or twice a year. It is designed for customers‚ particularly those in highly-regulated industries, such as the Financial Services, Healthcare, and Public Sectors, that retain data sets for 7-10 years or longer to meet regulatory compliance requirements. Glacier Deep Archive can also be used for backup and disaster recovery use cases, and is a cost-effective and easy-to-manage alternative to magnetic tape systems, whether they are on-premises libraries or off-premises services. Glacier Deep Archive is priced at a flat rate and pricing is $0.00099 per GB.

Similar to Glacier, there are various overhead and staging costs:

  • Deep Archive Object Overhead (DeepArchiveObjectOverhead): For each object that is stored in Glacier Deep Archive, 32KB of chargeable overhead is added for index and related metadata, charged at Glacier Deep Archive rates.
  • Deep Archive S3 Object Overhead (DeepArchiveS3ObjectOverhead): Glacier Deep Archive also requires an additional 8KB of data per object for the name of the object and other metadata, charged at Standard Storage rates.
  • Deep Archive Staging Storage (DeepArchiveStagingStorage): Staging storage is where the parts of Multipart Upload are staged until the CompleteMultipart request is issued. The parts are staged in Standard Storage, and storage is charged at the Standard Storage price.

Reduced Redundancy Storage

Reduced Redundancy Storage (ReducedRedundancyStorage) is an Amazon S3 storage option that enables customers to store noncritical, reproducible data at lower levels of redundancy than Standard Storage. It provides a highly available solution for distributing or sharing content that is durably stored elsewhere, or for storing thumbnails, transcoded media, or other processed data that can be easily reproduced. The Reduced Redundancy Storage option stores objects on multiple devices across multiple facilities, providing 400 times the durability of a typical disk drive, but does not replicate objects as many times as Standard Storage.

Reduced Redundancy Storage is a tiered pricing model. Pricing starts at $0.024 per GB.

Express One Zone

Express One Zone (ExpressOneZone), like Standard - Infrequent Access (One Zone) is a single AZ storage class. It can provide extremely quick, single-digit millisecond access to your data at a lower price than Standard Storage. Some examples of use cases are Machine Learning and Financial Modeling. Pricing is flat rate, at $0.16 per GB.

Outposts

AWS Outposts extend AWS services, tools, etc to your on-premises AWS Outposts environment. Ideal for locally required data, with S3 on Outposts (Outposts) you can reliably store and access data on your Outpost.

Conclusion

Ultimately, there are many S3 storage classes to choose from to fit your needs. With that customization comes a lot of complexity with keeping up-to-date with associated costs. Whether you’re an individual using S3 for personal projects or a large enterprise with multiple storage classes across numerous S3 Buckets, Vantage can simplify the cost side of things by automatically monitoring your S3 Buckets, and their associated costs and keeping you up-to-date with regular reports.