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What is Amazon S3? – Definition, Types, And More
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What is Amazon S3? – Definition, Types, And More

Definition Amazon S3

Amazon S3, a name that comes from the Amazon Simple Storage Service, stands out among all the cloud storage options of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Such is its popularity that in 2013 Amazon reported that this service had reached two billion stored objects.

What does Amazon S3 contain?

Amazon S3 is a cloud storage service based on object architecture. These objects can be different types of files from those generally found on any computer. Documents, zip or RAR archives, multimedia files, etc achieved through a process of storage in buckets, in which each user can place the different data and objects they want to store. These cubes are spread across Amazon’s data center structure so that each user can only access their cubes.

Storage management access in Amazon S3 works through web interface services that present the information stored in the cubes. However, this interface does not contain search or order functions. It can cause problems locating a file inside cubes with a large number of documents. Also, the name of the cubes is global, so when using simple names such as “ABC,” “storage,” or “documents,” it is most likely that they have already in use.

These are not the biggest drawbacks for Amazon S3 users, but they can be cumbersome for those who are considering starting to use it.

What possibilities does Amazon S3 offer?

Aside from the basic storage service for all types of files, Amazon S3 offers these options:

  • Website hosting.
  • It offers storage of application and program data.
  • It offers integration with Amazon EC2 virtual machines.
  • Content distribution networks.
  • It offers backups and disaster recovery.
  • Big Data analysis and storage.
  • Access of third-party applications through API.

Security on Amazon S3

Data security in Amazon S3 can work with some of AWS’s access and identity management options. The system itself also includes a replication method, with which data from each cube copies to different locations within the Amazon data center network. In this way, any failure that causes loss of information can get corrected with access to the replicas.

Another aspect of security lies in the ability of Amazon S3 to save previous versions of documents. In this way, we can recover stored files in case of accidental deletion or system failure. Also, Amazon S3 offers encryption through HTTPS protocol using SSL to prevent unauthorized access to information.

There are methods to protect information and data from the cloud that can be useful on local computers, but they depend on the level of knowledge of the users. In the Cloud Computing Guide, you can find a series of security recommendations to prevent unauthorized access to your data.

Other types of Amazon Web Services storage

Amazon S3 isn’t the only file storage service AWS offers, as it also includes:

Amazon EBS

It allows you to form storage volumes to perform actions on them, such as running a database or creating a file system. This system can be integrated with Amazon EC2 and is available in three types of volumes: magnetic disk, general use through SSD, and IOPS provisioned through SSD.

Amazon Elastic File System

It is dedicated primarily to be used by Amazon EC2 as a content repository or application development environment using virtual machines.

Amazon Glacier

Low-cost storage used to archive infrequently accessed data and to store backup copies. It usually has a high document recovery time since its objective is not precisely to access continuously stored files.

AWS Storage Gateway

Service for connecting locally installed software to one location and any type of document storage in the AWS cloud.

Amazon is not the only provider of cloud storage services for business environments since companies such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, or Dropbox also offer specialized storage systems. The Cloud Computing Guide includes a comparison of these systems and the different storage options for companies.

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