Cloudthread Y Combinator
May 10, 2023

What’s the difference between S3 intelligent tiering and S3 lifecycle management?

The blog post shares the benefits and explores the differences between S3 Intelligent Tiering and S3 Lifecycle Management.

As cloud storage becomes increasingly popular, more and more businesses are turning to Amazon S3 to meet their storage needs. Amazon S3 is a cost-effective, scalable, and secure solution for storing and retrieving data. However, as businesses accumulate data over time, managing the lifecycle of that data becomes crucial to controlling costs and maintaining efficient access to frequently accessed data. Two popular options for managing the lifecycle of data in Amazon S3 are: 1) S3 Intelligent Tiering and 2) S3 Lifecycle Management.

S3 Intelligent Tiering: S3 Intelligent Tiering is an Amazon S3 storage class designed to optimize costs by automatically moving data between two access tiers (frequent access and infrequent access) based on changing access patterns. S3 Intelligent Tiering is best suited for customers who have unpredictable or changing access patterns to their data. The service is ideal for customers who require rapid access to their data and want to optimize their costs.

S3 Intelligent Tiering uses machine learning algorithms to analyze the access patterns of your data and then moves data to the most cost-effective tier based on access patterns. If the data has not been accessed for 30 consecutive days, it is automatically moved to the infrequent access tier, and if it is accessed again, it is automatically moved back to the frequent access tier. S3 Intelligent Tiering is designed to be a cost-effective and low-maintenance option for customers who require frequent access to their data but don't want to spend a lot of time managing the lifecycle of their data.

The caveat of S3 Intelligent Tiering is that its pricing includes a per-object monitoring fee. As of this writing, in US East, $0.0025 per 1,000 objects. Ultimately, this makes intuitive sense: you’re having AWS monitor objects to evaluate what storage tier they should be in, and AWS charges for this monitoring. What’s tricky is that for many small objects, these costs can add up and sometimes outweigh the benefit of the intelligent tiering storage cost reduction.

S3 Lifecycle Management: S3 Lifecycle Management is a feature of Amazon S3 that enables customers to define lifecycle policies that automatically move their data to different storage classes based on a set of user-defined rules. With S3 Lifecycle Management, you can define rules to move data to less expensive storage classes or delete it after a certain period of time. S3 Lifecycle Management is best suited for customers who have predictable access patterns to their data and want to control their costs by moving their data to lower-cost storage classes over time.

With S3 Lifecycle Management, you can define rules that move data to less expensive storage classes based on the age of the data or the access pattern. For example, you can define a rule that moves data that has not been accessed in 90 days to the Glacier storage class or a rule that moves data older than one year to the Glacier Deep Archive storage class. S3 Lifecycle Management is designed to be a flexible and powerful option for customers who want to control the lifecycle of their data and manage their costs over time.

Conclusion: S3 Intelligent Tiering and S3 Lifecycle Management are two popular options for managing the lifecycle of data in Amazon S3. While both options are designed to optimize costs and improve data access, they differ in their approach. S3 Intelligent Tiering is ideal for customers with unpredictable access patterns, while S3 Lifecycle Management is ideal for customers with predictable access patterns who want to control their costs over time. Depending on your business needs, either option can be a valuable addition to your data storage and management strategy.

How can Cloudthread help?

At Cloudthread we specialize in helping businesses of all sizes to monitor, manage and optimize their cloud costs, including Amazon S3.

With Cloudthread's help, you can identify opportunities for cost savings, implement effective cost optimization strategies, and ensure that your data is stored in the most cost-effective manner possible.

When it comes to S3, Cloudthread can surface buckets that don’t have any policies in place and tell you how much you’ll save by turning on S3 Intelligent Tiering. We’re working on savings opportunities that monitor usage patterns and suggest S3 Lifecycle Management.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you manage your cloud costs and optimize your data storage strategy.