AWS News Blog

AWS Storage Update – New Lower Cost S3 Storage Option & Glacier Price Reduction

Like all AWS services, the Amazon S3 team is always listening to customers in order to better understand their needs. After studying a lot of feedback and doing some analysis on access patterns over time, the team saw an opportunity to provide a new storage option that would be well-suited to data that is accessed infrequently.

The team found that many AWS customers store backups or log files that are almost never read. Others upload shared documents or raw data for immediate analysis. These files generally see frequent activity right after upload, with a significant drop-off as they age. In most cases, this data is still very important, so durability is a requirement. Although this storage model is characterized by infrequent access, customers still need quick access to their files, so retrieval performance remains as critical as ever.

New Infrequent Access Storage Option
In order to meet the needs of this group of customers, we are adding a new storage class for data that is accessed infrequently. The new S3 Standard – Infrequent Access (Standard – IA) storage class offers the same high durability, low latency, and high throughput of S3 Standard. You now have the choice of three S3 storage classes (Standard, Standard – IA, and Glacier) that are designed to offer 99.999999999% (eleven nines) of durability.‎  Standard – IA has an availability SLA of 99%.

This new storage class inherits all of the existing S3 features that you know (and hopefully love) including security and access management, data lifecycle policies, cross-region replication, and event notifications.

Prices for Standard – IA start at $0.0125 / gigabyte / month (one and one-quarter US pennies), with a 30 day minimum storage duration for billing, and a $0.01 / gigabyte charge for retrieval (in addition to the usual data transfer and request charges). Further, for billing purposes, objects that are smaller than 128 kilobytes are charged for 128 kilobytes of storage. We believe that this pricing model will make this new storage class very economical for long-term storage, backups, and disaster recovery, while still allowing you to quickly retrieve older data if necessary.

You can define data lifecycle policies that move data between Amazon S3 storage classes over time. For example, you could store freshly uploaded data using the Standard storage class, move it to Standard – IA 30 days after it has been uploaded, and then to Amazon Glacier after another 60 days have gone by.

The new Standard – IA storage class is simply one of several attributes associated with each S3 object. Because the objects stay in the same S3 bucket and are accessed from the same URLs when they transition to Standard – IA, you can start using Standard – IA immediately through lifecycle policies without changing your application code. This means that you can add a policy and reduce your S3 costs immediately, without having to make any changes to your application or affecting its performance.

You can choose this new storage class (which is available today in all AWS regions) when you upload new objects via the AWS Management Console:

You can set up lifecycle rules for each of your S3 buckets. Here’s how you would establish the policies that I described above:

These functions are also available through the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI), the AWS Tools for Windows PowerShell, the AWS SDKs, and the S3 API.

Here’s what some of our early users have to say about S3 Standard – Infrequent Access:

“For more than 13 years, SmugMug has provided unlimited storage for our customer’s priceless photos. With many petabytes of them stored on Amazon S3, it’s vital that customers have immediate, instant access to any of them at a moment’s notice – even if they haven’t been viewed in years. Amazon S3 Standard – IA offers the same high durability and performance as Amazon S3 Standard so we can continue to deliver the same amazing experience for our customers even as their cameras continue to shoot bigger, higher-quality photos and videos.”

Don MacAskill, CEO & Chief Geek


“We store a ton of video, and in many cases an object in Amazon S3 is the only copy of a user’s video. This means durability is absolutely critical, and so we are thrilled that Amazon S3 Standard – IA lets us significantly reduce storage costs on our older video objects without sacrificing durability. We also really appreciate how easy it is to start using Amazon S3 Standard – IA. With a few clicks we set up lifecycle policies that will transition older objects to Amazon S3 Standard – IA at regular intervals –we don’t have to worry about migrating them to new buckets, or impacting the user experience in any way.”

Brian Kaiser, CTO


See the S3 Pricing page for complete pricing information on this new storage class.

Reduced Price for Glacier Storage
Effective September 1, 2015, we are reducing the price for data stored in Amazon Glacier from $0.01 / gigabyte / month to $0.007 / gigabyte / month. As usual, this price reduction will take effect automatically and you need not do anything in order to benefit from it. This price is for the US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland) regions; take a look at the Glacier Pricing page for full information on pricing in other regions.


Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr is Chief Evangelist for AWS. He started this blog in 2004 and has been writing posts just about non-stop ever since.