UPDATED 16:17 EDT / NOVEMBER 09 2020

CLOUD

AWS adds intelligent data movement features

Amazon Web Services Inc. today rolled out a raft of enhancements to its data storage services aimed at reducing cloud costs for enterprises and easing administrators’ work.

The updates are headlined by a new version of S3 Intelligent-Tiering.

S3 is AWS’ object storage service. It provides access to multiple types of storage infrastructure, called classes by AWS, that have varying price points and performance. S3 Intelligence-Tiering is a feature that automatically moves a company’s records to the most appropriate storage class in order to optimize costs.

The new version of S3 Intelligence-Tiering announced today will help enterprises reduce the cost of storing infrequently used, archived records such as business documents that need to be retained for legal reasons. If a piece of information is not accessed for 90 days, it can now be automatically moved to low-cost Archive Access storage infrastructure. Records that aren’t accessed for 180 days are moved to Deep Archive Access, an even more affordable storage class with pricing that starts at under $1 per terabyte per month.

The tradeoff is performance. The lower-cost storage classes are slower and as a result take more time to fetch information, but that’s acceptable for most archived files because they rarely have to be retrieved in a hurry.  

Moving records between storage classes to optimize costs normally “requires you to build complex systems that understand the access patterns of objects for a long period of time and archive them,” Marcia Villalba, a senior developer advocate at AWS, explained in a blog post. S3 Intelligence-Tiering eliminates this barrier. “Already customers of S3 Intelligent-Tiering have realized cost savings up to 40% and now using the new archive access tiers they can reduce storage costs up to 95% for rarely accessed objects,” Villalba detailed.

Likewise in the interest of reducing costs for customers, AWS today lowered the price of the EBS Cold HDD storage class in its Elastic Block Store service by 40%. EBS Cold HDD is mainly used to support Hadoop clusters, log processing workloads and other big data applications.

Because AWS provides so many capacity options, administrators sometimes need to move data between two different storage classes when workload requirements change. This is now easier thanks to an update to AWS’ DataSync service, a service normally used to import records into the cloud platform from on-premises hardware. DataSync can now be leveraged to transfer records between Amazon S3, EBS and Amazon FSx for Windows File Server. 

Another service that received an update today is AWS Backup. It enables administrators to schedule automatic backups of their companies’ cloud workloads and perform related data protection tasks. AWS has added the ability to use AWS Backup with Windows workloads and Amazon FSx, a family of managed file systems offered by the cloud giant. 

“This feature simplifies multi-service application protection, backup task monitoring, automates retention, and eliminates the need for user-defined scripts or third-party solutions,” detailed Nancy Wang, the head of AWS Backup. 

Image: AWS

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