S3 is a great, reliable place to keep your data if you are already using AWS, but don't fall down the rabbit hole of services.
Craig Nash | TrustRadius Reviewer
February 27, 2017

S3 is a great, reliable place to keep your data if you are already using AWS, but don't fall down the rabbit hole of services.

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)

We utilize Amazon web services as one of several preferred cloud providers, which we use to host WordPress sites after we have completed the design, giving the client a private, managed server cluster within the same price range of a basic WordPress host. We specifically use S3 as the primary storage location of all site content, and as a cache/cdn service. This lets us use the EC2 storage for storing only server related files, which reduces storage costs and potential data loss, as we can quickly rebuild our servers, while not having to worry about the safety and integrity of the sites content. We essentially use S3 in the same way one would use a NAS or SAN on a web hosting network, which is a fairly accurate comparison due to the integration and partnership that Amazon has with EMC, giving S3 similar functionality as a physical EMC SAN.
  • One of the main attractions of S3 is the quality of it's basic services, including security, stored data integrity, and data availability from almost anywhere via almost any system. The snapshot service is one of the best services offered through a cloud, and has always been a required feature for any SAN device I potentially purchase.
  • S3 has a strong partnership with EMC, which has allowed S3 to offer a wide variety of services and features that would normally require the customer to purchase an EC device, which opens up high-level storage to smaller companies at an affordable rate.
  • S3 has a major lead over other cloud providers due to the S3 service, and the wide range of capabilities. Instead of being a simple "drive" it can natively operate as a web server, hosting a wide array of static content, which reduces server load and costs. This is a major advantage, especially for someone operating within the free tier, where every little bit of processing power is an important resource.
  • The final selling point of S3 for myself, was the ability to connect into a wide variety of services, both local Amazon services, such as CloudFront CDN, and remote non-Amazon services such as WordPress backup solutions, which ends up keeping all of my data across the organization at one easy to access, and secure location.
  • While S3 has a huge list of available services, the services themselves tend to be lacking, such as the web server capability being able to only host static HTML content.
  • The additional capabilities have gotten a bit "out of hand" in terms of the amount of services available, which seemingly follow no particular grouping, which can make venturing beyond basic S3 storage services a daunting, and confusing endeavor.
  • Not having any storage "packages" for serving data is a big negative, as we would feel more comfortable with a set package, and a known monthly cost, rather than a fluctuating service billed by time x data.
  • S3 has definitely simplified our work, and the amount of work required of us when deploying with AWS, by letting all important and irreplaceable data to be stored in one location and utilized by multiple services.
  • The Snapshot service has turned data migration and maintenance from a stressful, time-consuming service similar to disarming a bomb, into a quick and carefree service, letting us roll back to a working version of data with a simple click of the mouse, and reverse human errors quickly, before any damages are accrued.
  • The caching and CDN capabilities provided by integrating S3 with CloudFront is another, invaluable service that gives our server clusters another head up on the competition in terms of speed and access.
In terms of AWS services, S3 is the best storage solution offered that gives us security and reliability with a wide, even if it is too wide at times, array of services making it a cost effective solution. However, when compared to other large cloud providers, such as Google & Azure, the selection process and benefits become harder to define as benefits are realized on a per-project basis. S3 is definitely a solid choice, due to the partnerships with EMC and branding, but the over abundant additional services, while nice, makes the service feel a bit pieced together, and not stable, compared to other services designed more as pure storage containers, such as Google Cloud Storage, which has already been proven as a reliable service by the millions of customers utilizing Google Cloud Drive.
I feel S3 is best used by a company looking to primarily use it as a safe and secure location to store high-availability data, leaving the additional services as an option for future expansions. Myself, and several other cloud architects I have spoken with have shared another scenario that fits S3, and other AWS services quite well, which is a startup using the free-tier with the Activate program. If done correctly, several S3 capabilities can be employed to offload tasks from underpowered virtual servers, letting the entire system become faster and more reliable.