AWS S3 is powerful and fast, but it comes at a cost
September 23, 2019

AWS S3 is powerful and fast, but it comes at a cost

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service)

We use S3 to host customer-facing static content. It's a reliable, inexpensive and API-controllable way to do this, which has allowed us to build up in-house publishing workflows that push content to S3 on-demand as it's created. We initially considered using this in tandem with Cloud Front for global edge caching, but have since decided that S3 alone is sufficient for our needs.
  • Fast: S3 is quite fast, even when compared to other similar hosting and storage setups that aim to compete with S3.
  • Reliable: AWS, in general, has great uptime and reliability.
  • Powerful: S3's APIs are quite powerful and fairly flexible, meaning that with sufficient engineering investment you can do a whole lot with S3.
  • Expensive: S3 isn't cheap; when the speed and capacity is overkill, we've ended up looking elsewhere for hosting and storage.
  • Complexity: S3 is (like the rest of AWS) a profoundly complicated platform, and there's a steep learning curve to use it.
  • Customer support: AWS has not had particularly meaningful or useful customer support in our experience. You're really on your own with the platform.
  • S3 has helped us usefully version and archive static content, and once we got that up and running the ongoing maintenance costs and effort have been quite low.
  • S3's interactions with CloudFront, on the other hand, are often counter-intuitive and resulted in us abandoning a project to make use of CloudFront partway through.
I should caveat this review with the fact that we have not paid for or used AWS Premium Support, so our support experience is with their baseline customer support setup, but we've found that lacking. Some of the biggest roadblocks we've run into have been resolved by random commenters on Stack Overflow, which is never a great state of affairs. Customer support is not a reason to recommend S3.

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If you need a powerful, fast and API-accessible storage or archiving solution, and you're willing to invest the time, S3 may be a great solution for you. If your use-case is particularly cost-sensitive, or if you are turned off by the complexity of Amazon's APIs (and the paucity of customer support), this may not be the platform for you. The additional cost and complexity of working with S3 really need to be worthwhile to take the plunge.