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Choosing an AWS storage option

Storage is an essential component of the cloud world. You could say that storage IS the cloud. The decision of which storage option you choose will affect the scalability, reliability, availability, latency and cost of the data you’re storing, and is the topic of this month’s SearchAWS handbook, “Sorting through AWS Data Storage options”.

Amazon’s object storage system, Simple Storage Service (S3) offers developers many options when it comes to storing and managing large volumes of data in the cloud. In object based storage systems, like Amazon S3, data is stored and organized in buckets, not files. Buckets can store up to 5 terabytes of data.

If you’re looking for a smaller storage system, Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) is a better choice. Amazon EBS provides block storage devices that are attached to EC2 instances. Users can format Amazon EBS volumes to fit the storage option of their choice, like Amazon S3. In part one, Author Dan Sullivan explores both options and which makes the most sense for your enterprise.

When considering storage, encryption tops the list. Encrypting data can save your business from hackers and lawsuits. While Amazon S3 and EBS both offer security, S3 offers Server Side Encryption that encrypts data at rest and in transit. Business technology advisor Ofir Nachmani explains how AWS services are designed to work together in a seamless workflow, but capabilities still lack in areas.

Due to recent public cloud breaches it’s understandable why customers are hesitant to make the leap from their private cloud. AWS’s encryption choices, and the option for customers to use their own encryption keys, may help make the private to public cloud transition easier. If you find it too overwhelming to be responsible for an encryption key, AWS offers AWS CloudHSM, physical hardware that will manage encryption keys for customers.

If you’re still concerned about a smooth workflow, Dan Sullivan discusses how the AWS Data Pipeline is designed to ease your fears. AWS Data Pipeline provides definitions that customers can define with specific tasks to perform and scheduling information that explains when to run the definition. The AWS Data Pipeline assigns tasks to “Task Runners” which perform their task, like reattempting failed tasks, and report the status back to the Data Pipeline.

Remember, whichever AWS storage system you choose, take into account the storage capacity of the service, the length of time it stores files or objects, which other AWS services it will work with and what type of encryption the storage service offers.

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