Off-premise storage is a primary application for cloud-based computing services. However, creating a storage instance requires users to make several important decisions.
When the concept of cloud computing was first introduced, one of the primary applications touted as a benefit of such a system was off-site secure storage. Of course, convincing businesses to store vital data on third-party servers was not easy in the beginning, but now it is common, and in many cases best practice, to do just that.
All of the major cloud service providers offer an array of storage solutions, varying in scope, scalability, and use cases. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a storage service called S3 that is flexible enough to be useful for the smallest business or the largest enterprise. Amazon claims its S3 storage service has a data durability rating of 99.999999999% because it redundantly stores data copies across multiple systems located in various geographic locations.
This tutorial shows you how to create an instance of S3 storage using the AWS Console. Download the free ebook, AWS: 9 pro tips and best practices (free PDF).
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How to create an instance of S3 storage in AWS
Amazon S3 calls storage instances in its system "buckets" and charges customers for the service based on the level of consumption. Therefore, for this example, we will create a standard S3 storage bucket priced at $0.023/GB for the first 50TB consumed during a month.
First, log into the AWS Console using an account with administrative level credentials. Open the list of services and click the S3 item located under the storage category. You should see a screen similar to Figure A.
Click the Create Bucket button to reach the entry screen, shown in Figure B. Give your new bucket a valid name, pick a regional location, and then click the Next button.
On the next screen, shown in Figure C, you will make some configuration decisions. Under most circumstances, you will want to click the first checkbox to allow all data versions to be stored in the same bucket.
The second question on this page asks if you want to keep an access log for your S3 bucket; your answer to this question largely depends on what data will be stored in your bucket. Click the checkbox to turn it on and fill in the particulars of your look if you want to track access to your bucket; otherwise, leave it blank.
The next question asks you to fill in tags, which are useful for tracking project costs when you have many S3 buckets. Tags are beyond the scope of this tutorial.
As you scroll down the screen (Figure D), you will see checkboxes for adding object-level logging using CloudTrail and for adding encryption. CloudTrail is an add-on service that will help you track bucket activity—for an extra cost. Encryption for your stored data will add another level of security to your bucket but could also create processing overhead for continuously accessed data.
The last questions asks if you want to add yet another layer of management (CloudWatch) to your S3 bucket. Again, this service will increase your overall service cost.
When you are satisfied with your choices, click the Next button.
On the next screen (Figure E), you will be asked to choose a level of access. Unless you have a specific reason to make this particular S3 bucket and the data that will be stored there accessible to the public, it is recommended that you choose to deny all public access. Click Next when you have made your choices.
Review all your choices, and when you are satisfied, click the Create bucket button. In a few minutes, your new S3 bucket will be accessible and ready for data.
Back on the S3 dashboard page (Figure A), you will now see an entry for your recently created bucket. Click the bucket name, and you will be taken to a new screen (Figure F) where you can create folders and add data.
What ends up being stored on your new bucket and how it is organized is determined by the users. Just remember that you will be billed based on your consumption, so be judicious with your activity.
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