Amazon Introduces S3 Versioning

Today, Amazon Web Services introduced beta access to a versioning system across all S3 regions in their cloud. This means that you can now save additional copies of an object within S3, while retaining older copies behind the scenes. You can read the developer documentation about this new functionality in amongst the other Amazon Simple Storage Service docs.

I’ll be interested to see how long it takes for someone to build a Time Machine-style backup service using this new core functionality; retaining all revisions of all files stored within that volume. People are going to have to be a little careful about how much they store with this new model, because I imagine it will be very easy to start adding up a lot of space when storing duplicates of objects over time. It seems as if AWS stores full copies of objects (not partial differences between versions), so storage space should be easier to calculate/account for at least.

Versioning is enabled on a per-bucket basis, and you may also optionally require multi-factor authentication with a hardware device to delete versioned objects. The new functionality introduces a versionid concept for each object within a versioning-enabled bucket which keeps track of specific versions of an object, while a normal GET request will get the most recent version available.

It’s great to see Amazon continue innovating and listening to their customers. They are definitely not the only players in the cloud storage/computing game, but they seem to be doing a pretty good job at staying ahead of the curve.

  1. @om4james said:

    This is great news.

    It will be interesting to see how long it takes the popular clients (such as S3Fox) to implement this feature, and whether amazon ever implement any version cleanup routines (eg only keeping the last 10 versions, etc).

  2. Joseph Scott said:

    Dropbox gets a history of file changes for you, optionally forever (costs more).

    As for how much of the file is copied in an S3 version, I don't think that's clear. I suspect that's an implementation detail that they aren't sharing. That said, I'd be surprised if the versions were full copies on disk.

    • @om4james said:

      this link states:

      Normal Amazon S3 rates apply for every version of an object stored and transferred. Each version of an object is the entire object; it is not just a diff from the previous version. Thus, if you have three versions of an object stored, you are charged for three objects.

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