August 1, 2017

Why is the S3 cloud storage service the safest today?

Data is only as useful as what you can get out of it. You may want to do multiple things with your stored data. This includes analyzing data, looking at data in warehouses, archive data for compliance purposes, run lines of business applications that use this data and so on.

With email archiving you are primarily concerned with backing up and restoring data and recovering from disaster or local failures. If you choose to use local storage solutions such as hard disks, network storage services, SAN, USB etc, you are always dealing with the possibility of failure of one or more of these devices from time to time. There is a need to continuously plan and administer these services, to deal with the possibilities of failure.

Vaultastic is integrated with Amazon S3 which making it possible to consider both cloud storage and hybrid cloud storage.

The Amazon S3 service gives 11 9’s of durability. This exceedingly high number guarantees, that once you put an object in S3 you needn’t worry about losing this object. To achieve this extremely high durability, S3 is deliberately engineered as a service. Amazon operates what we call ‘regions’ which are physical infrastructure locations across the world. Currently there are 16 regions globally. Each region consists of multiple availability zones.

Availability zone is a term for one or more independent data centers. Each of these centers has redundant power, networking, connectivity, conditioning and so on. This deliberate design with availability zones and regions helps us and customers design for and achieve high levels of availability. So when you first write any object to S3, S3 will store multiple copies of this object within multiple devices in different facilities across 3 availability zones. Thus making sure that there is no data loss.

Because S3 is a service, internally what happens is that S3 has both a monitoring and self healing capability. This means that the service is inspecting all these multiple copies of the data to detect any corruption. If we find any corruption, we use redundant copies of the data to ensure the restoration of any corrupt objects to their original state. In this way it is also built to be automatically self healing, resulting in high durability.

The S3 cloud storage service has been in use for over 10 years. Serving 100’s of customers storing billions of objects and Exabyte’s of data (An Exabyte is a billion gigabytes of data). S3 cloud storage provides high performance at a massive scale. In other words, when you want to store data into S3 you need not provision the amount of data you wish to store beforehand. The service automatically gives you space for any amount of data that you wish to store.

When you wish to retrieve data, we are able to serve large number of requests as it is API based. There are customers who routinely perform hundreds, thousands or even millions of API operations retrieving and putting data into S3.

Besides API operations, there are multiple other mechanisms for both bringing data into S3 and transferring data out of S3. These include devices such as snowball and snowmobile, as well as mechanisms such as transfer acceleration, which lets you upload large objects by taking advantage of what is called cloud front or basically edge servers that are present in multiple networks across the world.

S3 today globally is also the storage service with the most comprehensive fleet of security and compliance capabilities.

When you put any data in S3 cloud storage, it is secure by default. Encryption protects the data as it travels to and from S3. You have multiple choices to protect the data at rest in S3. You can opt for what is called server side encryption.

This means that when you take out the data, S3 takes care of encrypting the data using a service called KMS or key management service. In addition to the server side encryption you can also choose to use client side encryption giving you two layers of protection.

Amazon ensures that the operation of the S3 service is compliant with multiple data security standards. There are independent auditors who validate that the operation of the service, our infrastructure, our teams that make these services highly available are following independent standards for accreditation such as BCI Compliance, Hippa, fedramp etc.

By providing a reliable storage primitive, AWS takes away all of the heavy lifting and the headache around making sure that once you archive email using Vaultastic, you will never lose it as it is using a highly available and durable service such as S3 cloud storage.

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