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S3 and DBaaS: What to Choose for the Project?


The number of data increases annually. When considering flexibility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, traditional physical infrastructure often falls short, making it outdated. Both S3 object storage and DBaaS have emerged as popular solutions in response.

In this article, we will discuss the primary characteristics of both S3 and DBaaS, explore the ways they can be employed, and highlight scenarios where either DBaaS or S3 might be the optimal choice.

Object storage

S3 Storage, provided by most cloud providers, is compatible with the AWS S3 API, for example 3HCloud Object Storage. In S3 storage, files are represented as objects that consist of three parts:

  • content;
  • metadata;
  • ID that allows locating and managing the file.

Objects within the S3 storage system are grouped into buckets. Each bucket possesses a unique ID, which facilitates the differentiation of access rights, thereby enhancing file security.

S3 and DBaaS: What to Choose for the Project?

Features of S3 Storage

S3 storage comes with a multitude of features:

  1. Limits. Certain providers set restrictions on storage capacities. These may include limits on the number of containers within a project, individual container size, file sizes, and the number of GET requests allowed.
  2. Scalability. In the S3 architecture, the storage capacity is virtually unlimited, scaling alongside the data.
  3. Compatibility. S3 storage supports any file types.
  4. Management Simplicity:. Object storage allows you to manage files efficiently, including features like auto-deletion based on time parameters.
  5. Direct Access. Files can be accessed directly via their URLs.
  6. Metadata assignment. In object storage, every file has detailed metadata. This includes creation time, size, type, content, and other parameters. This simplifies the structuring and searching of objects.

It’s necessary to keep the features in mind while working with S3 storage.

Ways of Using S3 Storage in the Cloud

These options can be used while working with S3 storage:

  1. Cloud platform web-interface. To start using the storage, you need to create an account.
  2. File manager interfaces. Using S3 storage feels akin to navigating a cloud drive, complete with files, folders, and directories. CyberDuck is one such file manager example.
  3. S3 SDK. By using development toolkits, you can facilitate reading and writing through applications. It is available for many programming languages.
  4. AWS CLI.Through the command-line interface, you can create, update, and delete files in S3 storage.

Advantages and Disadvantages of S3 Storage

Advantages are the following:

  1. Flexible scaling. S3 storage allows for virtually limitless storage, accommodating an immense number and volume of objects.
  2. Easy content search. Unique metadata tags and URLs simplify the process of locating the required files.
  3. Security. The cloud provider ensures the security of the data in storage. Additionally, tools like ACL (Access Control List) and CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) can be implemented for enhanced protection.
  4. Automated Processes. Users can configure settings for automatic task execution based on specific triggers or events.
  5. Cost-effectiveness. There's no need to invest in infrastructure, as storage is provided as a pay-as-you-go service.

The disadvantage is that the S3 is not optimized for hot data storage, making it challenging to set up storage for quick file access.


Database as a Service (DBaaS) is a cloud computing model that provides users with a preconfigured database. Users benefit from an out-of-the-box solution, while the provider takes on the responsibility of maintaining the infrastructure's functionality.

Common scenarios for using DBaaS include:

  • Acquiring a reliable database without significant investments.
  • Implementing a uniform database across various business structures.
  • Transitioning business processes to the cloud to enhance flexibility and minimize risks.

Databases like PostgreSQL, MySQL, ClickHouse, Redis, and MongoDB are leveraged in the cloud through DBaaS.

DBaaS Features

When deploying databases in the cloud, it's important to be aware of their infrastructural characteristics.

  1. Different disk types are tailored for specific tasks. For systems requiring high fault tolerance, SSDs are the go-to. When response speed is paramount in high-load applications, Low Latency NVMe disks are the top pick.
  2. In cloud environments, a disk's performance is directly linked to its size. The cloud's I/O operations cap is tied to the available disk space, meaning expanding the disk size can lead to faster data processing.
  3. It's straightforward to adjust disk types and sizes on the go. These alterations can be made seamlessly via API or UI without any system downtime.
  4. The efficiency of a virtual machine (VM) is contingent upon its setup. Several factors, such as disk type and size, processor type, core count, and RAM, play a significant role in determining database performance.

Advantages and Disadvantages of DBaaS

The advantages of the cloud databases are the following:

  • Resilience. Enhancing reliability is possible by distributing instances across multiple data centers.
  • High-Level Security. DBaaS providers operate in secure and dependable environments, utilizing firewalls and antivirus solutions. The ability to establish isolated environments, use private virtual networks, and adapt Firewall settings with flexibility further enhances data security.
  • Scalability. You have the flexibility to modify the number of CPU cores, determine the RAM size, and select the type and size of storage drives, allowing for database scalability in response to varying loads.
  • Universal Access. While traditional databases are bound to their respective systems, cloud databases can be managed from the provider's portal, streamlining data collaboration.
  • Cost Efficiency. Leveraging cloud databases helps cut down on equipment and personnel expenses and transitions capital expenditures to operational ones.

The only downside of the DBaaS is the lack of detailed tuning. Cloud DB is primarily set up by the cloud provider. Security considerations mean users don't have access to pivotal configurations.

Key Differences Between S3 Repositories and DBaaS

When choosing between DBaaS and S3, it's essential to understand their main differences.

  1. Transactions. S3 repositories do not support transactions. In S3, data is written once and can be read multiple times. On the other hand, in relational databases, you can utilize functionalities like Rollback, ACID transactions, and more. If transactions are crucial for your operations, DBaaS would be the preferred choice.
  2. Data processing. In the S3 architecture, it is possible to separate the storage and computing layers. For instance, S3 manages the storage layer, while Kubernetes handles the computation layer. This separation makes S3 compatible with popular big data tools like Spark, ClickHouse, and Greenplum. Conversely, in DBaaS, the processing and storage layers are intertwined, resulting in faster data access and minimal delays.
  3. Cost Structure. S3 offers cost-effective storage, but charges apply for data transfer. In contrast, while you pay for resources with DBaaS, traffic typically comes at no extra cost.

S3 Usage Scenarios

  1. Log File Storage. S3 is perfect for holding vast quantities of log files.
  2. Serving Millions Simultaneously. With S3, audio, video, and image files can be conveniently accessed through a URL. 
  3. Media Storage. The architecture of S3 ensures that it can efficiently handle simultaneous requests from millions of users without slowing down.
  4. Backup and Data Recovery. 
  5. Development and Expedited Project Rollout. Beyond just storage, S3 can act as a codebase repository, making it easy to store various code iterations and their backups.
  6. Collaborative File Work. When teams need to access and work on shared files, S3 cloud storage emerges as a more efficient and cost-effective solution than maintaining a personal server.
  7. Digital Document Workflow. With features like version control, file tagging, unrestricted file sizes, HTTP/HTTPS protocol access, and built-in object lifecycle management, S3 excels in document handling and management.
  8. Big Data Initiatives.S3 is an apt choice for housing unstructured data, setting the stage for in-depth analysis down the road.

DBaaS Usage Scenarios

  1. OLTP and OLAP System Deployment. You can leverage cloud databases with both OLTP and OLAP systems for your data handling and analytical needs.
  2. Backup and Disaster Recovery: Use cloud databases as a secure bunker for your backups and replicas.
  3. Swift Application Development: Gone are the days of waiting around to set up a traditional database for development. With DBaaS, everything is ready to roll right out of the box, getting developers into the action in minutes.
  4. Feature and Update Testing: The flexibility of cloud databases shines when you need a testbed. Quickly spin up a DBaaS for your new features or updates, test to your heart's content, and then shut it down without a fuss.


S3 object storage and DBaaS services are among the top choices for cloud-based file storage. Both come with their unique strengths and cater to a multitude of use cases. However, based on key characteristics, they serve distinct purposes. Choose DBaaS if:

  • You require transactional support with capabilities like ACID properties.
  • You need a structured data model and consistent data access.
  • High-speed data access and minimal latency are crucial for your operations.
  • You're looking for an environment that supports complex queries and relationships between data entities.

On the other hand, S3 is the better option when:

  • You're dealing with unstructured or semi-structured data, such as raw logs, multimedia content, or large datasets.
  • You have vast volumes of data and require a scalable storage solution that can grow with your needs.
  • Cost-effectiveness is crucial, especially when considering long-term storage or archiving purposes.
  • You require a durable and highly available storage solution on an as a Service model.

It's essential to understand the nuanced differences between S3 and DBaaS to make an informed decision tailored to your specific needs and objectives.

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