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Harinder Seera πŸ‡­πŸ‡² for AWS Community Builders

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AWS S3 - Understanding S3 Billing & Usage For Beginners

Early on in my AWS Cloud Cost Optimization journey, I realized I needed to gain operational and financial knowledge of the business if I wanted to assist them with cost optimization. And not just have the technical skills.

One of the first areas I focused my attention was to understand, explorer and decipher the AWS monthly billing and usage reports. Most organizations will, to some extent, rely on these reports to understand their cloud cost utilization. Other organizations may leverage other reporting tools (i.e Cloudability) to get same data that AWS billing and usage reports provide.

At first, it can be a challenge to understand the AWS monthly billing report. It is partially due to not being familiar with the different AWS services and AWS's use of codes & abbreviations to break down service costs further. Knowing these codes and abbreviations can assist you in quickly discovering and narrowing down the functionalities that need immediate attention for cost optimization. It also gives you a starting point for a discussion with the business and IT. In the article, the focus will be on understanding some of the codes & abbreviations used for Simple Storage Service billing.

A screenshot of AWS Billing for the Simple Storage Service is shown below. Do you know what Tier 1, Tier 2 codes mean in the usage type category? What does the abbreviation APS2 stand for?

S3 bill

AWS billing for a service is often segmented by region. As a result, if you run the same service in different regions, you will obtain a breakdown of your service cost by region. As seen in the preceding screenshot, each region's abbreviation is unique. For example, the Asia-Pacific (Sydney) region is abbreviated as APS2. One notable exception is the United States' East (N. Virginia) region. This region will have either the USE1 abbreviation or no prefix. As shown in the screenshot above, Tier2 requests for N. Virginia do not have a region abbreviation.

The next most common code or abbreviation you will notice is the Tier postfix (i.e., region-Requests-Tier1, region-Requests-Tier2 etc.) in the usage type category. Each tier has a separate purpose and charges associated with it. Here are some of the common usage type you might see in the report.

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service region-Requests-Tier1: This is for the PUT, COPY, POST, or LIST requests requests for STANDARD, RRS, and tags. In the above screenshot the cost for Tier1 requests for APS2 region is $0.0055 per 1,000 PUT, COPY, POST, or LIST requests.

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service region-Requests-Tier2: This is for GET and all other non-Tier1 requests. In the above screenshot the cost for Tier2 requests for APS2 region is $0.0044 per 10,000 GET and all other non-Tier1 requests.

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service region-Requests-Tier3: This is for S3 Glacier or S3 Glacier Deep Archive and standard S3 Glacier restore requests.

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service region-Requests-Tier4: This is for how many transitions to Standard-Infrequent Access you requested.

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service region-Requests-Tier5: This is for the Bulk S3 Glacier restore requests

  • Amazon Simple Storage Service region-Requests-Tier6: This is for the Expedited S3 Glacier restore requests

In the S3 usage type category, you'll also notice various other abbreviations and codes (in bold), such as:

  • region-Retrieval-SIA: SIA stands for STANDARD_IA storage

  • region-Retrieval-ZIA: ZIA stands for ONEZONE_IA storage

  • region-TimedStorage-GDA-ByteHrs: GDA stands for S3 Glacier Deep Archive

  • region-TimedStorage-INT-FA-ByteHrs: INT-FA stands for frequent access tier of INTELLIGENT_TIERING storage

  • region-TimedStorage-INT-IA-ByteHrs: INT-IA stands for infrequent access tier of INTELLIGENT_TIERING storage

  • region-TimedStorage-RRS-ByteHrs: RRS stands for Reduced Redundancy Storage

Here is another AWS billing example for the Simple Storage service, this time with other usage types along with request-tiers. This time you have Simple Storage Service charges broken down by usage type such as region-TimedStorage-INT-IA-ByteHrs, region-Monitoring-Automation-INT, region-TimedStorage-ZIA-smObjects, and so forth.


You also have "TimedStorage-ByteHrs" which is referred to storage usage per hour, which is added up at the end of the month to generate monthly charges. You can have different usage types with "TimedStorage-ByteHrs" as shown in the above screenshot.

The AWS github repository provides you with more information on all S3-related usage types that you might potentially see reported in your AWS bill based on your usage.

Thanks for reading!

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