Use Amazon S3 with Amazon EC2 - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
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Use Amazon S3 with Amazon EC2

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. You can use Amazon S3 to store and retrieve any amount of data for a range of use cases, such as data lakes, websites, backups, and big data analytics, from an Amazon EC2 instance or from anywhere over the internet. For more information, see What is Amazon S3?

Objects are the fundamental entities stored in Amazon S3. Every object stored in Amazon S3 is contained in a bucket. Buckets organize the Amazon S3 namespace at the highest level and identify the account responsible for that storage. Amazon S3 buckets are similar to internet domain names. Objects stored in the buckets have a unique key value and are retrieved using a URL. For example, if an object with a key value /photos/mygarden.jpg is stored in the DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET1 bucket, then it is addressable using the URL For more information, see How Amazon S3 works.

Usage examples

Given the benefits of Amazon S3 for storage, you might decide to use this service to store files and data sets for use with EC2 instances. There are several ways to move data to and from Amazon S3 to your instances. In addition to the examples discussed below, there are a variety of tools that people have written that you can use to access your data in Amazon S3 from your computer or your instance. Some of the common ones are discussed in the Amazon forums.

If you have permission, you can copy a file to or from Amazon S3 and your instance using one of the following methods.

GET or wget


This method works for public objects only. If the object is not public, you receive an ERROR 403: Forbidden message. If you receive this error, you must use either the Amazon S3 console, Amazon CLI, Amazon API, Amazon SDK, or Amazon Tools for Windows PowerShell, and you must have the required permissions. For more information, see Identity and access management in Amazon S3 and Downloading an object in the Amazon S3 User Guide.

The wget utility is an HTTP and FTP client that allows you to download public objects from Amazon S3. It is installed by default in Amazon Linux and most other distributions, and available for download on Windows. To download an Amazon S3 object, use the following command, substituting the URL of the object to download.

[ec2-user ~]$ wget
Amazon Command Line Interface

The Amazon Command Line Interface (Amazon CLI) is a unified tool to manage your Amazon services. The Amazon CLI enables users to authenticate themselves and download restricted items from Amazon S3 and also to upload items. For more information, such as how to install and configure the tools, see the Amazon Command Line Interface detail page.

The aws s3 cp command is similar to the Unix cp command. You can copy files from Amazon S3 to your instance, copy files from your instance to Amazon S3, and copy files from one Amazon S3 location to another.

Use the following command to copy an object from Amazon S3 to your instance.

[ec2-user ~]$ aws s3 cp s3://my_bucket/my_folder/my_file.ext my_copied_file.ext

Use the following command to copy an object from your instance back into Amazon S3.

[ec2-user ~]$ aws s3 cp my_copied_file.ext s3://my_bucket/my_folder/my_file.ext

The aws s3 sync command can synchronize an entire Amazon S3 bucket to a local directory location. This can be helpful for downloading a data set and keeping the local copy up-to-date with the remote set. If you have the proper permissions on the Amazon S3 bucket, you can push your local directory back up to the cloud when you are finished by reversing the source and destination locations in the command.

Use the following command to download an entire Amazon S3 bucket to a local directory on your instance.

[ec2-user ~]$ aws s3 sync s3://remote_S3_bucket local_directory
Amazon S3 API

If you are a developer, you can use an API to access data in Amazon S3. You can use this API to help develop your application and integrate it with other APIs and SDKs. For more information, see Code examples for Amazon S3 using Amazon SDKs in the Amazon S3 User Guide.