Managing your storage lifecycle - Amazon Simple Storage Service

Managing your storage lifecycle

To manage your objects so that they're stored cost effectively throughout their lifecycle, create an Amazon S3 Lifecycle configuration. An Amazon S3 Lifecycle configuration is a set of rules that define actions that Amazon S3 applies to a group of objects. There are two types of actions:

  • Transition actions – These actions define when objects transition to another storage class. For example, you might choose to transition objects to the S3 Standard-IA storage class 30 days after creating them, or archive objects to the S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval storage class one year after creating them. For more information, see Using Amazon S3 storage classes.

    There are costs associated with lifecycle transition requests. For pricing information, see Amazon S3 pricing.

  • Expiration actions – These actions define when objects expire. Amazon S3 deletes expired objects on your behalf.

    Lifecycle expiration costs depend on when you choose to expire objects. For more information, see Expiring objects.


You can't use a bucket policy to prevent deletions or transitions by an S3 Lifecycle rule. For example, even if your bucket policy denies all actions for all principals, your S3 Lifecycle configuration still functions as normal.

Existing and new objects

When you add a Lifecycle configuration to a bucket, the configuration rules apply to both existing objects and objects that you add later. For example, if you add a Lifecycle configuration rule today with an expiration action that causes objects to expire 30 days after creation, Amazon S3 will queue for removal any existing objects that are more than 30 days old.

Changes in billing

If there is any delay between when an object becomes eligible for a lifecycle action and when Amazon S3 transfers or expires your object, billing changes are applied as soon as the object becomes eligible for the lifecycle action. For example, if an object is scheduled to expire and Amazon S3 doesn't immediately expire the object, you won't be charged for storage after the expiration time.

The one exception to this behavior is if you have a lifecycle rule to transition to the S3 Intelligent-Tiering storage class. In that case, billing changes don't occur until the object has transitioned to S3 Intelligent-Tiering.

For more information about S3 Lifecycle rules, see Lifecycle configuration elements.

Monitoring the effect of lifecycle rules

To monitor the effect of updates made by active lifecycle rules, see How do I monitor the actions taken by my lifecycle rules?.

Managing object lifecycle

Define S3 Lifecycle configuration rules for objects that have a well-defined lifecycle. For example:

  • If you upload periodic logs to a bucket, your application might need them for a week or a month. After that, you might want to delete them.

  • Some documents are frequently accessed for a limited period of time. After that, they are infrequently accessed. At some point, you might not need real-time access to them, but your organization or regulations might require you to archive them for a specific period. After that, you can delete them.

  • You might upload some types of data to Amazon S3 primarily for archival purposes. For example, you might archive digital media, financial and healthcare records, raw genomics sequence data, long-term database backups, and data that must be retained for regulatory compliance.

With S3 Lifecycle configuration rules, you can tell Amazon S3 to transition objects to less-expensive storage classes, or archive or delete them.

Creating a lifecycle configuration

An S3 Lifecycle configuration is an XML file that consists of a set of rules with predefined actions that you want Amazon S3 to perform on objects during their lifetime.

You can create a lifecycle configuration by using the Amazon S3 console, REST API, AWS SDKs, and the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI). For more information, see Setting a lifecycle configuration on a bucket.

Amazon S3 provides a set of REST API operations for managing lifecycle configuration on a bucket. Amazon S3 stores the configuration as a lifecycle subresource that's attached to your bucket. For details, see the following:

For more information about creating a lifecycle configuration, see the following topics: