AWS S3 Replication: A Comprehensive Guide

on Tutorials • August 27th, 2020 • Write for Hevo


AWS S3 is a storage service offered by Amazon based on a pay-as-you-go model. S3’s intuitive user interface and easy to configure nature enables it to use in a large variety of use cases from simple fie storage to serving static websites and images. AWS S3 replication is an essential skill to have up your sleeve when working with S3. Amazon also offers a service called Redshift spectrum that allows users to query data existing in S3 by making use of the Redshift infrastructure. This means S3 can even be used as a complete data warehouse service.

S3 pricing mainly contains 4 components – Data storage charges, requests and data retrieval charges, data transfer and replication charges. Enterprise compliance policies and use case-specific scenarios often leads to the requirement of replicating S3 to various destinations.

In this post, we will discuss how to perform AWS S3 replication.


  • An AWS S3 account with IAM permissions for S3 usage
  • Basic understanding of replication concept.

You will be looking at the following:

Understanding S3 Replication

Replication helps you to copy data from one S3 bucket automatically without blocking operations. AWS S3 replication can replicate data across the different source and destination buckets irrespective of the account or region they belong to. Replication maintains the metadata including the origin and modification details of source across replicated instance thereby ensuring any audit trail requirements. The use cases behind the need for replication include having to keep the same data under different storage classes or different ownership structures.

AWS cross-region replication helps organizations to adhere to compliance requirements of having to keep data across multiple regions for risk mitigation. It can also help in minimizing latency in case your applications are being accessed from different geographical regions across the world. Increase in operational efficiency by having access to different data objects for computing modules in different regions also contribute to the use of cross-region replication.

AWS same region replication is often used to replicate data across production and test accounts. Some organizations also have data sovereignty compliance requirements that do not allow data to leave the same geographical region.

Hevo Data, Fully Managed Alternative to AWS S3 Replication

Hevo Data is a fully managed No-code Data Pipeline, which supports integrations with over a hundred different sources. You can replicate your data from AWS S3 with ease. Checkout how Hevo might be perfect for your needs. Here are just a few of Hevo’s many awesome features:

  • Fully Managed: It requires no management and maintenance as Hevo is a fully automated platform.
  • Data Transformation: It provides a simple interface to perfect, modify, and enrich the data you want to transfer. 
  • Real-Time: Hevo offers real-time data migration. So, your data is always ready for analysis.
  • Schema Management: Hevo can automatically detect the schema of the incoming data and maps it to the destination schema.
  • Live Monitoring: Advanced monitoring gives you a one-stop view to watch all the activities that occur within pipelines.
  • Live Support: Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support call.

You can, in fact, try it out first by signing up for the free 14-day trial.

Setting Up AWS S3 Replication

Setting up AWS S3 replication to another S3 bucket can be performed by adding a replication rule to the source bucket. In case you need to replicate to a bucket belonging to a different account, you will need to set up certain bucket policies at the destination bucket also. Let us begin adding a replication rule. 

  1. Sign in to AWS S3 management console and choose the name of the bucket you want.
  2. Select replication in the management section as below. And click Add rule.
aws s3 replication
  1. We will replicate the whole bucket in this case. Choose entire bucket as given below.
aws s3 replication

In case you choose to replicate buckets encrypted using AWS Key management service, you will need to select the correct key at this stage.

  1. Next step is to select the destination. Select buckets in this account using the radio button as below.
aws s3 replication

In case you require replicating to another account, select the other option. In this case, AWS will warn you about the bucket policies that should exist at the other end, since it cannot verify it. You will be provided with a bucket policy that you need to ensure at the destination.

  1. If you need to change the storage class of the destination object, do it through the drop-down in destination options as below.
aws s3 replication

You will also find a checkbox to enable replication time control. This option ensures that 99.99 % of all objects will be replicated under a service level agreement of 15 minutes. Please note that this incurs additional fees. 

  1. Create a new IAM role for this transfer as below.
aws s3 replication

If you already have a role with replication permission, it can be used.

  1. Set the status of the replication rule and click next to create the rule.
aws s3 replication

As soon as you create the rule with enabled status, the replication will start working. You can go into your destination bucket after a few minutes and ensure that the replication is indeed working.

Challenges in this Method

Now that you have learned how to setup replication in AWS S3, let us explore some of the real-world challenges that you often find while implementing this.

  1. S3 replication is easier to set up when the destination is S3 itself. The dynamics changes when the destination is a separate service inside AWS or another cloud provider. In that case, you will need to write custom modules to accomplish replication.
  2. The above method has limited ability to apply transformation before replicating the date. More often than not, this is a real requirement in enterprise replication scenarios. 
  3. Pricing of replication when replication time control is implemented is confusing and complicated. 


If the above challenges seem like a lot of trouble or if you want to replicate S3 to alternate destinations, you should consider a cloud-based ETL tool like Hevo.

Hevo, with its strong integration with 100+ sources & BI tools, allows you to export & load data and transform & enrich your data & make it analysis-ready in a jiffy.

Give Hevo a try by signing up for a 14-day free trial.

Have any further queries? Get in touch with us in the comments section below.

No-Code Data Pipeline for S3