Setting Up AWS S3 Replication: 2 Easy Methods

By: Published: August 27, 2020

aws s3 replication

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 enable 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 lead to the requirement of Replicating S3 to various destinations.

This article will discuss 2 methods to perform AWS S3 Replication. First, it will introduce you to the concept of AWS S3 Replication and then it will discuss the methods in detail. Read along to learn more about these 2 methods and decide which one suits you the best!

Table of Contents


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

Introduction to AWS S3

AWS S3 Logo
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Amazon S3 is Amazon’s cloud-based data storage platform, commonly known as Amazon Simple Storage Service. Amazon S3 hosts Amazon’s huge Cloud Computing Network as well as a large portion of the modern web, including Amazon’s website, Netflix, Facebook, and other sites.

It has strong integration capabilities, allowing customers to easily combine it with a variety of ETL tools to manage their data needs. Users can also use the Amazon S3 console or the Amazon S3 CLI to easily add, alter, view, and manipulate data in their Amazon S3 buckets. It includes support for a variety of computer languages, including Python, Java, Scala, and others, as well as a number of APIs, allowing users to securely manage, backup, and version their data.

To learn more about AWS S3, visit here.

Introduction to AWS 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 the source across Replicated instances 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. An increase in operational efficiency by having access to different data objects for computing modules in different regions also contributes 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.

To learn more about Data Replication, visit here.

Methods to Set Up AWS S3 Replication

Method 1: Using Replication Rule for AWS S3 Replication

Setting up AWS S3 Replication to another S3 bucket can be performed by adding a Replication rule to the source bucket. Then depending on the type of destination and type of Replication required, some further steps are needed.

Method 2: Using Hevo Data for AWS S3 Replication

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Methods to Set Up AWS S3 Replication

The AWS S3 Replication process can be easily carried out by using any one of the following methods:

Method 1: Using Replication Rule for 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. 

  • Step 1: Sign in to the AWS S3 management console and choose the name of the bucket you want.
  • Step 2: Select Replication in the management section as below. And click Add rule.
aws s3 replication
Image Source: Self
  • Step 3: We will Replicate the whole bucket in this case. Choose the entire bucket as given below.
aws s3 replication
Image Source: Self

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

  • Step 4: The next step is to select the destination. Select buckets in this account using the radio button as below.
aws s3 replication
Image Source: Self

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 them. You will be provided with a bucket policy that you need to ensure at the destination.

  • Step 5: 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
Image Source: Self

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. 

  • Step 6: Create a new IAM role for this transfer as below.
aws s3 replication
Image Source: Self

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

  • Step 7: Set the status of the Replication rule and click next to create the rule.
aws s3 replication
Image Source: Self

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.

Limitations of AWS S3 Replication using Replication Rule

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

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • Pricing of Replication when Replication time control is implemented is confusing and complicated. 

Method 2: Using Hevo Data for AWS S3 Replication

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Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline, helps you directly transfer data from AWS S3 and 100+ other data sources to Databases, Data Warehouses, BI tools, or a destination of your choice in a completely hassle-free & automated manner. Hevo is fully managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. Its fault-tolerant architecture ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.

Hevo Data takes care of all your data preprocessing needs and lets you focus on key business activities and draw a much powerful insight on how to generate more leads, retain customers, and take your business to new heights of profitability. It provides a consistent & reliable solution to manage data in real-time and always have analysis-ready data in your desired destination. 

Hevo Data can complete your AWS S3 Replication process in the following 2 steps:

  • Configure AWS S3 as Source for Hevo Data. This is shown in the below image.
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  • Provide required details based on the type of file CSV, JSON, etc., that you chose while configuring S3 as the source.

That’s it! Hevo will automate your Replication process according to the details that you filled.

To learn more about AWS Replication using Hevo Data, visit here.


The article explained, in brief, the process of AWS Replication and its importance. Furthermore, it provided 2 methods using which you can set up your AWS S3 Replication. Also, the article listed the limitations which are associated with the first method that uses the Replication Rule for the AWS S3 Replication process.

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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 Data. Hevo Data, 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.

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

Former Director of Product Management, Hevo Data

Vivek Sinha has extensive experience in real-time analytics and cloud-native technologies. With a focus on Apache Pinot, he was a driving force in shaping innovation and defensible differentiators, including enhanced query processing, data mutability support, and cost-effective tiered storage solutions at Hevo. He also demonstrates a passion for exploring and implementing innovative trends within the dynamic data industry landscape.

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