Goal: Be able to copy an EBS snapshot to S3 and have it be treated like an arbitrary object that I could download to a local on-prem machine if I so wished.

I understand that EBS Snapshots are actually backed by S3 - they just don't show up in a "normal" bucket. The Console and CLI mechanisms that I see for copying snapshots seem to focus on copying a Snapshot from one region to another "as a snapshot", but not to S3 as an "arbitrary object".

From what I've read, the $/GB fee for an EBS Snapshot is higher than for that of an object in S3...so if I have some snapshots I'd like to keep around for a long time (but I won't need any time soon), I'd like to "archive" them to S3 as objects...Essentially:

  1. copy-as-object a snapshot to S3
  2. Delete Snapshot in EC2
  3. Five-Six months goes by
  4. Copy-as-snapshot the object in S3 to EC2
  5. Create a volume from the Snapshot that now shows up in EC2

Can this be done?

  • Don't quote me and I could very well be wrong, but I don't think so. Amazon don't want to make it easy to get your VMs out of AWS, so what you can do with them is limited.
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 6:03
  • I don't want to actually DL a big BLOB to a local machine, I just don't want to pay "premium storage" fees on something that is of middling value to me. This could very well be one of those "it is what it is" things, however. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 7:12
  • EBS snapshot storage pricing is now much closer to S3 pricing, for example EBS snapshots are $0.05 per GB/month compared to $0.023 for S3 Standard in us-east-1.
    – jarmod
    Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 13:55

4 Answers 4


Amazon does not offer this as a feature.


As at 11th August 2016 AWS Snapshots cost $0.05 per GB, a 47% reduction. Standard S3 is still cheaper, at around $0.03 per GB. I guess the difference must be in the management overhead.


I've now created an open-source tool called snap-to-s3 which accomplishes that. It turns the snapshot into a temporary EBS volume, then tars up, compresses and uploads the partitions of the volume to S3:


You can opt to use dd instead of tar to preserve every byte of the volume instead, if you like.


a not so easy trick:

  • attach EBS to an another machine (unmounted, read-only)
  • make a dd image of a volume
  • move dd image to S3

for restoring a dd image, look at How to restore a dd image to an EBS volume

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