Creating and Using S3 Object Storage

Creating and Using S3 Object Storage

In times of high availability and multiple web servers, the balancing act between central data storage, data security and fast access times must somehow be achieved. This is precisely why more and more users are now using technologies that entice them with buzzwords such as S3, buckets, object storage and Swift. We at NETWAYS Web Services have been offering this for some time, but we have noticed that it is apparently not documented enough for our customers. To shed some light on this, we have created this article. This explanation is therefore given piece by piece:

  • Why Object Storage
  • Creating S3-Credentials via Openstack-API
  • Configuration of s3cmd
  • Create a New Bucket
  • Place Files in the Bucket
  • List Contents of Bucket
  • Download Files from a Bucket
  • Further s3cmd Application Uses
  • Conclusion

Why Object Storage?

S3 Object storage offers many advantages over locally stored data or classic NFS storage because an NFS setup often consists of only one server and thus represents the single point of failure. The administrator must also always be concerned about the performance of the storage and the operating web servers. Another advantage of object storage is the size and number of data to be stored. This is because, in the case of object storage, the data is unlimited. The provider of the object storage (i.e. in the current case NWS) ensures that the space here never runs out. With your own NFS, the size must be taken into account in the planning from the beginning and the customer pays for the planned reserve in the long run. With object storage, only the volume that is used is paid for. Also worth mentioning is the relief of the web server, especially with regard to locally stored data. Imagine the following architecture: The application is run on several web servers, images and other objects are stored in the object storage and delivered directly to the website visitor through intelligent integration without burdening the own web servers or their bandwidth. In short, you tell your application not to deliver this image, but the application only passes on the path of the stored image to the visitor. The image is ultimately delivered directly from the Rados gateway behind it and was never delivered from the app server. This means that it reaches the website visitor quickly, saves bandwidth and reduces the load on one’s own web server, and is nevertheless kept centralised. By the way, the object storage uses our Ceph, where all the data is distributed over a large number of systems and naturally also has corresponding replica sets.

Creating S3-Credentials via Openstack-API

To be able to use an object storage at NWS, an OpenStack account is required. Once this is ready, the process can begin. In OpenStack, go to the menu item “API Access” and download the OpenStack RC file (top right). The script that has just been downloaded is now started on the local machine. All that is required is the OpenStack password. But beware, an OpenStack client is required.

Please enter your OpenStack Password for project 9231-openstack-4707c as user 9231-openstack-4707c:

Now the EC2 credentials for the S3 access must be created, for this purpose the command

openstack ec2 credentials create

The result provides output similar to the following

| Field      | Value                                                                                                                                   |
| access     | aceab8b6b85c51f8d3b305aec1af39c2                                                                                                        |
| links      | {'self': ''} |
| project_id | a40c737aaf3027d87e98f309f9f671d4                                                                                                        |
| secret     | e5d312a7627cdf2a87ac4322a6d7716b                                                                                                        |
| trust_id   | None                                                                                                                                    |
| user_id    | 24c527b4929f10bd6c6ee09af4b30be2                                                                                                        |

Configuration of s3cmd

For further use, s3cmd is now configured. This requires an installed s3cmd. The setup starts by means of

s3cmd --configure

In the following wizard, the previously created data is entered, which then looks something like this (relevant entries in bold)

s3cmd --configure

Enter new values or accept defaults in brackets with Enter.
Refer to the user manual for a detailed description of all options.

Access key and Secret key are your identifiers for Amazon S3. Leave them empty for using the env variables.
Access Key: aceab8b6b85c51f8d3b305aec1af39c2
Secret Key: e5d312a7627cdf2a87ac4322a6d7716b
Default Region [US]:

Use "" for S3 Endpoint and not modify it to the target Amazon S3.
S3 Endpoint []:

Use "%(bucket)" to the target Amazon S3. "%(bucket)s" and "%(location)s" vars can be used
if the target S3 system supports dns based buckets.
DNS-style bucket+hostname:port template for accessing a bucket [%(bucket)]:

Encryption password is used to protect your files from reading
by unauthorized persons while in transfer to S3
Encryption password:
Path to GPG program:

When using secure HTTPS protocol all communication with Amazon S3
servers is protected from 3rd party eavesdropping. This method is
slower than plain HTTP, and can only be proxied with Python 2.7 or newer
Use HTTPS protocol [Yes]:

On some networks all internet access must go through a HTTP proxy.
Try setting it here if you can't connect to S3 directly
HTTP Proxy server name:

New settings:
Access Key: aceab8b6b85c51f8d3b305aec1af39c2
Secret Key: e5d312a7627cdf2a87ac4322a6d7716b
Default Region: US
S3 Endpoint:
DNS-style bucket+hostname:port template for accessing a bucket:
Encryption password:
Path to GPG program: None
Use HTTPS protocol: True
HTTP Proxy server name:
HTTP Proxy server port: 0

Test access with supplied credentials? [Y/n] n

Save settings? [y/N] y
Configuration saved to '/Users/gmimietz/.s3cfg'

In order for the S3 commands to work as desired, a small adjustment has to be made to the config that was just created

vim ~/.s3cfg

There the line

signature_v2 = False

is adapted to

signature_v2 = True

After saving, the application can now begin.

Creating a new Bucket

A new bucket is created using the following command

s3cmd mb s3://myfirstbucket

To check the creation of the bucket, it is listed with the command

s3cmd ls

Place Files in the Bucket

Time to upload the first files. The put parameter is used for this

s3cmd put /Users/gmimietz/Downloads/water.liquid s3://myfirstbucket/

List Contents of Bucket

To see what is in the bucket that has just been filled, the ls command lists the contents. However, this is now expanded by the bucket name

s3cmd ls s3://myfirstbucket 
2021-02-02 11:04 402088862 s3://myfirstbucket/water.liquid

Download files from a Bucket

The file that has just been uploaded can now be downloaded using the get parameter.

s3cmd get s3://myfirstbucket/water.liquid

Further s3cmd Application Uses

Below are some helpful commands: Move an object from one bucket to another:

s3cmd mv s3://myfirstbucket/water.liquid s3://mysecondbucket

Store an object encrypted in the bucket (requires a predefined passphrase). (s3cmd –configure)

s3cmd put fire.element s3://myfirstbucket -e

A very valuable command is the sync to synchronise a local directory with a bucket (everything below /important-data is synced to s3://myfirstbucket/backup/)

s3cmd sync /important-data/ s3://myfirstbucket/backup/

To conserve bandwidth in certain use cases, the –limit-rate option helps, this defaults to bytes but the option also recognises a k or m suffix (kilo/megabyte) per second

s3cmd put myfile s3://myfirstbucket --limit-rate=1k


Of course, there are many more parameters for the s3cmd, all of which can be listed using –help. When using s3, however, modern and elegant procedures can also be included, e.g. the lifetime of a file with a predefined deletion date. In OpenStack you can also see what the object storage is doing by navigating to the corresponding menu via Project>Object Storage. By the way, our object storage also works with swift – so it is also addressed by OpenStack itself. So a mixed operation of S3 and swift is possible at your discretion. We have not yet documented swift further, but our friendly MyEngineers will be happy to provide information on request.

The prices for our object storage and everything else we offer at NWS can be found here at any time.

Start a project and create the first server

Start a project and create the first server

We are celebrating successes with our new OpenStack environment – performance, stability, flexibility and favourable prices are convincing our customers. However, the multitude of functions overwhelms some users when they first start using it. We are happy to help shed light on this and show how easy it actually is.

To begin with, we need a NWS account. This can be created free of charge at All you have to do is enter an email address and the desired password, as well as whether you want a business or standard account. A short time later, a validation link is sent by e-mail. After confirming the account, you can already log in. A demo credit card is stored for the quick start, but it is advisable to store the desired payment method (credit card/invoice/PayPal) via the account tile on the upper left -> “Edit payment”.

Now, under the account tile “Edit profile”, we enter our desired billing data, email address for sending the invoice, etc. and validate our account via phone call or SMS.

Finally, the click on “Start app now” brings us to our goal – here you just have to follow the OpenStack button and confirm the unpopular clauses on terms and conditions and data protection – but what has to be, has to be.

Now our App overview shows our OpenStack. Just one click away, behind the inconspicuous tile, you will find all the important information you need to get started.
Since we got a new NWS frontend, you could use the “Servers” button to create a vm very easily in one step. But this article is about OpenStack, so we go on.

After a click on the web interface link the OpenStack login window appears. The login details herefore differ from those, which grant access to NWS, but can be extracted from the OpenStack app details.

So we now insert the data we have spotted. Our OpenStack application is available via

That’s it – our OpenStack is ready and waiting for the first server to be created.

Start the first machine

Don’t worry – this is also almost as easy.

Let’s navigate to “Compute”-> “Instances” and start a new instance in the upper right corner.


In the first step we assign a name for our instance.

Now we work through the other tabs on the left and check the “Source” tab.

Here we select “Image” as the boot source and choose the desired operating system from the list at the bottom (the arrow on the far right to select). The question “Create New Volume” needs to be answered.
If you click “Yes”, you will get an vm with Ceph network storage volume. It will be replicated threefold at two locations. If the hypervisor dies where the vm is running on, we will start it on another host.
“No” will lead to creation of this vm on an ssd on the hypervisor. It will be faster, but will also have the disadvantage that its data lies on just one physical host (RAID 1). Assumed a hypervisor is broken theses vms will be not recoverable until it is fixed.
Windows server enthusiasts please choose “No” for performance reasons.

The menu item Flavour offers various presets for the desired sizes of the machines. Here you select what you need. Is a desired flavour missing? Just send us a short email and we will take care of it!

The next tab is all about networking, where our OpenStack network is selected, which is the same as our OpenStack project.

For the moment, we will ignore a few tabs and turn our attention to the Key-Pair tab.

Using the button “Import Key Pair”, we import our SSH pubkey in its original form and give it a name of our choice. This is also clicked “up” again.

Finally, the instance can be started – only a few seconds later it is ready.

However, two things still need to be done before it can be used for the first time.

Assign a floating IP

To do this, we click on the small arrow pointing downwards on “Associate Floating IP” in the machine overview on the right of the desired machine, obtain a new IP from the pool using “+” and assign it to the machine.

Now we see that the machine has an IP in the internal network, as well as the currently assigned floating IP – we need this later to connect to the machine.

Edit security groups

Our OpenStack already comes with a firewall. Therefore, access via SSH or RDP does not work yet. However, this is also done with a few clicks.

In the main navigation of OpenStack we go to Network->Security Groups. Here we “Manage” the “Rules” of our default security group via “Manage Rules” and add a new rule for SSH via “Add Rule” and release all networks for access for the time being.

Since all created machines already contain the “default” rule, access to the machine via SSH works from now on. In later articles we will go into more detail about handling security groups and assigning them to machines, but that would go beyond the scope of this article.

In this article we go into more detail about the security groups.

Connect with machines

If all steps have been carried out as described, you can now connect to the machine via SSH using the floating IP. For Ubuntu systems, connect as user ubuntu, for Debian as debian, and so on. For Windows machines, you can enter the password when you start the machine for the first time; to do this, you have to click through the details in the instance overview of the machine.


Time is money – for us too! That’s why all machines and individually used resources are billed by the hour (prices here) at fair and transparent prices. Therefore you can keep an eye on everything, we have recorded the current costs and the forecast for the current month (assuming constant use) in our cost calculator.


Need more?

No problem. With a little patience, more and more articles will come here. If you can’t wait or don’t want to bother, you can book a remote training with us, watch our webinar or book our competent MyEngineers.