AWS EBS (Amazon Elastic Block Store)

Amazon_EBSAmazon Elastic Block Storage

EBS is a virtualized SAN or storage area network. Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) provides persistence block level storage volumes for use with EC2 instances. EBS volumes are highly available and reliable storage volumes that can be attached to any running instance that is in the same Availability Zone.

With Amazon EBS, you pay only for what you use. For more information about Amazon EBS pricing, see the Projecting Costs section of the Amazon Elastic Block Store page.

EBS volumes are built on replicated back end storage, so that the failure of a single component will not cause data loss. The EBS product was introduced to the general public by Amazon in August 2008


Performance on EBS can exhibit variability. That is it can go above the SLA  performance level, then drop below it. The SLA ( sever level agreement ) provides you with an average disk I/O rate you can expect. This can frustrate some folks especially performance experts who expect reliable and consistent disk throughput on a server. Traditional physically hosted servers behave that way. Virtual AWS instances do not.

Volumes for EBS and Functionality of Amazon EBS

Amazon EBS offering high availability & durability. And it offers the consistent & low-latency performance needed to run your workloads.

EBS Magnetic volumes : You can create EBS Magnetic volumes from 1 GiB to 1 TiB in size

EBS General Purpose SSD (gp2) : General purpose SSD (Solid State Drives) volume that balances price and performance for a wide variety of transactional workloads You can create (1 GiB – 16 TiB)

Use cases:

  • Recommended for most workloads
  • System boot volumes
  • Virtual desktops
  • Low-latency interactive apps
  • Development and test environments

Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1): Highest-performance SSD volume designed for mission-critical applications (4 GiB – 16 TiB )

Use cases:

Critical business applications that require sustained IOPS performance, or more than 10,000 IOPS or 160 MiB/s of throughput per volume

Large database workloads, such as:

  • MongoDB
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft SQL Server

Throughput Optimized HDD (st 1): Low cost HDD volume designed for frequently accessed, throughput-intensive workloads (500 GiB – 16 TiB)

Use cases:

  • Streaming workloads requiring consistent, fast throughput at a low price
  • Big data
  • Data warehouses
  • Log processing
  • Cannot be a boot volume

Cold HDD (sc1): Lowest cost HDD volume designed for less frequently accessed workloads (500 GiB – 16 TiB )

Use cases:

  • Throughput-oriented storage for large volumes of data that is infrequently accessed
  • Scenarios where the lowest storage cost is important
  • Cannot be a boot volume

You can mount these volumes as devices on your Amazon EC2 instances. You can mount multiple volumes on the same instance, but each volume can be attached to only one instance at a time.

With General Purpose SSD volumes, your volume receives a base performance of 3 IOPS/GiB, with the ability to burst to 3,000 IOPS for extended periods of time.

General Purpose SSD volumes are ideal for a broad range of use cases such as boot volumes, small and medium size databases, and development and test environments. General Purpose SSD volumes support up to 10,000 IOPS and 160 MB/s of throughput.

With Provisioned IOPS SSD volumes, you can provision a specific level of I/O performance. Provisioned IOPS SSD volumes support up to 20,000 IOPS and 320 MB/s of throughput. This allows you to predictably scale to tens of thousands of IOPS per EC2 instance.

Amazon EBS Encryption: You can use encrypted EBS volumes to meet a wide range of data-at-rest encryption requirements for regulated/audited data and applications.

Ref: Amazon EBS Encryption.

Amazon EBS Snapshots: You can create point-in-time snapshots of EBS volumes, which are persisted to Amazon S3. Snapshots protect data for long-term durability, and they can be used as the starting point for new EBS volumes. The same snapshot can be used to instantiate as many volumes as you wish. These snapshots can be copied across AWS regions.

EBS volumes are created in a specific Availability Zone, and can then be attached to any instances in that same Availability Zone. To make a volume available outside of the Availability Zone, you can create a snapshot and restore that snapshot to a new volume anywhere in that region. You can copy snapshots to other regions and then restore them to new volumes there, making it easier to leverage multiple AWS regions for geographical expansion, data center migration, and disaster recovery.

Ref: Creating an Amazon EBS Snapshot, Restoring an Amazon EBS Volume from a Snapshot, and Copying an Amazon EBS Snapshot.

  • A large repository of public data set snapshots can be restored to EBS volumes and seamlessly integrated into AWS cloud-based applications.

Performance metrics, such as bandwidth, throughput, latency, and average queue length, are available through the AWS Management Console. These metrics, provided by Amazon CloudWatch, allow you to monitor the performance of your volumes to make sure that you are providing enough performance for your applications without paying for resources you don’t need.

For know more information go through AWS Documentation official website


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