As storage technology has evolved from traditional tape based storage, to file-level systems to block storage, a number of vendor and storage products have cropped up. In a fairly crowded storage marketplace, the usage of Amazon Elastic Block Storage or EBS has grown rather quickly, and there are a number of reasons for this. For those still living in the tape storage world, here is a quick run of Amazon EBS and how this persistent storage option in the AWS Cloud is changing the dynamics of the storage marketplace globally.
EBS offers comes as an attached block-level storage with every EC2 instance, and has the same infrastructural strengths that AWS offers – including massive scalability, simple provisioning, easy configuration, auto scaling and load balancing. EBS volumes are available as SSD (maximum IOPS, for transactional workloads) and HDD (high latency, for large static workloads). AWS has made fast and significant developments across its portfolio of storage products, with EBS especially going through rapid evolution, in terms of new features and capabilities.
Here are some of the key features of EBS that differentiate it from other virtualized block storage options in the marketplace.
Elastic Volumes: This feature provides dynamic scalability to EBS volumes in runtime, through API calls, without impacting availability or performance. This allows users to scale up or ramp down storage infrastructure in real-time, without switching off the instance. Businesses with continuously fluctuating workloads and sudden surges in storage needs benefit greatly from this feature.
EBS Snapshots: Point-in-time snapshots of EBS volumes can be taken and backed up (in Amazon S3). Snapshots can be used to set up new volumes quickly, and therefore help accelerate expansion across geographies and datacenters. The other obvious advantage of maintaining snapshots is DR and business continuity. EBS Snapshots are incremental in nature, which means that only changes to the EBS volume are saved in future snapshots.
Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager (DLM): This recently launched feature within AWS allows you to pre-schedule the time frames at which EBS Snapshots should be saved. DLM allows users to automate the process of point-in-time EBS backups, through a simple “Snapshot Lifecycle Policy” feature provided by AWS.
Encryption: AWS EBS allows you to encrypt all stored data on EC2 instances. The encryption keys are generated and managed by EBS, thus simplifying the encryption process for users.
While AWS provides a number of storage options such as S3, EFS and EBS, the lowest priced storage option (with fairly high IOPS) is EBS. This makes EBS the best option for backup and retrieval solutions. NTT Comm. – Netmagic has significant experience in EBS setup for storage and backups, and also partners with leading Backup-as-a-Service solution providers like Commvault, Veeam, and many more. Organizations that wish to migrate their existing backup and retrieval environment to Amazon EBS need to work closely with leaders like AWS, Netmagic and N2WS for optimized, cost-effective solutions.