Sunday, February 19, 2012

Amazon AWS EC2 storage types


You can connect different storage types to Amazon EC2 instances, two of them provided naively by Amazon platform and the rest are either provided by external sources or tweaks.  In any EC2 instance (except micro) you have instance storage included in a package. You can also use elastic block storage (EBS) and have an option connecting different 3rd party storage over the network.
 
Instance storage is a fast non-persistent storage provided by Amazon. It means it will revert to it`s original state after any system shutdown, erasing any changes you have applied to the file-system. It is very useful for running “dumb” servers that do not store data locally or as an additional storage for temporary files.
 
Elastic block storage (EBS) is a persistent storage provided by Amazon. All and any data stored on it is available after instance shutdown and can be manipulated with on device level. For example you can detach an EBS volume from one instance and attach it to another. However EBS can not be attached to more then once instance at the same time.
 
Using S3 as a file system. S3 is a storage infrastructure provided by Amazon as a service, it is not a part of EC2 (Elastic cloud) but can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere at any time. Because S3 infrastructure is fully managed and scaled by Amazon it is very useful for large scale web projects, backup media and large volume data transfers. Using S3 as a file system is done via FUSE in Linux or as a mapped network drive in MS Windows. We are providing a tutorial on Linux implementation of S3 as a file system .
 
There are also few companies out there providing iSCSI storage arrays for AWS, one of them is Zadara storage, company providing Virtual Private Storage Arrays and currently in beta stage. iSCSI as any other network attached storage systems will incorporate persistence and availability of EBS at much faster speed.

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