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InfoQ Homepage News Amazon Web Services Announces File Storage Service

Amazon Web Services Announces File Storage Service

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At the AWS Summit last week, Amazon has announced a new storage offering called Elastic File System.

AWS customers have multiple storage choices in the form of Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, Amazon Glacier. While these services cater to the object storage, block storage and archival requirements, AWS lacked filesystem-based shared storage. Amazon Elastic Block Storage can be attached to only one EC2 instance at a time. Amazon S3 uses REST API which cannot be directly accessed by applications that use native filesystem APIs. Customers had to use NFS or Gluster filesystem to configure shared storage for applications. Amazon’s new storage option, Elastic File System (EFS) addresses the need to create a filesystem based native storage for applications running in Amazon EC2 instances. Amazon EFS makes storage capacity elastic which can grow and shrink dynamically as the files are added and removed.

Amazon EFS is based on the Network File System version 4 (NFSv4) protocol, which is compatible with applications and tools used by customers. Multiple Amazon EC2 instances can access an Amazon EFS file system at the same time, providing a common data source for workloads and applications running on more than one instance.

Like most of the AWS services, Amazon EFS has a web services interface that allows developers to create and configure file systems programatically. The service manages the file storage infrastructure freeing customers from the complexity of deploying, patching, and maintaining file system deployments. The service is based on SSDs to deliver expected throughput, IOPS, and low latency needed for a variety of workloads.

Amazon EFS can be used for the following use cases:

  • Content repositories - CMS applications can store and access static content from a central storage location
  • Big Data - Applications that process large datasets that require high throughput to compute nodes coupled with read-after-write consistency and low-latency file operations can use EFS.
  • Dev/Test environments - Large development teams can use EFS to centrally store and access source code, binaries and other resources.
  • Home directories - Roaming profiles can be implemented by centrally storing the user profiles, settings and configurations.

The service is integrated with AWS Identity Access Management for role based access control. The command line interface can be used to automate provisioning and management.

Amazon EFS is charged based on the average storage space used throughout the month. The service costs $0.30/GB-month.

Currently available in preview, interested users can signup for early access.

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