Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide (API Version 2014-06-15)
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Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)

Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) provides block level storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 instances. Amazon EBS volumes are highly available and reliable storage volumes that can be attached to any running instance that is in the same Availability Zone. Amazon EBS volumes that are attached to an Amazon EC2 instance are exposed as storage volumes that persist independently from the life of the instance. 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.

Amazon EBS is recommended when data changes frequently and requires long-term persistence. Amazon EBS volumes are particularly well-suited for use as the primary storage for file systems, databases, or for any applications that require fine granular updates and access to raw, unformatted, block-level storage. Amazon EBS is particularly helpful for database-style applications that frequently encounter many random reads and writes across the data set.

For simplified data encryption, you can launch your Amazon EBS volumes as encrypted volumes. Amazon EBS encryption offers you a simple encryption solution for your EBS volumes without the need for you to build, manage, and secure your own key management infrastructure. When you create an encrypted EBS volume and attach it to a supported instance type, data stored at rest on the volume, disk I/O, and snapshots created from the volume are all encrypted. The encryption occurs on the servers that hosts EC2 instances, providing encryption of data-in-transit from EC2 instances to EBS storage. For more information, see Amazon EBS Encryption.

You can attach multiple volumes to the same instance within the limits specified by your AWS account. Your account has a limit on the number of Amazon EBS volumes that you can use, and the total storage available to you. For more information about these limits, and how to request an increase in your limits, see Request to Increase the Amazon EBS Volume Limit.

Features of Amazon EBS

  • You can create Amazon EBS storage volumes from 1 GiB to 1 TiB in size and mount them 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. For more information, see Creating a New Amazon EBS Volume.

  • 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. For more information, see Provisioned IOPS (SSD) Volumes.

  • With Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes, you can provision a specific level of I/O performance, up to 4000 IOPS per volume. This allows you to predictably scale to thousands of IOPS per EC2 instance. For more information, see Provisioned IOPS (SSD) Volumes.

  • Amazon EBS volumes behave like raw, unformatted block devices. You can create a file system on top of these volumes, or use them in any other way you would use a block device (like a hard drive). For more information on creating file systems and mounting volumes, see Making an Amazon EBS Volume Available for Use.

  • You can use encrypted Amazon EBS volumes to meet a wide range of data-at-rest encryption requirements for regulated/audited data and applications. For more information, see Amazon EBS Encryption.

  • You can create point-in-time snapshots of Amazon 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 Amazon EBS volumes. The same snapshot can be used to instantiate as many volumes as you wish. These snapshots can be copied across AWS regions. For more information, see Amazon EBS Snapshots.

  • Amazon 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. For more information, see 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 Amazon EBS volumes and seamlessly integrated into AWS cloud-based applications. For more information, see Using Public Data Sets.

  • 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 more information, see Amazon EBS Volume Performance.