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Amazon EC2 provides you with flexible, cost effective, and easy-to-use data storage options for your instances. Each option has a unique combination of performance and durability. These storage options can be used independently or in combination to suit your requirements.
After reading this section, you should have a good understanding about how you can use the data storage options supported by Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud to meet your specific requirements. These storage options include the following:
Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)
Amazon EC2 instance store
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)
The following figure shows the relationship between these types of storage.
Amazon EBS is a durable, block-level storage volume that you can attach to a single, running Amazon EC2 instance. You can use Amazon EBS as a primary storage device for data that requires frequent and granular updates. For example, Amazon EBS is the recommended storage option when you run a database on an instance.
Amazon EBS volumes behave like raw, unformatted, external block devices that you can attach to your instances. They persist independently from the running life of an Amazon EC2 instance. After an Amazon EBS volume is attached to an instance, you can use it like any other physical hard drive. For more information, see Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS).
Amazon EC2 Instance Store
Each Amazon EC2 instance, unless it's a micro or M3 instance, can access storage from disks that are physically attached to the host computer. This disk storage is referred to as instance store. Instance store provides temporary block-level storage for Amazon EC2 instances. The data on an instance store volume persists only during the life of the associated Amazon EC2 instance. For more information, see Amazon EC2 Instance Store.
Amazon S3 is a repository for Internet data. Amazon S3 provides access to reliable and inexpensive data storage infrastructure. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier by enabling you to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from within Amazon EC2 or anywhere on the web. For example, you can use Amazon S3 to store backup copies of your data and applications. For more information, see Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).
Every time you launch an instance from an AMI, a root storage device is created for that instance. The root storage device contains all the information necessary to boot the instance. For more information, see Amazon EC2 Root Device Volume. You can specify storage volumes in addition to the root device volume when you create an AMI or launch an instance using block device mapping. For more information, see Block Device Mapping.
You can also attach EBS volumes to a running instance. For more information, see Attaching a Volume to an Instance.