Storage Architecture Selection - Performance Efficiency Pillar

Storage Architecture Selection

The optimal storage solution for a particular system varies based on the kind of access method (block, file, or object), patterns of access (random or sequential), throughput required, frequency of access (online, offline, archival), frequency of update (WORM, dynamic), and availability and durability constraints. Well-architected systems use multiple storage solutions and enable different features to improve performance.

In AWS, storage is virtualized and is available in a number of different types. This makes it easier to match your storage methods with your needs, and offers storage options that are not easily achievable with on-premises infrastructure. For example, Amazon S3 is designed for 11 nines of durability. You can also change from using magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs) to SSDs, and easily move virtual drives from one instance to another in seconds.

Performance can be measured by looking at throughput, input/output operations per second (IOPS), and latency. Understanding the relationship between those measurements will help you select the most appropriate storage solution.







Amazon EBS,

EC2 instance store

Lowest, consistent


Mounted on EC2 instance, copies via snapshots

File system

Amazon EFS, Amazon FSx

Low, consistent


Many clients


Amazon S3


Web scale

Many clients


Amazon S3 Glacier

Minutes to hours



From a latency perspective, if your data is only accessed by one instance, then you should use block storage, such as Amazon EBS. Distributed file systems such as Amazon EFS generally have a small latency overhead for each file operation, so they should be used where multiple instances need access.

Amazon S3 has features than can reduce latency and increase throughput. You can use cross-region replication (CRR) to provide lower-latency data access to different geographic regions.

From a throughput perspective, Amazon EFS supports highly parallelized workloads (for example, using concurrent operations from multiple threads and multiple EC2 instances), which enables high levels of aggregate throughput and operations per second. For Amazon EFS, use a benchmark or load test to select the appropriate performance mode.