If you are new to AWS product offerings, you may become a little overwhelmed by the variety of options you encounter when selecting a cloud storage service. And indeed, AWS storage services do have a variety of offerings here. Moreover, each seems to feature a specific set of cost, performance, and accessibility parameters which may complicate your selection effort even further.
How to make the best choice of a cloud storage service, then? Well, let’s see first things first!
Today, we are going to learn which the most prominent AWS storage services are as well as what they are designed for. We are going to focus on the AWS Simple Storage Service (S3), AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS) and AWS Elastic File System (EFS) in particular. Then, we will highlight some key benefits for you to consider and finally, explore a basic comparison of their performance, availability and cost.
And here we are, already ready to begin!
AWS Simple Storage Service (S3)
S3 at a Glance
S3 ensures simple object storage with no hierarchy of relations among files. It enables good flexibility where data may be distributed across different machines. With this type of storage, all data is stored in its native format (supports any kind of data in any format such as documents, images, videos, big data, mobile or web applications, etc.). It also includes extensive search, data protection, backup and restore capabilities. Finally, the service may be accessed from anywhere on the web.
Wondering how it works? Take a look at the picture below and explore the most common FAQs here.
Source: Amazon S3
- S3 is the most popular AWS storage system
- it ensures a 99.99% storage durability and the best availability
- the only storage which enables you to completely block public access
- facilitates data access management and improves query performance
- the cheapest option for data storage
AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS)
EBS at a glance
EBS is an umbrella term for all AWS block-level data storage services, which provides storage directly on AWS elastic cloud compute (EC2). It stores files in multiple volumes where data is split into “blocks” that function as separate hard drives. EBS assures storage for high-performance workloads in a reliable, scalable and cost-effective manner. That is why it is extremely suitable for supporting big data, software testing or database management.
Take a look at the picture below to see a simple representation of how EBS functions or browse here to get a fuller impression of its features.
Source: Amazon EBS
- the only fully managed storage service, thus saving maintenance effort and cost
- best applicable for processing large quantities of data such as large analytical workloads
- faster than S3
- allows data encryption by default by a single setting
- highly scalable as it enables you to increase databases with no disruption of critical workloads
- cheaper than EFS
AWS Elastic File System (EFS)
EFS at a glance
EFS provides a scalable file storage paradigm of directories and sub-directories, which however works in a network shared and elastic way. That is, EFS automatically grows or shrinks when you add or remove files with no further need for you to provide for it or otherwise manage. You can simultaneously use EFS both with EC2 instances or on-premises. It is considered best-suited for SaaS applications, machine-learning or content management systems.
To get a better idea about what it features, take a look at this short presentation video and the picture below.
Source: Amazon EFS
- EFS may be used simultaneously in the cloud and on-premises with 99.99% availability
- its elastic features enable you to make changes with no disruption of critical workloads
- it is faster than S3
- ensures encryption of data at rest or in transit
- allows flexible pricing due to some service-specific features (e.g. you can divide data into frequently and rarely used data which can let you save on bills)
AWS S3 vs AWS EBS vs AWS EFS: a Basic Comparison
As illustrated above, all three AWS storage options feature different storage technologies with different capabilities. Probably, one of the best ways to start working on your cloud selection technology is by considering your purpose.
It is also good if you remember the basic difference between cloud object storage (data is stored as a static content) and cloud block-based storage (data is stored into evenly-sized blocks). If you would like to further explore this difference, please see here.
Now, let’s explore a little some other key factors which may influence our choice of AWS storage technology. For this purpose, let’s see how the performance, availability, access, storage limit and cost juxtapose against each other in the following comparison table:
Comparison Source: Dzone
Finally, when selecting AWS cloud service storage technology, please rest assured that you will be supported by sufficient learning resources which each AWS service makes available to users. You can take a look by following the links under each specific AWS storage service we provided in the diagrams above.
Should you need to discuss your selection of an AWS storage technology, do not hesitate to give us a shout!
The Amazon cloud storages ( AWS S3 vs AWS EBS vs AWS EFS) are key cloud services you need to be aware of to initiate your effective digital transformation. If you are still exploring the option please browse some other introductory articles from our AWS Basic series here.