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AWS EBS (Elastic Block Storage)

by anupmaurya

In this article you’ll learn about AWS EBS (Elastic Block Storage), if you don’t know about Elastics Computing Cloud, have look on that article.

What is EBS (Elastic Block Storage)?

EC2 is a virtual server whereas in a cloud EBS is a virtual disk in a cloud.

Amazon EBS allows you to create storage volumes and attach them to the EC2 instances.

Important to remember that you can’t attach the same EBS to multiple instances (it is not a network drive), but you can duplicate EBS by taking a snapshot and attaching the snapshot to another instance.

Amazon EBS volumes are placed in a specific availability zone, and they are automatically replicated to protect you from the failure of a single component.

EBS Volume Types

Amazon EBS provides two different types of EBS Volumes based on performance and pricing.

  • SSD- backed Volumes
  • HDD-backed Volumes


  • SSD stands for Solid State Drives.
  • This type of storage first introduced in June 2014.
  • It is a general-purpose storage.
  • It supports up to 4000 IOPS (Input-Output Per sec) which is quite very high.
  • SSD storage is quite expensive as have very high performance compared to HHD (Hard Disk Drive) storage.
  • SSD volumes types are optimized for transactional works such as frequent read/write operations with small I/O size, where the performance attribute is IOPS.

NOTE: IOPS are a unit of measure representing input/output operations per second. The operations are measured in KiB, and the underlying drive technology determines the maximum amount of data that a volume type counts as a single I/O.

Types of SSD

1.General Purpose SSD

2.Provisioned IOPS SSD

General Purpose SSD

  • General Purpose SSD is also sometimes referred to as a GP2.
  • It is a General purpose SSD volume that balances both price and performance.
  • You can get a ratio of 3 IOPS per GB with up to 10,000 IOPS and the ability to burst up to 3000 IOPS for an extended period of time for volumes at 3334 GiB and above. For example, if you get less than 10,000 IOPS, then GP2 is preferable as it gives you the best performance and price.

Provisioned IOPS SSD

  • It is also referred to as IO1.
  • It is mainly used for high-performance applications such as intense applications, relational databases.
  • It is designed for I/O intensive applications such as large relational or NOSQL databases.
  • It is used when you require more than 10,000 IOPS.


  • It stands for Hard Disk Drive.
  • In 2008, hard disc drive (HDD) storage was introduced.
  • The size of the HDD based storage could be between 1 GB to 1TB.
  • It can support up to 100 IOPS which is very low.

Types of HDD

  1. Throughput Optimized HDD
  2. Cold HDD
  3. Magnetic Volume

Throughput Optimized HDD (st1)

  • It is also referred to as ST1.
  • Throughput Optimized HDD is a low-cost HDD designed for those applications that require higher throughput up to 500 MB/s.
  • It is useful for those applications that require the data to be frequently accessed.
  • It is used for Big data, Data warehouses, Log processing, etc.
  • It cannot be a boot volume, so it contains some additional volume. For example, if we have Windows server installed in a C: drive, then C drive cannot be a Throughput Optimized Hard disk, D: drive or some other drive could be a Throughput Optimized Hard disk.
  • The size of the Throughput Hard disk can be 500 GiB to 16 TiB.
  • It supports up to 500 IOPS.

Cold HDD (sc1)

  • It is also known as SC1.
  • It is the lowest cost storage designed for the applications where the workloads are infrequently accessed.
  • It is useful when data is rarely accessed.
  • It is mainly used for a File server.
  • It cannot be a boot volume.
  • The size of the Cold Hard disk can be 500 GiB to 16 TiB.
  • It supports up to 250 IOPS.

Magnetic Volume

  • It is the lowest cost storage per gigabyte of all EBS volume types.
  • It is ideal for the applications where the data is accessed infrequently
  • It is useful for applications where the lowest storage cost is important.
  • Magnetic volume is the only hard disk which is bootable. Therefore, we can say that it can be used as a boot volume.

AWS EBS Benefits

  • Reliable and secure storage − Each of the EBS volume will automatically respond to its Availability Zone to protect from component failure.
  • Secure − Amazon’s flexible access control policies allows to specify who can access which EBS volumes. Access control plus encryption offers a strong defense-in-depth security strategy for data.
  • Higher performance − Amazon EBS uses SSD technology to deliver data results with consistent I/O performance of application.
  • Easy data backup − Data backup can be saved by taking point-in-time snapshots of Amazon EBS volumes.

Thank you for reading, If you have reached so far, please like the article, It will encourage me to write more such articles. Do share your valuable suggestions, I appreciate your honest feedback!

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