Amazon Web Services (AWS) is ranked amongst the top cloud vendors, offering over 175 services. AWS cloud services are distributed across 16 global regions and 42 availability zones. In this article, you will learn about three popular AWS storage services: S3, EFS, and EBS. You’ll learn what each service provides, and what are the key differences between them.
Amazon S3 was one of the first services offered on AWS and is still one of the most popular. It is based on object storage technology, and offers an unlimited storage pool that can be used to save huge quantities of data. S3 provides three main storage tiers:
S3 use cases
Amazon S3 is commonly used for:
What is AWS EFS?
Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) is a file system for Linux workloads, which you can use together with other AWS services or on-premise systems. EFS allows thousands of Amazon EC2 instances to access files in parallel. It provides high aggregate throughput and Input/output operations per second (IOPS), supporting maximum efficiency of 10GB/s and 500k IOPS.
EFS is a fully managed service, and allows users to access storage volumes via standard file system interfaces such as NFS. Amazon manages the deployment and maintenance of storage systems. There are two storage tiers, Standard and Infrequent Access, which lets you migrate data that is less frequently used to a lower-cost storage tier.
EFS allows users to control access via POSIX permissions, Amazon VPC, or AWS IAM, and is compliant with several standards including SOC, HIPAA and PCI/DSS.
EFS Use Cases
EFS is most useful for the following scenarios:
Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides persistent storage for Amazon EC2 instances. An EC2 instance has its own internal storage, but when the instance shuts down, this storage is lost. Amazon EBS makes it possible to save files so that they can survive the shut down of an instance.
EBS is based on block storage technology and offers high durability, with a guaranteed Service Level Agreement (SLA) of 11 nines (99.999999999%). It provides a range of volume sizes supporting different storage sizes.
EBS use cases
EBS can be used for the following types of workloads:
|S3||Unlimited storage, file size up to 5TB||Manual||Multi-AZ||99.99% availability||Over 1 million concurrent connections|
|EFS||Unlimited storage, file size up to 47.9TB||Automatic||Multi-AZ||No guaranteed SLA, if uptime is lower than 99.9%, user receives service credits||Up to 1,000 EC2 instances|
|EBS||Limited to 16TB per volume||Manual||Single AZ||99.99% availability||One EC2 instance|
Amazon storage services have a complex pricing model. Below we provide a radically simplified comparison of pricing across the three services. To fully understand pricing, consult the Amazon pricing section and use the AWS Pricing Calculator.
|Storage Cost / GB / Month||Cost for IOPS||Cost for Throughput|
|S3||$0.021-0.023 depending on data size||Additional I/O Operations Per Second (IOPS) for extra $0.065 / IOPS / month||N/A|
|EFS||$0.045-$0.3||N/A||Provisioned throughput for $6 / GB / month|
|EBS||$0.045-$0.125 depending on volume type||N/A||N/A|
Amazon S3 is an object storage typically used for backup and media hosting. AWS EFS is a file system typically used for data analysis and lift-and-shift migration. AWS EBS is a block storage service typically used as persistent storage for Amazon EC2 instances. Each service is uniquely different and priced accordingly. AWS offers free tiers, so you can experiment before choosing.