Amazon Launches New File Storage Service For EC2

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At its AWS Summit in San Francisco, Amazon today announced the launch of the Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), a new storage service that provides a common file system for multiple EC2 virtual machines on AWS through the standard NFSv4 protocol. This new service will launch into preview in the “near future.”

Because it supports the standard NFS protocol, EFS will work with most existing file system tools and applications, so developers can simply mount and manage them with any standard file system tool.

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According to Amazon, the typical use cases for this service are content repositories, development environments, web server farms, home directories and big data applications — anything, basically, that involves a lot of files.

As Amazon’s head of AWS Andy Jassy noted during today’s keynote, the company’s customers have been asking for this kind of service for a while. Currently, Jassy argues, it’s hard to predict capacity for file servers and managing availability and performance can be hard. When there are issues, those can also spread quickly because different applications often all use the same files.

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With EFS, companies can manage their entire file systems in a similar way to how they now treat objects on AWS.

All EFS storage is SSD-based, so throughput and latency shouldn’t be an issue. Data is also automatically replicated across different availability zones.

Just like with other AWS services, users only pay for the storage they actually use. Amazon says that when the service launches, the price for using EFS will be $0.30 per gigabyte per month.

EFS will take its place among Amazon’s other file storage services, including S3 for object storage, Elastic Block Store for block storage and Glacier for archival storage.

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