Amazon Launches New Cloud Storage Option for EC2

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-08-21 Print this article Print

Amazon's new enterprise online service called the Amazon Elastic Block Store is a persistent storage feature designed to augment Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with disaster-recovery capabilities. EC2 is a Web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud.

Amazon is extending its Web service offerings for enterprises that want to move more of their IT into that ever expanding Internet "cloud" and protect it from a disaster of some sort.

Amazon on Aug. 21 launched a new enterprise-oriented online service called the Amazon Elastic Block Store, a persistent storage feature designed to augment Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) with disaster-recovery capabilities. EC2 is a Web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud.  

Using the new Elastic Block Store, business applications running in Amazon EC2 instances will have the added advantage of multiple storage volumes in the Amazon data center, using block-level snapshots and redundancies that the EC2 does not currently feature. Thus, both the applications and data stores are backed up in the EBS structure.

"At the highest level, you can say that EBS has done for the disk drive what EC2 has done for the computer," Amazon EC2 General Manager Peter De Santis told me. "This greatly increases the flexibility enterprises have to use their block storage. You can put applications, file systems, databases ... everything up on it."

EBS is primarily aimed at applications that require running a file system or access to raw block-level storage. As EC2 instances are started and stopped, the information saved in the enterprise database or application is preserved as it is with traditional physical servers-only it's in the Amazon data center. 

Previous instances of EC2 came with a designated, pre-allocated amount of block storage; the basic configuration comes with 150GB of block storage. If that isn't enough, an enterprise can buy a larger instance or figure out a way to configure multiple instances, De Santis said.

Before the availability of EBS, storage within an EC2 instance was tied to the instance itself. When the instance is terminated, the data within the instance is lost, De Santis said.

"With EBS, independent of all your EC2 instance, you can provision storage volumes  from 1GB to 1TB, and attach one or more storage volumes to a single instance," De Santis said. "For example, if you need 4TB of local storage, which is a small instance, you can provision that as four 1TB volumes, and attach it to that instance."

EBS also has the ability for a storage administrator to create point-in-time snapshots of volumes that can be saved on Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), the company's online backup storage service.

For more information on EBS, go here

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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