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.