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Amazon Elastic Block Store Tutorial: All You Need To Know

Last updated on Jun 18,2021 4.3K Views

This article on Amazon Elastic Block Store Tutorial will help you explore EBS storage service provided by Amazon Web Services, in detail. Following pointers will be covered in this article,

So let us get started then,

Amazon Elastic Block Store Tutorial

What is Amazon Elastic Block Store?

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) is user-friendly block storage service that runs with very high performance and used with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for both throughput and intensive transactions. A broad range of workloads, such as relational and non-relational databases, enterprise applications, containerized applications, big data analytics engines, files systems, and media workflows can be deployed on Amazon EBS.

Logo - Amazon Elastic block Store Tutorial - EdurekaAmazon EBS provide various options to enhance storage performance and save cost.

The options are divided into two major categories:

  • Transactional workloads, such as databases and boot volumes (performance depends primarily on IOPS) have SSD-backed storage.
  • Throughput intensive workloads, such as MapReduce and log processing (performance depends primarily on MB/s) have disk-backed storage.

Block level storage volumes for use with EC2 instances is provided by EBS. EBS volumes are like raw, unformatted block devices. Volumes can be mounted as devices on your instances. Multiple volumes can be mounted on the same instance, but each volume can be mounted to only one instance. File system can be created on top of these volumes or use them in any way you would use a block device (like a hard drive). Dynamically changes can be made to the configuration of a volume attached to an instance.

EBS volumes are termed as highly available and reliable storage volumes that can be attached to any running instance that is in the same Availability Zone. EBS volumes attached to an EC2 instance are exposed as storage volumes that independently persist from the life of the instance. In Amazon EBS, you pay only for what you use.

Multiple volumes to the same instance can be attached within the limits specified by your AWS account. Your account has a limit on the number of EBS volumes that you can use, and the total storage available to you.

Amazon EBS is recommended when data must be quickly accessible and requires long-term persistence. EBS volumes are particularly well-suited for use as the primary storage for file systems, databases, or for any applications that require fine granular updates and access to raw, unformatted, block-level storage. Amazon EBS is well suited to both database-style applications that rely on random reads and writes, and to throughput-intensive applications that perform long, continuous reads and writes.

Moving on with this article on Amazon Elastic Block Store Tutorial,

Benefits Of EBS

Performance for any workload

Most demanding workloads, including mission-critical applications such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft products are ideal case scenarios for EBS volumes. Volumes designed for high performance applications and a general-purpose volume that offers strong price/performance for most workloads are included in SSD-backed options. Volumes designed for large, sequential workloads such as big data analytics engines, log processing, and data warehousing are included in HDD-backed volumes. Multiple volumes together can be used for higher storage performance per instance.

Easy to Use

Easy to create, use, encrypt, and protect are the features of Amazon EBS volumes. It allows increasing storage, tune performance up and down, and change volume types without any disruption to your workloads. EBS Snapshots allow you to easily take backups of your volumes for geographic protection of your data. Data Lifecycle Manager (DLM) is an easy-to-use tool for automating snapshot management without any additional overhead or cost.

Highly Available and Durable

Reliability for mission-critical applications is offered by Amazon EBS architecture. Volume are designed to protect against failures by replicating within the Availability Zone (AZ), offering 99.999% availability and an annual failure rate (AFR) of between 0.1%-0.2%. For simple and robust backup, use EBS Snapshots with Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager (DLM) policies to automate snapshot management.

Amazon Elastic Block Store Tutorial: Virtually Unlimited Scale

To avoid disruption to your critical workloads Amazon EBS enable you to increase storage. You can build applications that require as little as a single GB of storage, or scale up to petabytes of data in just a few clicks. Snapshots can be used to quickly restore new volumes across a region’s Availability Zones, enabling rapid scale.


It is built to be secure for data compliance. New EBS volumes can be encrypted by default with a single setting in your account. Volumes support encryption of data at-rest, data in-transit, and all volume backups. Encryption is supported by all volume types, includes built-in key management infrastructure, and has zero impact on performance.


Four different volume types are offered by EBS at various price points and performance benchmarks. It enable you to optimize costs and invest in a precise level of storage for your application needs. Highly cost-effective dollar per gigabyte volumes to high performance volumes with high IOPS and high throughput designed for mission critical workloads are the option to choose from. EBS Snapshots are incremental and save on storage costs by not duplicating data.

Features of Amazon EBS

Specific Availability Zone can be used for EBS volumes, and then can be attached to any instances in that same Availability Zone. Volume can be made available outside of the Availability Zone, you can create a snapshot and restore that snapshot to a new volume anywhere in that Region. Snapshots can be copied to other Regions and then can be restored to new volumes making it easier to leverage multiple AWS Regions for geographical expansion, data center migration, and disaster recovery.

Following volume types are provided in Amazon EBS:

  1. General Purpose SSD (gp2), Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1)
  2. Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) and Cold HDD (sc1).

This table shows use-cases and performance characteristics of current generation EBS volumes:


Solid State Drives (SSD)

Hard Disk Drives (HDD)

Volume Type

EBS Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) (since 2012)

EBS General Purpose SSD (gp2)*

Throughput Optimized HDD (st1)

Cold HDD (sc1)

Short Description

Highest performance SSD volume designed for latency-sensitive transactional workloads

General Purpose SSD volume that balances price performance for a wide variety of transactional workloads

Low cost HDD volume designed for frequently accessed, throughput intensive workloads

Lowest cost HDD volume designed for less frequently accessed workloads

Use Cases

I/O-intensive NoSQL and relational databases

Boot volumes, low-latency interactive apps, dev & test

Big data, data warehouses, log processing

Colder data requiring fewer scans per day

API Name





Volume Size

4 GB – 16 TB

1 GB – 16 TB

500 GB – 16 TB

500 GB – 16 TB

Max IOPS**/Volume





Max Throughput/Volume

500 MB/s

160 MB/s

500 MB/s

250 MB/s

Max IOPS/Instance





Max Throughput/Instance

1,750 MB/s

1,750 MB/s

1,750 MB/s

1,750 MB/s



$0.065/provisioned IOPS




Dominant Performance Attribute





This brings us to the end of this article on Amazon Elastic Block Store Tutorial. To learn more about AWS you can refer our Amazon AWS Tutorial blog. We have also come up with a curriculum which covers exactly what you would need to crack the Solution Architect Exam! You can have a look at the course details for AWS Solution Architect training.

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Amazon Elastic Block Store Tutorial: All You Need To Know