Amazon Elastic Block Store

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Amazon Elastic Block Store
Amazon Elastic Block Store

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides raw block-level storage that can be attached to Amazon EC2 instances and is used by Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).[1] It is one of the two block-storage options offered by AWS, with the other being the EC2 Instance Store.[2]

Amazon EBS provides a range of options for storage performance and cost. These options are divided into two major categories: SSD-backed storage for transactional workloads, such as databases and boot volumes (performance depends primarily on IOPS), and disk-backed storage for throughput intensive workloads, such as MapReduce and log processing (performance depends primarily on MB/s).

Use case[edit]

In a typical use case, using EBS would include formatting the device with a filesystem and mounting it. EBS supports advanced storage features, including snapshotting and cloning. As of September 2020, EBS volumes can be up to 2 TiB in size using the MBR partitioning scheme, and up to 16 TiB using the GPT partitioning scheme.[3]

EBS volumes are built on replicated back end storage, so that the failure of a single component will not cause data loss.


EBS was introduced by Amazon in August 2008.[4] As of March 2018 30 GB of free space was included in the free tier of Amazon Web Services 2017.[5]

Volume types[edit]

The following table shows use cases and performance characteristics of current generation EBS volumes:[6]

Solid state drives (SSD) Hard disk drives (HDD)
Volume type EBS Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) (since 2012) [7] EBS General Purpose SSD (gp2)[a] EBS General Purpose SSD (gp3) 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 Lowest cost 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 Boot volumes, low-latency interactive apps, dev & test Big data, data warehouses, log processing Colder data requiring fewer scans per day
API name io1 gp2 gp3 st1 sc1
Volume size 4 GiB - 16 TiB 1 GiB - 16 TiB 1 GiB - 16 TiB 500 GiB - 16 TiB 500 GiB - 16 TiB
Max IOPS[b]/volume 64,000 16,000 16,000 500 250
Max throughput/volume 1000 MB/s 250 MB/s 1000 MB/s 500 MB/s 250 MB/s
Max IOPS/instance 260,000 260,000 260,000 260,000 260,000
Max throughput/instance 7,500 MB/s 7,500 MB/s 7,500 MB/s 7,500 MB/s 7,500 MB/s
Price $0.125/GB-month

$0.065/provisioned IOPS

$0.10/GB-month $0.08/GB-month

$0.005/provisioned IOPS over 3000

$0.045/GB-month $0.025/GB-month
Dominant performance attribute IOPS IOPS IOPS MB/s MB/s
  1. ^ Default volume type
  2. ^ io1/gp2 based on 16 KiB I/O size, st1/sc1 based on 1 MiB I/O size


Amazon EBS provides several features that assist with data management, backups, and performance tuning:

  • The Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager is an automated mechanism that can back up data from EBS volumes, creating and deleting EBS snapshots on a predefined schedule.[8]
  • Elastic Volumes makes it possible to adapt volume size to an application's current needs, using Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Lambda to automate volume changes.
  • Amazon EBS Encryption encrypts data at rest for EBS volumes and snapshots, without having to manage a separate secure key infrastructure.
  • EBS volume tagging makes it possible to find and filter EBS resources on the Amazon Console and CLI.[9]
  • Software-level RAID arrays make it possible to create groups of EBS volumes with high performance network throughput between them, using the standard RAID protocol.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DB Instance Storage - Amazon Relational Database Service".
  2. ^ "EC2 Instance Store vs EBS". May 31, 2022. Archived from the original on June 16, 2022. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  3. ^ "Constraints on the size and configuration of an EBS volume". Amazon Web Services Documentation. Archived from the original on 2017-10-11. Retrieved Sep 11, 2020.
  4. ^ "Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Store) - Bring Us Your Data". Amazon Web Services Blog. August 20, 2008. Archived from the original on March 28, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  5. ^ "AWS Free Tier". Amazon Web Services, Inc.
  6. ^ "Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) – Details – Amazon Web Services (AWS)". Amazon Web Services, Inc. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  7. ^ "Announcing Provisioned IOPS for Amazon EBS". Amazon Web Services, Inc.
  8. ^ "Amazon EBS Features". Amazon Web Services. Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved Sep 11, 2020.
  9. ^ "7 Little-Known Amazon EBS Features You Should Be Using". Sand Hill. January 17, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-01-27. Retrieved Sep 11, 2020.
  10. ^ "AWS EBS: A Complete Guide and Five Functions You Should Start Using". Cloud Central Blog. June 4, 2019. Archived from the original on 2017-07-26. Retrieved Sep 11, 2020.

External links[edit]