An Overview of Amazon AWS Cloud Storage

An Overview of Amazon AWS Cloud Storage

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Sarojini Devi Nagappan
05 May 2020


Amazon Web Services(AWS) cloud storage services offer object storage, block storage, and file storage on cloud for companies to address growing storage needs. The platform can be used as primary storage, perform backup, and use it for file transfer and data replication. In this blog let us look at some interesting pointers on AWS cloud storage services.  

AWS Cloud Storage Services. 

AWS offers 3 different services; Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Storage method and operation handling can be different between storage types thus AWS has more than one cloud storage service. Block storage allows block-level operation, meaning only the affected blocks of the dataset will be modified. This is not possible using object storage. The whole object needs to be flushed out and replaced if there is a need to change. Each service has its own advantages and disadvantages, hence the user has to carefully read its specification before subscribing to it. 

Amazon Simple Storage Services (Amazon S3)

Amazon S3 is a highly durable, scalable, and secure solution for object storage. It was designed to store data which can be made available over the internet and without worrying data volume. 

Amazon S3 works best for the following:

  • If you want to write or read continuously without doing both operations at the same time. For example, you can have backup data and then access them continuously without editing them at the same time.
  • There is a need for scalability and storage size is not predictable.

Amazon S3 is not good for hosting databases or operating systems because object storage does not work well for fast read and write operations. This service is offered in many different tiers for users to choose from to meet their requirements.

Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)

Amazon EBS is a persistent block storage with automated replication to ensure high availability. It designed to be used for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)  to handle heavy transactions with high availability and performance. This service is the best fit for organizations which work with large amounts and want to have low latency without investing much on on-premises infrastructures. With Amazon EBS it is possible to manage the storage exactly the same way as the data centers except it would now be configured in the cloud environment with a block storage platform. There are two ways to mount an EBS volume. One way is to mount the EBS volume in the EC2 instance using a solid-state drive which has low latency. The next method is to mount it on a hard disk drive where this method is good to achieve high throughput.

Amazon EBS works best for the following :

  • As a server disk as it’s persistent storage and gives high read and write performance.
  • An environment with relational databases and has multiple users doing continuous transactions like gaming applications or e-commerce transactions.
  • Support for NoSQL databases such as Cassandra, MongoDB, and CouchDB which requires consistent and low latency performance.

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS)

Amazon EFS is a shared file system used with Amazon EC2. It allows applications using multiple EC2 instances to access the EFS shared file system simultaneously. Once the file system is created via EFS console, the EC2 instances can then start storing data in the EFS. Amazon EFS  will manage all the infrastructure and shrink or expand the file structure as you add or delete files in the EFS. The cost is calculated for the space used by the directories hence it is cost-effective as there is no setup cost involved. Amazon EFS also automatically replicates the data on the same region to ensure high availability and security. 

Amazon EFS works best for the following: 

  • Suitable for organisations that want to migrate applications from on-premises to the cloud environment in a cost-effective way. 
  • It is suitable for web applications which host information for websites, online publications, and archives.
  • Suitable for testing and development.

AWS Cloud Storage Services Ecosystem

AWS cloud storage services can be combined to work with your instances to achieve high availability, performance, and scalability. Following is a figure which shows the relationship between the various AWS cloud storage services with EC2. Amazon EFS can be used as a shared file system to manage two instances. The EFS file system can be used as a common repository for applications running on multiple instances.

Amazon EBS

Amazon EBS can be used as primary storage for the instance, to store frequently accessed and updated data. In addition, it can be used as a server to run applications like the database is frequently updated. Finally, Amazon S3 the object storage platform can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data freely over the internet like backups of media data on the internet. Relatively it is best to store data which does is not updated and retrieved simultaneously in the Amazon S3 storage platform. 


AWS cloud storage services offer various solutions to meet the storage needs of organizations at any scale. These solutions are priced according to different tiers to offer the best possible solution in a cost-effective way. At a glance, it still seems to be an expensive solution for small businesses, however, if the nature of the business is working around large amounts of data, AWS cloud storage solutions can be factored into the budget. As a conclusion, before deciding any services, it is recommended to read all specifications of each product and the fine lines in the pricing terms and conditions. Also, it’s good to have a chat with them to know if the solution you have picked is best for your organization.