Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently announced new Elastic File System (EFS) providing Network File System (NFS) NAS (Network Attached Storage) capabilities for AWS Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) instances. EFS AWS compliments other AWS storage offerings including Simple Storage Service (S3) along with Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Glacier and Relational Data Services (RDS) among others.
Ok, that’s a lot of buzzwords and acronyms so lets break this down a bit.
Implements NFS V4 (SNIA NFS V4 primer) providing network attached storage (NAS) meaning data sharing. AWS is indicating initial pricing for EFS at $0.30 per GByte per month. EFS is designed for storage and data sharing from multiple EC2 instances in different AZ’s in the same AWS region with scalability into the PBs.
Currently it seems that EFS has an end-point inside AWS accessible via an EC2 instance like EBS. This appears to be like EBS where the storage service is accessible only to AWS EC2 instances unlike S3 which can be accessible from the out-side world as well as via EC2 instances.
Note however, that depending on how you configure your EC2 instance with different software, as well as configure a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and other settings, it is possible to have an application, software tool or operating system running on EC2 accessible from the outside world. For example, NAS software such as those from SoftNAS and NetApp among many others can be installed on an EC2 instance and with proper configuration, as well as being accessible to other EC2 instances, they can also be accessed from outside of AWS (with proper settings and security).
AWS EFS at this time is NFS version 4 based however does not support Windows SMB/CIFS, HDFS or other NAS access protocols. In addition AWS EFS is accessible from multiple AZ’s within a region. To share NAS data across regions some other software would be required.
EFS is not yet as of this writing released and AWS is currently accepting requests to join the EFS preview here.
Here are some links to learn more about AWS S3 and related topics
AWS continues to extend its cloud platform include both compute and storage offerings. EFS compliments EBS along with S3, Glacier and RDS. For many environments NFS support will be welcome while for others CIFS/SMB would be appreciated and others are starting to find that value in HDFS accessible NAS. In addition, AWS has also added a new tier for inactive data in S3 for nearline storage as opposed to having to use Glacier.
Overall I like this announcement and look forward to moving beyond the preview.