This morning in San Francisco, Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced Amazon EFS (Elastic File System), AWS’s newest storage service. It provides multiple EC2 instances with low-latency, shared access to a fully-managed file system via the popular NFSv4 protocol, and is designed to perform well for a wide variety of workloads, with the ability to scale to thousands of concurrent connections.

We expect to see EFS used for content repositories, development environments, web server farms, home directories, and Big Data applications, to name just a few. If you’ve got the files, AWS has the storage!

The SSD-based file systems are highly available and highly durable (files, directories, and links are stored redundantly across multiple Availability Zones within an AWS region) and grow or shrink as needed (there’s no need to pre-provision capacity). You’ll be able to create them using the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), and a simple set of APIs, and start using them within seconds.

File systems can grow to petabyte scale, and throughput and IOPS scale accordingly. You’ll pay only for the storage that you use (billed monthly based on the average used during the month) at the rate of $0.30 per gigabyte per month.

EFS is designed to support the security requirements of large, complex organizations. You’ll be able to use IAM to grant access to the EFS APIs, along with VPC security groups to control network access to file systems. You’ll be able to use standard file and directory permissions (good old chown and chmod) to control access to the directories, files, and links stored on your file systems.

Benefits of Amazon EFS

Seamless Integration

Amazon EFS supports the Network File System version 4 (NFSv4) protocol, so the applications and tools that you use today work seamlessly with EFS. Amazon EFS file systems support standard file system semantics, and Amazon EC2.

Scale Up and Down Seamlessly

Amazon EFS automatically scales your file system storage capacity up or down as you add or remove files without disrupting your applications, ensuring you always have the storage you need while reducing time-consuming administration tasks.

Fully Managed Service

Amazon EFS has a simple web services interface that allows you to create and configure file systems quickly and easily. The service manages all the file storage infrastructure for you, avoiding the complexity of deploying, patching, and maintaining complex file system deployments.

Share File Storage Across Instances

Multiple Amazon EC2 instances can access an Amazon EFS file system, so applications that scale beyond a single instance can access a file system.  Amazon EC2 instances running in multiple Availability Zones (AZs) within the same region can access the file system, so that many users can access and share a common data source.

Consistent, Scalable Performance

Amazon EFS is SSD-based, and is designed to provide the throughput, IOPS, and low latency needed for a broad range of workloads. With Amazon EFS, throughput and IOPS scale as a file system grows, and file operations are delivered with consistent, low latencies.

Low Cost

Amazon EFS provides the capacity you need, when you need it, without having to provision storage in advance. You pay for what you use, with no minimum commitments or up-front fees.

Highly Available and Durable

Amazon EFS is designed to be durable and highly available. Each Amazon EFS file system object (i.e. directory, file, and link) is redundantly stored across multiple Availability Zones.

Secure

Amazon EFS allows you to tightly control access to your file systems. Only Amazon EC2 instances within the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) you specify can directly access your Amazon EFS file systems. Amazon VPC security groups and network access control lists allow you to manage network access to your Amazon EFS file systems. At the file and directory level, Amazon EFS supports user and group read/write/execute permissions. The service is also integrated with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), which can be used to control access to Amazon EFS APIs as well as manage resource-level permissions.

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