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The AWS EFS(Elastic file system) and AWS EBS(Elastic block storage) are two different types of storage services provided by Amazon Web Services. This article highlights some major differences between Amazon EFS and Amazon EBS. EBS(Elastic block storage) is a block-level storage service provided by Amazon and it is basically designed to be used exclusively with separate EC2 instances whereas EFS(Elastic file system) is a file-level storage service that basically provides a shared elastic file system with virtually unlimited scalability support.

What is AWS EBS?

  • AWS EBS is a block storage solution that can only be utilized with EC2 instances. It provides a high-performance solution for many use cases and may be utilized for various databases (both relational and non-relational), applications, and big data analytics.
  • EBS operates by delivering volumes, which are groupings of tiny network-attached blocks that appear as "disks" on your computer. There are numerous volumes, and whether you need the highest possible performance with a single-digit millisecond latency or merely a high throughput, an EBS volume will fit your demands.
  • It is important to note that elastic block store volumes exist independently of EC2 instances and can be joined and withdrawn at any moment. When mounted, they may be utilized as any other type of block storage. Our block storage series delves into the two primary block storage categories: SSD-backed and HDD-backed volumes.
  • EBS volumes are built to last and are duplicated within the Availability Zone (AZ). However, because they are confined to a single AZ, you cannot relocate a volume unless you generate a snapshot of it and rebuild it elsewhere. aws ebs logo
  • A drive is required for every server. EBS is essentially a cloud-based storage solution for your virtual machines' disks. EBS is intended to store data in blocks connected to an Amazon EC2 instance, much like a conventional disk drive. EBS must be mounted on an Amazon EC2 instance.
  • You may build storage volumes and attach them to Amazon EC2 instances using Amazon EBS. Once attached, you may utilize these volumes to establish a file system, operate a database, or use them in any other manner that block storage is used. Amazon EBS volumes are stored in a specified Availability Zone and automatically duplicated to safeguard you against a single component failure. All EBS volume types provide long-term snapshots and are designed for 99.999% availability.
  • Amazon EBS offers a variety of choices for optimizing storage performance and costs for your workload. These options are divided into two major categories: SSD-backed storage for transactional workloads like databases and boot volumes (performance is primarily determined by IOPS), and HDD-backed storage for throughput-intensive workloads like MapReduce and log processing (performance is determined by MB/s).
  • Our top performance the io2 Block Express volume allows the first Cloud SAN. Block Express is a next-generation storage server architecture that delivers high-performance block storage without the expense or trouble of procuring, scaling, and maintaining expensive on-premises SANs.
  • You can achieve sub-millisecond latency and create a single io2 volume with up to 256,000 IOPS, 4,000 MB/second throughput, and 64 TB of capacity with io2 volumes running on Block Express—a 4x boost in performance, throughput, and capacity over conventional io2 volumes. io2 Block Express volumes are perfect for the most complex, I/O-intensive, mission-critical Oracle database, SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, InterSystems database, and SAS Analytics deployments.
  • SSD-backed volumes have the best performance. Provisioned IOPS SSD (io2 and io1) for latency-sensitive transactional workloads and General Purpose SSD (gp3 and gp2) for a wide range of transactional data. Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) for often accessed, throughput heavy applications and Cold HDD (sc1) for less expensive workloads are two types of HDD-backed volumes.
  • Elastic Volumes is an Amazon EBS feature that allows you to dynamically expand capacity, optimize performance, and change the type of live volumes with no downtime or impact on performance. This allows you to simply right-size your deployment and adjust to changes in performance.

What is AWS EFS?

  • Amazon EFS is a storage solution that offers a shared elastic file system with nearly limitless scalability. It was built to operate with Linux instances (and supports both the 4.0 and 4.1 Network File System (NFS) protocols), and it provides long-lasting, highly available storage that hundreds of servers can use at once. AWS EFS is a fully managed, automatically scalable solution. This implies that when you add or remove files from the file system, the file system's size will change.
  • AWS EFS appears to be a straightforward service on the surface, but there is much more to it when you delve a little deeper. The performance of the EFS file system scales with its size. This is an unusual option, and as a result, EFS performance might be a little unimpressive at low usage. When utilized extensively, however, AWS EFS can provide up to 10 GB/sec and 500,000 IOPS.
  • One advantage of adopting EFS is that it does not require modifications to your present environment. Your apps and services need to connect to the file system to be ready to use.
  • EFS's application is not restricted to the AWS cloud. On-premises instances may also utilize AWS EFS in a hybrid cloud context. This functionality dramatically widens EFS's potential use cases.
  • EFS has also just got an upgrade, adding a new storage tier. EFS now provides Infrequent Access in addition to Standard storage. Its use is as simple as enabling lifecycle management, which will relocate your data based on the selected policy. You can continue to utilize EFS regularly. EFS manages everything behind the scenes, so no infrastructure or application modifications are required on your end.
  • EFS, like most AWS services, charges clients only for their use. Storage on the EFS Standard tier is $0.30 per GB per month. The AWS EFS Infrequent Access tier storage is far less expensive—$0.025 per GB per month. However, keep in mind that you will pay an extra fee while utilizing this tier to retrieve data. amazon efs
  • AWS EFS is automatically scalable, so you don't have to worry about running applications. There will be no issues even if the workload suddenly increases — the storage will automatically scale itself. If the workload decreases, the storage will also scale down, so you won't be charged for storage that you don't use. Amazon EFS is especially useful for hosting servers, shared volumes, big data research, and any other scalable task.

Some of the features of AWS EFS are:

Fully Managed Amazon EFS is a fully managed service that provides Linux workloads with NFS-shared file system storage. It is straightforward to establish and configure file systems using Amazon EFS. You are not required to manage file servers or storage, update hardware, configure software, or make backups. Using the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), or an AWS SDK, you can construct a fully managed file system in seconds.

Amazon EFS Replication EFS Replication allows you to duplicate your file system data in a few clicks to another AWS Region or within the same Region, without the need for extra infrastructure or a bespoke mechanism to monitor and synchronize data changes. Organizations in regulated sectors are frequently subject to compliance requirements that compel them to store secondary data copies hundreds of kilometers distant from the original.

AWS Backup AWS Backup is a fully managed backup service that allows you to easily centrally manage and automate backups of your Amazon EFS file systems, eliminating the need for expensive bespoke solutions and manual processes. AWS Backup goes beyond backing up EFS by centralizing data backup across other AWS services in the cloud and on-premises.

Storage Classes and Lifecycle Management For both frequently accessible and seldom visited data, Amazon EFS provides Standard and One Zone storage types. The performance of the Standard and One Zone storage classes has been enhanced to ensure constant low latencies. For files viewed infrequently, the Amazon EFS Standard-Infrequent Access (EFS Standard-IA) and Amazon EFS One Zone-Infrequent Access (EFS One Zone-IA) storage classes are cost-optimized.

Security and Compliance Use Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) security group rules to control network access to your file systems, and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies and Amazon EFS Access Points to control application access to your file systems. Amazon EFS meets various eligibility and compliance standards, allowing you to satisfy your regulatory requirements. 

Scalable Performance Amazon EFS is intended to deliver the throughput, I/O operations per second (IOPS), and low latency required by a wide range of applications. Throughput and IOPS expand with the size of your file system and can burst to greater throughput levels for brief periods of time, allowing you to meet the unexpected performance requirements of file workloads. Amazon EFS delivers speed of more than 10 GB/second and more than 500,000 IOPS for the most demanding applications.

Elastic and Scalable Storage capacity is elastic with Amazon EFS, increasing and contracting automatically as you add and delete files to dynamically supply storage space to your applications as needed. Provisioning is unnecessary with elastic capacity, and you are only invoiced for what you utilize. Amazon EFS is intended to be extremely scalable in terms of storage space as well as throughput performance, scaling to petabyte scale and allowing massively parallel access from EC2 instances. Throughput and IOPS scale as your file system expands with Amazon EFS, and file operations are provided with persistent low latencies.

Encryption Amazon EFS offers a complete encryption solution for both stored and in-flight data. The AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) manages encryption keys for data at rest, removing the need to construct and maintain a key management infrastructure. Encrypting data in transit use industry-standard Transport Layer Security (TLS) to safeguard network traffic without requiring any changes to your apps. For more information about encrypting file system data, see the encryption user guide.

Containers and Serverless File Storage Amazon EFS works with AWS containers and serverless computing services that require shared storage for latency-sensitive and IOPS-intensive workloads at any scale. Amazon EFS delivers shared file systems for stateful workloads to applications operating on Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), AWS Fargate, and AWS Lambda in a single step.

AWS EBS vs EFS: Key Differences

1. An EBS volume, like a physical hard drive, may be linked to a single EC2 instance (except for multi-attach use cases). The EC2 instance and the EBS volume must be in the same availability zone. Filesystems such as ext3, ext4, and xfs may access files in an EBS drive.1. In contrast, EFS filesystems may be mounted on numerous machines from any availability zone or on-premise servers. Thousands of devices can access the same EFS folder. The NFS protocol is used for file system access.
2. EBS volumes can be connected to EC2 machines that are both Windows and non-Windows.2. On the other hand, EFS volumes are solely intended for Linux-based hosts.
3. An EBS volume can have a maximum capacity of 16 TB.3. EFS volume sizes are virtually limitless. A file in EFS can have a maximum size of 47.9 TB.
4. four even though EBS volumes are not replicated across various Availability Zones, they are duplicated to numerous servers within the same AZ, providing 99.99% availability and up to 99.999% durability. EBS volumes can also be encrypted for data protection at rest.4. EFS, like EBS, has high durability. The key difference, though, is scalability. EFS volumes can scale up fast and automatically to meet sudden increases in workload demand and scale down when the load decreases. This makes EFS more adaptable and capable of handling dynamic workloads than EBS.
5. Both systems provide backups and encryption-at-rest.5. EFS also provides lifetime management, a cost-cutting function comparable to S3 lifecycle management. The automated and transparent transfer of seldom used data to a different storage class is made possible by EFS lifecycle management.
6. EBS volumes can be configured to decrease disk latency. You may accomplish this by selecting various storage types (SSD, HDD, etc.), defining provisioned IOPS, and selecting EBS-optimized EC2 instances.6. EFS, on the other hand, is not as customizable as EBS. Although the baseline performance is adequate for most workloads, it does not provide the low disk latency per IO operation that EBS does. EFS, as a distributed file storage system, can manage substantially more throughput per second than EBS.
7. As provisioned performance improves, costs in both EBS and EFS will rise. However, for the same performance per GB, EBS will be less costly than EFS.7. However, mounting an EFS volume to numerous EC2 instances will incur the same cost as mounting it to a single instance. On the other hand, creating and mounting EBS volumes for each node might quickly add expense..
8. Makes use of an AWS KMS-Managed Customer Master Key (CMK) and AES 256-bit encryption standards.8. Makes use of an AWS KMS-Managed Customer Master Key (CMK) and AES 256-bit encryption standards..
9. 20 times more dependable than standard hard disks.9. Very long-lasting (no public SLA)..
10 AZ failure cannot be tolerated without point-in-time EBS Snapshots.10. Every file system object is redundantly stored across multiple Availability Zones, allowing it to survive a single AZ failure.

AWS EBS vs EFS: Based on Characteristics

Storage TypeEBS is block-level storage.EFS is file-level storage.
AvailabilityBecause EBS is directly tied to the instance, and there is no indication of term availability in it.Amazon EFS is a very durable and available storage system.
DurabilityEBS is identical to hard drives, with the exception that it is linked to virtual EC2 instances and provides 20 times the dependability of standard hard disks.EFS is a very long-lasting storage system.
PerformanceFor General Purpose volume, EBS provides a baseline performance of 3 IOPS per GB, and we may also utilize Provisioned IOPS for improved performance.EFS can do up to 7000 file system operations per second.
Data StoredEBS data remains in the same availability zone, and several clones are made inside the same availability zoneEFS stores data in the same area and creates numerous replicates within the same region.
Comprehensive Managed ServiceEBS, unlike EFS, is not a completely managed service.Because EFS is a fully managed service, your company will never have to patch, deploy, or maintain your file system.
EncryptionAmazon EBS encrypts your volume with a data key using industry-standard AES-256 data encryption.For file systems, Amazon EFS provides two types of encryption: encryption in transit and encryption at rest.
Data AccessOne major downside of EBS is that it cannot be accessed directly over the internet; instead, it can only be accessed by a single EC2 instance to which it is attached.EFS storage enables concurrent access to 1 to 1000s of EC2 instances through the internet. However, these instances must all be in the same region.
File Size LimitationBecause EBS is directly attached to the EC2 instance, there are no file size limitations.In EFS, the maximum size of a single file may be up to 47.9TiB.
Cost SavingsBecause there is no prior provisioning, up-front costs, or commitment with EFS, you will only pay for what you use.In EBS, you must attach a certain amount of volume and be paid for it.

AWS EBS vs EFS: Based on Use Cases

Per Operation LatencyIts operation latency is Low and consistent.AWS EBS is also having the operation latency lowest well as consistent.
Throughput ScaleMultiple Giga Bytes per secondSingle Giga Bytes per second
Data Availability / DurabilityAWS EFS stored redundantly across multiple Availability ZonesAWS EBS stored redundantly in a single Availability Zone.
AccessFrom single to thousands of EC2 instances, from multiple Availability Zones concurrently.Single EC2 instance in a single Availability Zone
Use CasesBig Data and Analytics, media processing, content marketing, web hosting, and home navigation processesTransactional and NoSQL databases, data warehousing, and ETL boot volumes.

Some of the notable use cases of AWS EBS and EFS are as follows:

AWS EBS Use Cases:

  • Software Testing and Development: Amazon EBS is only connected to one specific instance, it is ideal for testing and development.
  • Business Continuity: Amazon EBS offers a high level of business consistency since customers may execute applications across several AWS regions using just Amazon machine images and EBS snapshots.
  • Enterprise-Wide Applications: Microsoft Exchange, Oracle, and other programs may all be used since EBS offers block-level storage.
  • Transactional and NoSQL Databases: AWS EBS delivers the best degree of performance for transactional and NO SQL databases since it has minimal latency. Additionally, it supports database administration.

Amazon EFS Use Cases:

  • Lift-and-Shift Application Support: Enterprise applications may be moved fast and simply because to EFS's elastic, highly accessible, and highly scalable storage.
  • Analytics for Big Data: EFS has the capacity to execute big data applications.
  • Web Server Support: EFS is a very reliable throughput file system that can support web-serving applications like web pages and blogs.
  • Application Development and Testing: The only storage option offered by Amazon that offers a shared file system necessary to share code and data is EFS.

Static Amazon EBS vs. Auto-Scaled Amazon EFS

  • The comparison between Amazon EBS and EFS is arguably the most fascinating. The distinction between using Amazon EBS and Amazon EFS is comparable to storing a vehicle in a garage at home vs a rental parking lot. When you use Amazon EBS, it's similar to parking in your private garage since you use it frequently, and it's quite secure. Using Amazon EFS is like parking in a big rental lot: many people, including you, are using a shared space to accommodate many people.

Let's examine how this AWS EBS/AWS EFS comparison functions in actual use.

  • The most popular option for long-term block storage is Amazon EBS. Databases and other low-latency interactive applications that require high throughput or IOPS with consistent and predictable performance are a good fit.
  • A case can be made for using Amazon EFS rather than Amazon EBS to prevent space concerns. Returning to our example, creating a big parking lot only for your car is not a smart move because it will be more expensive, and the area will not be fully utilized.
  • A single API request can also scale up or down an Amazon EBS volume without pausing the instance.

So when do you need to think about utilizing Amazon EFS?

  • The vast amounts of data produced by big data workloads and analytical applications that an Amazon EBS EC2 instance cannot access for processing or analysis are what Amazon EFS is designed for.
  • Because of this, Amazon EFS performs better than Amazon EBS in terms of media processing workflows, content management, and web serving, even though Amazon EBS is less expensive.

AWS EBS vs EFS: When to Use/What is Right for You?

While both EBS and EFS provide excellent functionality, they are designed for different purposes.

  • EBS volumes are restricted to a single instance and, more critically, may be accessed only one instance at a time.
  • With EFS, hundreds or thousands of instances can access the file system at the same time. This makes AWS EFS an excellent choice for any application that requires high-performance, centralized shared storage, such as media processing or shared code repositories.
  • AWS EFS may provide online content, retain multiple backups, and minimize storage costs. While EFS is more expensive than EBS ($0.30 per GB for EFS vs. $0.10 per GB for EBS), you have to pay once for each EFS file system. This means that even if you attach a dozen instances to it, you will pay the same price as if you simply attached one.
  • With EBS volumes, you pay for each volume separately. As a result, to save money on storage, EFS can occasionally be used instead of EBS.
  • EFS scales performance along with capacity, which, although useful in some instances, may also be a huge disadvantage. You may not have enough usage to achieve the specified file system throughput.
  • EBS is nearly always a better match since it delivers consistent and predictable performance unless you need numerous instances to access your storage simultaneously.


  • AWS EFS volumes are ideal for enterprise-wide file servers, backup systems, Big Data clusters, Massive Parallel Processing (MPP) systems, Content Distribution Networks (CDN), and other big use cases.
  • If you want extremely low latency disk operations, EBS is most likely the best option. EBS volumes are ideal for relational and NoSQL databases, enterprise applications such as ERP systems, mail servers, SharePoint, web servers, directory servers, DNS servers, and middleware.
  • Replication across servers occurs at the application level rather than the disk level. Existing EBS volume types can also meet the performance requirements of these applications.
  • Amazon EBS price is simpler than Amazon EFS, including per/GB storage provided per month, Provisioned IOPS, and Amazon EBS snapshots. Amazon EFS pricing is much simpler: you simply pay for the storage utilized in GB/month.
  • Amazon EBS is the quickest speed because of its high IOPS, but Amazon EFS is the greatest solution for shared and scalable file systems. When comparing these storage choices on AWS, EBS cost and performance strike a very appealing balance.