AWS, Cloud Computing

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Comparison between Amazon EBS vs. Amazon EC2 Instance Store


Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) and Amazon EC2 Instance Store are two storage options that can be used with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).  In this blog, let’s see the comparison between Amazon EBS and Amazon EC2 Instance Store.

Amazon EC2 Instance Store

Amazon EC2 offers flexible, cost-effective, and simple data storage solutions for instances. Amazon EC2 primarily offers two types of block-level storage. These two storage choices have some characteristics, but they also differ significantly in terms of flexibility, cost, and performance.

Amazon EC2 Instance Store

Amazon EC2 instance store gives temporary (ephemeral) block-level storage for your instance. Instance stores resemble Amazon EBS capacity in the initial setup options. However, their architecture most closely resembles direct attached disk drives. An instance store provides sub milli second latencies between the EC2 instance and the storage.

The data in an instance store continues only during the lifetime of its associated EC2 instance. Data in the instance store endures if an instance reboots (intentionally or unintentionally).

However, the data within the instance store is lost under any of the following circumstances:

  • The underlying disk drive fails
  • The instance hibernates
  • The instance terminates
  • The instance stops

Every storage block in the instance store is reset when you stop, terminate, or an instance. As a result, your data cannot be accessible through the instance store of another instance.

Henceforth, avoid using instance stores for critical, long-term data. Choose a more persistent data storage option, like Amazon S3, Amazon EBS, or Amazon EFS.

The instance storage is best suited for the following scenarios:

  • The temporary storage of constantly changing information, such as caches, buffers, scratch data, and other temporary information.
  • Data replicated across several instances, such as a load-balanced pool of web servers.

Volume in Instance Store

Several instance types use SSDs with NVMe or SATA architectures to deliver high random I/O performance. This is a decent choice when you need capacity with extremely low latency but don’t need the data to remain after the instance terminates.

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Amazon EBS

Amazon EBS is a network-attached storage option that provides persistent block-level storage volumes for EC2 instances. EBS volumes can be created, attached to an EC2 instance during start, or added later. They can also be backed up and restored as snapshots. Applications seeking frequent, consistent access to data and data preservation beyond the application’s lifespan are suited for EBS volumes.

For backup and disaster recovery purposes, it enables the creation of point-in-time snapshots of EBS volumes.

Amazon EBS volumes are by default robust and persistent. The data is kept until you delete it and is kept for your use in the future. When an EC2 instance is terminated, all root EBS volumes that were created with it are also terminated.

The management of EBS volumes is independent of managing the Amazon EC2 instances to which they are connected. An existing EBS volume can be detached from one EC2 instance and reattached to another.

Types of Volume:

For various applications, Amazon EBS offers a variety of volume types you can leverage to optimize storage performance and cost. These volume types can be classified into two main groups: HDD-backed storage for throughput-intensive workloads, including MapReduce and log processing, and SSD-backed storage for transactional workloads, such as databases, virtual desktops, and boot volumes.

Select the volume type best suits your application and use case needs. You can choose between multiple volume types.

  • HDD-Based Volumes

For frequently accessed, throughput-intensive workloads, HDD-based volumes offer Throughput Optimized HDD (st1), which is also the least expensive. For less regularly accessible data, use a cold HDD (sc1).

  • SSD-Based Volumes

General Purpose SSD volumes and Provisioned IOPS SSD volumes are the two SSD- based Volumes levels. For transactional applications, such as virtual desktops, test and development environments, and interactive gaming software, general purpose SSD volumes (gp3 and gp2) balance cost and performance.

The highest performance EBS volumes (io2 and io1) for your most demanding transactional applications, like SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2, are provisioned IOPS SSD volumes.


Choosing between Amazon EC2 Instance Store and Amazon EBS depends on specific needs.

Amazon EC2 Instance Store is suited for temporary storage needs where high performance and low latency are critical. Amazon EBS, on the other hand, is ideal for long-term data storage with better durability and accessibility features.

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Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Amazon EC2 Instance Store, Amazon EBS and I will get back to you quickly.

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1. What are the benefits of using the Amazon Instance Store?

ANS: – Amazon Instance Store provides high-performance storage for applications that require low-latency, high-speed access to temporary data. It can also help reduce costs since it is included in the price of the EC2 instance.

2. What are the benefits of using Amazon EBS?

ANS: – Amazon EBS provides persistent block storage for EC2 instances and enables you to create data snapshots for backup and disaster recovery. It also allows you to resize your volumes, change the volume type, and adjust the performance based on your workload.

3. What are the limitations of using the Amazon Instance Store?

ANS: – The primary limitation of the Amazon Instance Store is that the data stored on it is temporary and is lost if the EC2 instance is stopped or terminated. Additionally, Instance Store volumes cannot be resized, and their performance can vary based on the instance type and workload.

4. What are the limitations of using Amazon EBS?

ANS: – One of the limitations of Amazon EBS is that it may incur additional costs compared to using Amazon Instance Store since it is a separate service. Additionally, the performance of EBS volumes can be impacted by the workload, and there may be some latency associated with accessing the data stored on the EBS volumes.

WRITTEN BY Anirudha Gudi

Anirudha Gudi works as Research Associate at CloudThat. He is an aspiring Python developer and Microsoft Technology Associate in Python. His work revolves around data engineering, analytics, and machine learning projects. He is passionate about providing analytical solutions for business problems and deriving insights to enhance productivity.



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