AWS Official Blog

EBS Snapshot Copy Performance Improvement

by Jeff Barr | on | in Amazon EC2 |

The EBS Snapshot Copy feature gives you the power to copy EBS snapshots across AWS Regions. Effective today, we have made the snapshot copy even faster than before with support for incremental copies between Regions. It is now practical to copy snapshots to other regions more frequently, making it easier for you to develop applications that are highly available.

The first time you copy an EBS snapshot of a volume to a particular Region, all of the data will be copied.  The second and subsequent copies of snapshots from the same volume to the same destination region will be incremental: only the data that has changed since the last copy will be transferred. As a result, the snapshot will transfer less data and complete more quickly than before. 

The magnitude of the improvement will depend on the amount of data that has been changed since the last snapshot copy. To give you a sense for how much of a benefit you can expect, we measured the amount of change between snapshots across a wide variety of EBS volumes running a number of applications. Based on our findings, we expect to see a 50x speedup for the second and subsequent incremental copies of an EBS volume snapshot.

AWS customer Aptean uses EBS Snapshot Copy as part of their enterprise disaster recovery offering.  Aptean Vice President Mario Baldasserini told me that:

Aptean has been using EBS Snapshot Copy since its launch in providing innovative disaster recovery solutions for our worldwide customers.  We are thrilled with the incremental support availability as it will allow us to further reduce our recovery objectives in providing a worldwide product solution on AWS.

I look forward to hearing more about how you leverage the faster cross-Region EBS Snapshot Copy in your own applications.

Earlier this year, we launched the cross-region EC2 AMI Copy feature, which builds on the EBS Snapshot Copy.  Today’s enhancement also makes the AMI Copy faster when you copy EBS-backed AMIs.

Other than the speed and efficiency benefits mentioned above, this change is transparent and you need not do anything special in order to take advantage of it if you are making copies using the AWS Management Console, the ec2-copy-snapshot or ec2-copy-image commands, or the CopySnapshot or CopyImage API.

– Jeff;

The first time you copy an EBS snapshot, to a particular Region, all of the data will be copied.  For the second and subsequent copies of the same volume transferred to the same destination region [R1] will be incremental, resulting in faster copy to the same destination Region, only the data that has changed since the last copy will be transferred.  As a result, the snapshot will transfer less data and complete more quickly than before.  Of course, the magnitude of the improvement will depend on the amount of data that has been changed since the last snapshot copy.


 [R1]Added this to follow through in the example on the point made earlier that incremental snapshots are specific to a region pair.