AWS Storage Blog

Lower your Amazon EFS costs by 47% with One Zone storage classes

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) is a simple, serverless, set-and-forget, elastic file system that provides high levels of durability and availability for your mission critical and business critical applications. For workloads that don’t need the highest levels of durability and availability, customers typically do not require the Multi-AZ (Availability Zone) durability and availability of our Amazon EFS Standard storage classes. Instead, they may be using self-managed file systems for these workloads, resulting in higher TCO, lower durability, and lower availability. Compared to using Amazon EFS serverless file storage, those customers are likely spending more time managing their file systems than is optimal.

To best serve workloads that don’t need the highest levels of durability and availability, we introduced Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes, which redundantly store data within a single Availability Zone. Using Amazon EFS One Zone can help you reduce storage costs by 47% compared to Amazon EFS Standard storage classes, while delivering the same features and benefits. Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes are cost-optimized for workloads that do not require the level of availability and durability offered by Amazon EFS Standard storage classes, which store data redundantly across multiple geographically separated Availability Zones.

In this blog, I interview Sarwar Raza, Senior Manager of Product Management for Amazon EFS, so that he can break down Amazon EFS storage classes for our AWS Storage Blog readers. We discuss Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes, their purpose, cost, and how to use them. We also discuss Amazon EFS lifecycle management, and Sarwar covers how lifecycle policies automatically and transparently move less-frequently accessed files to cheaper storage classes to optimize your costs.

Interview with Sarwar Raza

Why did AWS introduce Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes, and what challenges does it solve?

Customers I’ve spoken with describe a continuum of storage requirements that vary by workload and application, and describe how their decisions for which storage option to use center around four primary variables: price, performance, durability, and availability. What we heard, is that they love the Multi-AZ durability and 4 9’s availability of Amazon EFS Standard storage classes. However, they have workloads that just don’t need Multi-AZ resilience for some, or all portions of their workflows.

With One Zone storage classes, we now offer you an additional choice. One Zone storage classes enable you to choose durability and availability options for your file data based on your business and application needs. They can also help you reduce your storage costs by 47%, when compared to Amazon EFS Standard storage classes. We do this without asking you to give up the Amazon EFS features and capabilities you value. We create an automatic backup policy for you at file system creation, and give you the choice of customizing your data protection and disaster recovery (DR) strategy for workloads that use One Zone storage classes. Cost optimization is built in, and automatic, based on usage patterns. Striving for near perfect operational performance, Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes provide 11 9’s of durability and have a 3 9’s availability SLA. With these differentiators, Amazon EFS provides a clear choice over self-managed, single site, or other cloud options.

What benefits do customers gain through storing their data in Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes?

The most important thing we hear from customers is that One Zone storage fits the needs of their data, and their business. With the introduction of One Zone storage classes, you now have the option to pay less for data that doesn’t need Multi-AZ resilience. Paying only for the storage you use, and the availability and durability you need, enables you to apply your savings to other business areas. Data is replicated within a single Availability Zone and doesn’t need to wait for data to replicate across three geographically dispersed Availability Zones before acknowledging writes, which means some workloads will also see a performance boost. At the same time, you get simplicity, elasticity, scalability, and native integrations with other AWS services.

What are typical use cases for Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes?

We see customers using One Zone for a range of use cases, from DevOps, web hosting, and content management, to logs and database backup storage, to simulations and media workflows. One Zone storage classes are ideal for workloads such as development, build, and staging environments. They also work well for applications such as analytics, simulation and media transcoding, and for backups or replicas of on-premises data that does not require Multi-AZ resilience.

How much do Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes cost?

We offer two One Zone storage classes. One Zone storage costs $0.16/GB-month in the US-East (N. Virginia) Region, and One Zone-Infrequent Access storage costs $0.0133/GB-month in the US-East (N. Virginia) Region – representing 47% savings over Amazon EFS Standard storage.

What is Amazon EFS Lifecycle Management, and how does it work?

We introduced Amazon EFS lifecycle management in 2019, based on industry estimates and customer feedback suggesting that customers regularly access only 20% of file data. Lifecycle Management allows you to set time-based thresholds (between 7 and 90 days) for file access, beyond which, Amazon EFS automatically and transparently moves your files to a lower-cost storage tier, dropping your per GB-month storage costs by up to 92% – and your applications and workloads don’t skip a beat. Your infrequently accessed files are still accessible and usable in the same way (incurring an access charge for reads and writes). In the two years since launch, our customers using Lifecycle Management have achieved an effective storage price of just $0.08/GB-month (prices in US-EAST N. Virginia Region)! We offer a One Zone-Infrequent Access storage class as well, which, and applying the same 20% frequently accessed pattern, brings effective storage prices for customers using Lifecycle management down to just $0.043/GB-month (prices in US-East N. Virginia Region). Best of all, you don’t have to do anything. Set your lifecycle policy and watch your savings grow!


Amazon EFS provides you with the choice of Standard or One Zone storage classes to match your workload requirements. Choose Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes for your workloads that do not require Multi-AZ resilience, and save 47% by storing your data in a single Availability Zone, with higher durability and availability compared to self-managed options. Choose Amazon EFS Standard storage classes to store data redundantly across multiple geographically separated Availability Zones for your workloads requiring highest availability and durability. It’s easy to get started. From the Amazon EFS console, click on Create File System, and select an Availability Zone to create a file system with recommended settings in just a few clicks. You can also use the Amazon EFS API or AWS CLI – learn more on the Amazon EFS Getting Started page.

Thanks for reading this blog post on the new Amazon EFS One Zone storage classes. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the comments section.

Paula Phipps

Paula Phipps

Paula is a product marketing manager for Amazon EFS. Her background is in cloud, storage, data management, data protection, and application-specific infrastructure solutions. She starts every day imagining herself in her customers’ shoes. Outside of work she likes to hike, cook, spend time with family, and loves a good mystery.

Sarwar Raza

Sarwar Raza

Sarwar Raza is Senior Manager of Product Management on the Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) team. Prior to AWS, Sarwar led strategy and product teams at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).