Q: What is AWS DataSync?

A: AWS DataSync is an online data transfer service that simplifies, automates, and accelerates copying large amounts of data between storage systems and AWS storage services such as Amazon S3 and Amazon EFS, over the Internet or AWS Direct Connect.

Q: Why should I use AWS DataSync?

A: AWS DataSync allows you to move, copy, and synchronize large datasets with millions of files, without having to build custom solutions with opensource tools, or license and manage expensive commercial network acceleration software. You can use DataSync for one-time migration of active data, periodic distribution for data processing workflows, or ongoing replication for business continuity.

Q: What problem does DataSync solve for me?

A: DataSync reduces the complexity and cost of online data transfer, making it simple to transfer datasets between on-premises storage systems and Amazon S3 or Amazon Elastic File System (EFS). DataSync connects to existing storage systems and data sources with a standard storage protocol (NFS), and uses a purpose-built network protocol and scale-out architecture to accelerate transfer to and from AWS. DataSync automatically scales and handles all of the tasks involved in moving data, monitoring the progress of transfers, encryption and validation of data transfers, and notifying customer of any failures. With DataSync you pay only for the amount of data copied, with no minimum commitments or upfront fees.

Q: Where can I transfer data to and from?

A: DataSync can copy data between NFS servers, Amazon S3 buckets, and Amazon EFS file systems.


Q: How do I get started with DataSync?

A: You can transfer data using DataSync with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console or through the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI). To get started, you deploy a DataSync agent, configure the source and destination storage locations, and initiate the copy.

Q: How do I deploy a DataSync agent?

A: You deploy a DataSync agent to VMware ESXi hypervisor or in Amazon EC2. To copy data to or from an on-premises NFS server, you download the OVA from the AWS Console and deploy to your on-premises VMware ESXi hypervisor. To copy data to or from an in-cloud NFS server you can create an Amazon EC2 instance from the AMI provided. In both cases the agent must be deployed so that it can access your NFS server.

Q: What are the resource requirements for the DataSync agent?

A: You can find the minimum required resources to run the agent here.


Q: How do I use DataSync?

A: To use DataSync follow these 3 steps:

1. Deploy an agent - Deploy a DataSync agent and associate it to your AWS account via the Management Console or API. The agent will be used to access your NFS server to read data from it or write to it.

2. Create a data transfer task - Create a task by specifying the location of your data source and destination, and any options you want to use for to configure the transfer, such as copying file metadata.

3. Start the transfer - Start the task and monitor data movement in the console or with Amazon CloudWatch.

Q: How can I start a DataSync task?

A: DataSync copies data when you initiate a task via the AWS Management Console or AWS Command Line Interface (CLI). Each time a task runs, it scans the source for changes, and performs a copy of any differences between the source to destination. You can configure which characteristics of the source are used to determine what changed, define filters to include and exclude specific files or folders, and control if files or objects in the destination should be deleted when not found in the source.

Q: How does DataSync perform data integrity validation?

A: DataSync performs data integrity verification both during the transfer and at the end of the transfer (checksum comparison between source and destination files, as well as file metadata comparison).

Q: How can I monitor the status of data being transferred by DataSync?

A: You can use the AWS Management Console or CLI to monitor the status of data being transferred. Using Amazon CloudWatch Metrics, you can see the number of files and amount of data which has been copied. Amazon CloudWatch Logs are available for detailed error information. In addition, CloudWatch Events are triggered as your tasks transition state, enabling automation of dependent workflows. You can find additional information such transfer progress in the AWS Management Console or CLI.

Q: When transferring files to or from Amazon S3, how does DataSync map between files and objects?

A: When files are copied to objects, there is a one-to-one relationship between a file and an object. Filesystem metadata is stored in S3 user metadata. Metadata is restored when objects that contain file system metadata are copied back to files.

Q: What metadata does DataSync preserve when transferring data?

A: DataSync preserves POSIX metadata such as user id, group id and permissions, ensuring files can be restored to their original location without loss of this metadata. Additionally, when storing POSIX metadata from files for objects in S3, the metadata is interoperable with File Gateway.

Q: Can I use versioning, lifecycle, cross-region replication, and S3 event notification with DataSync?

A: Yes. Your bucket policies for versioning, lifecycle management, cross-region replication, and S3 event notification apply directly to objects transferred to your bucket through DataSync.

When using versioning, note that changes to object metadata will create a new version of the object.

You can use S3 lifecycle policies to change an object's storage tier or delete old objects or object versions.

Q: What happens if a DataSync task is interrupted?

A: If a task is interrupted (for instance, if the network connection goes down or the DataSync agent is restarted), the next run of the task will transfer missing files, and the data will be complete and consistent at the end of this run. Each time a task is started it performs an incremental copy, transferring only the changes from the source to the destination.

Q: Can I use DataSync with AWS Direct Connect?

A: Yes. You can use DataSync with your Direct Connect link to access public internet endpoints without any special configuration.

Q: Does DataSync preserve the source directory structure when transferring files?

A: Yes, when transferring files, DataSync creates a directory structure on the destination that is similar to the source location’s structure.


Q:  How fast can DataSync copy my file system to AWS?

A: The rate at which DataSync can copy a given dataset is a function of amount of data, I/O bandwidth achievable from the source and destination storage, network bandwidth available, and network conditions. A single DataSync agent is capable of saturating a 10 Gbps network link.

Q:  Can I control the amount of network bandwidth that a DataSync task uses?

A: Yes, you can control the amount of network bandwidth that DataSync will use by configuring the built-in bandwidth throttle. This can help to minimize impact on other users or applications who rely on the same network connection.

Q:  Will DataSync affect the performance of my source file system?

A: Depending on the capacity of your on-premises file store, and the quantity and size of files to be transferred, DataSync may affect the response time of other clients when accessing the same source data store, because the agent reads or writes data from that storage system. Configuring a bandwidth limit for a task will reduce this impact by limiting the I/O against your storage system.

Security and compliance

Q: Is my data encrypted while being transferred and stored?

A: Yes. All data transferred between the source and destination is encrypted via Transport Layer Security (TLS, which replaced Secure Sockets Layer, SSL). Data is never persisted in DataSync itself. The service supports using default encryption for S3 buckets and Amazon EFS file system encryption of data at rest.

Q: How does DataSync access my NFS file system?

A: DataSync uses an agent that you deploy into your IT environment or into Amazon EC2 to access your file systems through the NFS protocol. These agents connect to DataSync service endpoints within AWS, and once activated are securely managed from the AWS Management Console or CLI. When copying data to or from your premises there is no need to setup a VPN/tunnel or allow inbound connections, and the agents can be configured to route through a firewall using standard network ports.

Q: How does DataSync access my Amazon S3 bucket?

A: DataSync accesses your Amazon S3 bucket using the IAM role you configure.

Q: How does DataSync access my Amazon EFS file system ?

A: DataSync accesses your Amazon EFS file system using the NFS protocol. It does so by mounting your file system from within your VPC from Elastic Network Interfaces (ENIs) managed by the DataSync service. DataSync fully manages the creation, use, and deletion of these ENIs on your behalf.

Q:  Which compliance programs does DataSync support?

A: AWS has the longest-running compliance program in the cloud and are committed to helping customers navigate their requirements. DataSync has been assessed to meet global and industry security standards. It complies with PCI DSS, ISO 9001, 27001, 27017, and 27018; SOC 1,2,and 3; in addition to being HIPAA eligible. That makes it easier for you to verify our security and meet your own obligations. For more information and resources, visit our compliance pages. You can also go to the Services in Scope by Compliance Program page to see a full list of services and certifications.

Q:  Is DataSync PCI compliant?

A: Yes. DataSync is PCI-DSS compliant, which means you can use it to transfer payment information. You can download the PCI Compliance Package in AWS Artifact to learn more about how to achieve PCI Compliance on AWS.

Q:  Is DataSync HIPAA eligible?

A: Yes. DataSync is HIPAA eligible, which means if you have a HIPAA BAA in place with AWS, you can use DataSync to tranfer protected health information (PHI).

When to choose AWS DataSync

Q:  How is DataSync different from using command line tools such as rsync or S3 sync?

A: Compared to DIY solutions built around command line tools, DataSync provides automated, fully managed data transfers. It uses a purpose-built network protocol and scale-out architecture to transfer data at up to 10 times the speed.

Specifically, DataSync fully automates the data transfer. It comes with built-in retry and network resiliency mechanisms, monitoring via the DataSync API and console, and CloudWatch metrics, events and logs that provide granular visibility into the transfer process. DataSync performs data integrity verification both during the transfer and at the end of the transfer. The service also supports flexible configuration to suit your specific needs, including bandwidth throttling, copying source permissions and metadata etc.

DataSync provides end to end security: all data transferred between the source and destination is encrypted via TLS, and access to your AWS storage is enabled via built-in AWS security mechanisms such as IAM roles.

Q:  How do I choose between AWS DataSync and AWS Snowball Edge?

A: AWS Snowball Edge is suitable for customers who don’t need their data in AWS immediately, are bandwidth constrained, or transferring data from remote, disconnected or austere environments. DataSync is ideal for customers who need online migrations for active data sets, timely transfers for continuously generated data, or replication for business continuity.

Q:  How do I choose between AWS DataSync and AWS Storage Gateway?

A: If you are looking to transfer data between on-premises and AWS storage such as S3 or EFS, you use DataSync. DataSync is commonly used for storage migration or for timely recurring transfers of data from on-premises devices such as cameras and instruments for processing in AWS. If you are looking for low-latency access from on-premises to data in AWS, you use AWS Storage Gateway. Storage Gateway is commonly used for backup, hybrid workloads, latency-sensitive on-premises applications, content distribution across offices, and for file based access to objects in S3.

With the combination of DataSync and the File Gateway configuration of Storage Gateway, you can rapidly move your on-premises storage to AWS, while retaining on-premises access for latency-sensitive applications.

Q: How do I choose between AWS DataSync and Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration?

A:If your applications are already integrated with the Amazon S3 API, and you want higher throughput for transferring large files to S3, you can use S3 Transfer Acceleration. If you want to transfer data from existing storage systems (e.g. Network Attached Storage), or from instruments that can’t be changed (e.g. DNA sequencers, video cameras), or if you want multiple destinations, you use DataSync. DataSync also automates and simplifies the data transfer, by providing additional functionality such as built-in retry and network resiliency mechanisms, data integrity verification and flexible configuration to suit your specific needs, including bandwidth throttling, copying source permissions and metadata etc.

Q: How do I choose between AWS DataSync and AWS Transfer for SFTP?

A: If you currently use SFTP to exchange data with third parties, Transfer for SFTP provides a fully managed SFTP transfer directly into and out of Amazon S3, while reducing your operational burden.

If you want an accelerated and automated data transfer between NFS, Amazon S3, and Amazon EFS, you can use DataSync. DataSync is ideal for customers who need online migrations for active data sets, timely transfers for continuously generated data, or replication for business continuity. 

Using DataSync for migrations

Q:  How do I use DataSync for Migrations?

A: You can use DataSync to migrate from on-premises storage to Amazon S3, Amazon EFS, and WorkDocs. You can learn more about the recommended migration flow here.

Q:  How do I use DataSync to migrate to WorkDocs?

A: DataSync is part of the WorkDocs Migration Service. DataSync makes it easier and faster to migrate home directors and department shares to WorkDocs.

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