Amazon Elastic File System

Scalable, elastic, cloud-native file system for Linux

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) provides a simple, scalable, elastic file system for Linux-based workloads for use with AWS Cloud services and on-premises resources. It is built to scale on demand to petabytes without disrupting applications, growing and shrinking automatically as you add and remove files, so your applications have the storage they need – when they need it. It is designed to provide massively parallel shared access to thousands of Amazon EC2 instances, enabling your applications to achieve high levels of aggregate throughput and IOPS with consistent low latencies. Amazon EFS is a fully managed service that requires no changes to your existing applications and tools, providing access through a standard file system interface for seamless integration. There is a Standard and an Infrequent Access storage class available with Amazon EFS. Using EFS Lifecycle Management, files not accessed according to the lifecycle policy you choose will automatically be moved to a cost-optimized Infrequent Access storage class, giving you a simple way to store and access active and infrequently accessed file system data in the same file system while reducing storage costs by up to 85%. Amazon EFS is a regional service storing data within and across multiple Availability Zones (AZs) for high availability and durability. You can access your file systems across AZs, regions, and VPCs and share files between thousands of Amazon EC2 instances and on-premises servers via AWS Direct Connect or AWS VPN.

Amazon EFS is well suited to support a broad spectrum of use cases from highly parallelized, scale-out workloads that require the highest possible throughput to single-threaded, latency-sensitive workloads. Use cases such as lift-and-shift enterprise applications, big data analytics, web serving and content management, application development and testing, media and entertainment workflows, database backups, and container storage.

Amazon EFS Overview

Learn more about cloud file storage and how it compares to other cloud storage solutions.

Cloud storage options provide a simple and scalable way to store, access, and share data over the Internet. Here, we compare Amazon EFS to other AWS Cloud storage offerings, helping you understand when to choose Amazon EFS.


Dynamic Elasticity

Amazon EFS automatically and instantly scales your file system storage capacity up or down as you add or remove files without disrupting your applications, giving you the storage you need – when you need it. You simply create your file system and start adding files with no need to provision storage in advance.

Scalable Performance

Amazon EFS is designed to provide the throughput, IOPS, and low latency needed for Linux workloads. Throughput and IOPS scale as a file system grows and can burst to higher throughput levels for short periods of time to support the unpredictable performance needs of file workloads. For the most demanding workloads, Amazon EFS can support performance over 10 GB/sec and up to 500,000 IOPS.

Shared file storage

Amazon EFS provides secure access for thousands of connections. Amazon EC2 instances and on-premises servers can simultaneously access a shared Amazon EFS file system using a traditional file permissions model, file locking capabilities, and hierarchical directory structure via the NFSv4 protocol. Amazon EC2 instances can access your file system across AZs and regions while on-premises servers can access using AWS Direct Connect or AWS VPN.

Fully Managed

Amazon EFS is a fully managed service providing shared file system storage for Linux workloads. It provides a simple interface allowing you to create and configure file systems quickly and manages the file storage infrastructure for you, removing the complexity of deploying, patching, and maintaining the underpinnings of a file system.


With Amazon EFS storage, you pay only for what you use. There is no need to provision storage in advance and there are no minimum commitments or up-front fees. With EFS Lifecycle Management, you can automatically move files accessed less frequently to a cost-optimized storage class, reducing file storage costs by up to 85%.

Security and compliance

Amazon EFS allows you to securely access your files using your existing security infrastructure. Control access to your Amazon EFS file systems with POSIX permissions, Amazon VPC, and AWS IAM. Secure your data by encrypting your data at rest and in transit. Amazon EFS also meets many eligibility and compliance requirements to help you meet your regulatory needs. Click here for a list of compliance programs in scope for Amazon EFS.

How it works

Amazon EFS - How it works

Use cases

Lift-and-shift enterprise applications

Amazon EFS provides the scalability, elasticity, availability, and durability to be the file store for enterprise applications and for applications delivered as a service. Its standard file system interface, file system permissions, and directory hierarchy make it easy to migrate enterprise applications from on-premises to the AWS cloud or to build new ones.
Learn more »

Big data analytics

Amazon EFS provides the scale and performance for big data applications that require high throughput to compute nodes coupled with read-after-write consistency and low-latency file operations. Many analytics workloads interact with data via a file interface, requiring file permissions, a directory hierarchy, file locks, and the ability to write to portions of a file. Amazon EFS provides the necessary file system security and can scale capacity as well as performance to support the demands of big data analytics workloads.

Web serving & content management

Amazon EFS provides a durable, high throughput file system for content management systems and web serving applications that store and serve information for a range of applications like websites, online publications, and archives. Since Amazon EFS adheres to the expected file system directory structure, file naming conventions, and permissions that web developers are accustomed to, it can easily integrate with web applications.

Application testing & development

Amazon EFS provides your development environments a common storage repository that gives you the ability to share code and other files in a secure and organized way. You can provision, duplicate, scale, or archive your test, development, and production environments with a few clicks, enabling your organization to be more agile and responsive to customer needs. Amazon EFS delivers a scalable and highly available solution that is ideal for testing and development workloads.

Media & entertainment

Media workflows like video editing, studio production, broadcast processing, sound design, and rendering often depend on shared storage to manipulate large files. Amazon EFS provides a strong data consistency model with high throughput and shared file access which can cut the time it takes to perform these jobs and consolidate multiple local file repositories into a single location for all users.

Database backups

Amazon EFS presents a standard file system that can be easily mounted with NFSv4 from database servers. This provides an ideal platform to create portable database backups using native application tools or enterprise backup applications. Many businesses want to take advantage of the flexibility of storing database backups in the cloud either for temporary protection during updates or for development and test.

Container storage

Amazon EFS is ideal for container storage providing persistent shared access to a common file repository. Containers are an integral part of building microservices because they’re quick to provision, easily portable, and provide process isolation. Containers that need access to the original data each time they start, can take advantage of a shared file system that they can connect to regardless of which instance they’re running on.

Case studies

BBC Uses Shared File Storage to Migrate Red Button Application to the AWS Cloud

By using Amazon EFS to share files, the BBC was able to build an agile and cost-effective solution, migrating its on-premises Red Button interactive TV service to the AWS Cloud. Using services including Amazon EC2, Amazon EFS, Amazon SNS, Amazon SQS, and Amazon Kinesis, the company was able to move their entire application on time and within budget.

Blog posts

How to test drive Amazon Elastic File System 
Apr 3, 2019
New - Infrequent Access Storage Class for Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) 
Feb 13, 2019
Provisioned Throughput for Amazon EFS 
Aug 2, 2018
Encryption of Data in Transit for Amazon EFS 
Apr 4, 2018
Encryption of Data at Rest for Amazon Elastic File System 
Aug 14, 2017
Amazon EFS Update - On-Premises Access via Direct Connect 
Dec 20, 2016

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