Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) provides a simple, scalable, fully managed elastic NFS file system 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, eliminating the need to provision and manage capacity to accommodate growth.
Amazon EFS offers two storage classes: the Standard storage class, and the Infrequent Access storage class (EFS IA). EFS IA provides price/performance that's cost-optimized for files not accessed every day. By simply enabling EFS Lifecycle Management on your file system, files not accessed according to the lifecycle policy you choose will be automatically and transparently moved into EFS IA. The EFS IA storage class costs only $0.025/GB-month*.
While workload patterns vary, customers typically find that 80% of files are infrequently accessed (and suitable for EFS IA), and 20% are actively used (suitable for EFS Standard), resulting in an effective storage cost as low as $0.08/GB-month*. Amazon EFS transparently serves files from both storage classes in a common file system namespace.
Amazon EFS 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 well suited to support a broad spectrum of use cases from home directories to business-critical applications. Customers can use EFS to lift-and-shift existing enterprise applications to the AWS Cloud. Other use cases include: big data analytics, web serving and content management, application development and testing, media and entertainment workflows, database backups, and container storage.
Amazon EFS is a regional service storing data within and across multiple Availability Zones (AZs) for high availability and durability. Amazon EC2 instances can access your file system across AZs, regions, and VPCs, while on-premises servers can access using AWS Direct Connect or AWS VPN.
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.
POSIX-compliant shared file storage
Amazon EFS provides secure access for thousands of connections for Amazon EC2 instances and on-premises servers simultaneously 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, regions, and VPCs, while on-premises servers can access using AWS Direct Connect or AWS VPN.
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 more than 500,000 IOPS.
Amazon EFS automatically and instantly scales your file system storage capacity up or down as you add or remove files without disrupting your applications, dynamically providing the storage capacity you need as you need it. You simply create your file system and start adding files with no need to provision storage in advance.
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 92%.
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
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.
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Analytics & machine learning
Amazon EFS provides the ease of use, scale, performance, and consistency needed for machine learning and big data analytics workloads. Data scientists can use EFS to create personalized environments, with home directories storing notebook files, training data, and model artifacts. Amazon SageMaker integrates with EFS for training jobs, allowing data scientists to iterate quickly.
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.
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.
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.
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.