Amazon EFS Total Cost of Ownership

Forrester TEI study finds Amazon EFS delivers 219% ROI

AWS commissioned Forrester Research consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to examine the potential return on investment (ROI) organizations may realize by using Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS). Amazon EFS is a simple, serverless, set-and-forget, elastic file system that lets you share file data without provisioning or managing storage.

Forrester Total Economic Impact of  Amazon EFS infographic
Forrester Total Economic Impact of Amazon EFS infographic
Learn about the three-year Amazon EFS financial impact based on customer interviews.
Forrester Total Economic Impact of  Amazon Elastic File System
Forrester Total Economic Impact of Amazon EFS full study
Read the full study for details around key findings such as 219% ROI, $2.6M NPV, and payback in less than 6 months.
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"Amazon EFS fast-tracked our procure, stack, and rack process from weeks to minutes."
- Ravi Devesetti, EVP, Global CTO of Consumer Information Services, Experian, USA

Self-managed alternatives to Amazon EFS

You can operate file servers in the AWS Cloud using third-party software that provides a file system interface and shared access to files. The management software for these third-party solutions typically runs on Amazon EC2 instances, and these solutions leverage Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) as the underlying storage component. These solutions require budget for the third-party software licenses, Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon EBS volumes, and data replication across Availability Zones (AZs).

TCO comparison between Amazon EFS and a self-managed cloud solution

The example solutions below illustrate the TCO differences between Amazon EFS and a self-managed cloud solution with third-party software This example is for a latency-sensitive workload requiring 1 TB of storage, with an average throughput requirement of 10 MB/s and peak throughput performance of 100 MB/s.

Amazon EFS automatically replicates data across multiple AZs. A self-managed cloud solution requires additional storage capacity for cross-AZ replication, and incurs costs for data transfers between AWS AZs; these costs are built into the Amazon EFS price of $0.30/GB-month.

  Amazon EFS

 Self-managed cloud solution

Utilized Capacity

1,024 1,024

Total Purchased Capacity (GB)

1,024 2,409

Storage Cost (1 year)

$3,686 $2,891

Compute Cost - 2 c4.xlarge (1 year on-demand)

Included $3,486

Cross-AZ Replication Data Transfer Cost (1 year)

Included $3,080

Total Cost of Ownership (1 year)

$3,686 $9,457

$/Utilized GB per Month

$0.30 $0.77

Savings with Amazon EFS


In this example, the table above shows that Amazon EFS is less than half the cost of a self-managed cloud solution with third-party software. The price for the self-managed solution assumes free, open source third-party software and does not include the labor costs for setup, initialization, management, and maintenance.

Comparison details:
For the self-managed cloud solution, the Total Purchased Capacity calculation uses EBS General Purpose (SSD) gp2 volumes, considers an 85% disk utilization rate, and accounts for doubled capacity for replication to a second AZ. The example assumes an average throughput of 10 MB/s of reads and writes, with an even split of reads and writes, leading to a replication rate of 5 MB/s corresponding to writes to the secondary AZ. The Compute Cost calculation uses one c4.xlarge EC2 instance in each AZ (2 total) to deliver the performance required.

Lower your TCO and simplify management

The example above represents the cost savings Amazon EFS provides compared to a self-managed cloud solution. When considering the labor and time required for installation, management, and maintenance for a self-managed solution, Amazon EFS provides even greater savings. This TCO advantage is further strengthened when considering that with Amazon EFS you do not have to manage the infrastructure or need to plan for capacity growth.

Comparing Amazon EFS TCO to on-premises solutions

Amazon EFS, like all AWS services, helps you lower TCO by reducing the need to invest in large capital expenditures and provides a pay-as-you-go model that empowers you to invest in the capacity you need and use it only when the business requires it. AWS Pricing Calculator lets you explore AWS services, and create an estimate for the cost of your use cases on AWS.

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