Amazon EC2 Adds Persistent Storage

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Amazon announced last night that it has added persistent storage capabilities to its utility computing platform. This is a feature that Amazon’s developer community has been seeking for some time. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels explains how it works:

Persistent storage for Amazon EC2 will be offered in the form of storage volumes which you can mount into your EC2 instance as a raw block storage device. It basically looks like an unformatted hard disk. Once you have the volume mounted for the first time you can format it with any file system you want or if you have advanced applications such as high-end database engines, you could use it directly.”

Reviews are rolling in, and many Amazon-watchers and cloud bloggers see this as a very big deal.


AWS specialist Rightscale has blogged about its experience as a beta tester of the persistent EC2 storage service. Here’s the early reaction:

  • Bob Warfield at Smoothspan calls it “big, big news for Cloud Computing. … If something happens to your EC2 instance, the data is lost. You can’t simply reboot like a real physical machine and get back to where you were. This is a real problem when hosting your MySQL or other database. Now Amazon has announced that you can simply mount some S3 storage on your EC2 instance and run with that.”
  • John Willis: “This will be a huge enhancement for Amazon AWS,” John writes, adding that Amazon needs only two more items to be enterprise ready – 5 nines reliability and coming out of beta.
  • James Hamilton (Microsoft): “Persistence for EC2 is a big one. I’ve been amazed at how hard customers were willing to work to get persistent storage in EC2.”

Check out Techmeme for additional reactions from the blogosphere.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.