Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Amazon’s Elastic Block Store Opens Up S3 and The Cloud

The Big SAN in the Sky

Cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon are putting out the technology that the enterprise and SaaS providers need to move beyond testing the waters and take advantage of the Cloud today. The latest, and most important from the data storage perspective, is Amazon’s Elastic Block Store, or EBS.

Over the years we’ve witnessed a shift to hosted IT infrastructure where all the issues surrounding the physical plant are consolidated and managed by a specialist service. In the past six months we've witnessed the incredible rate at which cloud computing has really taken off and is now allowing businesses to shed the problems of ordering, racking and maintaining servers and disk storage systems.

The public cloud is now knocking down the barriers to a broader business audience that has seen the advantages of “pay as you go” IT and not having to build or rent another data center. Why do that when you can instantly spin up 10, or 1,000 virtual server instances at a fraction of the cost? Cloud infrastructure providers, like Amazon, are putting out the technology that the enterprise and SaaS providers need to move beyond testing the waters and take advantage of the cloud today. The latest, and most important from the data storage perspective, is Amazon’s Elastic Block Store, or EBS.

Datasets, Throughput and Snapshots
In short, EBS is a SAN (Storage Area Network) in the cloud that works with Amazon’s existing Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3). One hurdle for many businesses has been the data storage and throughput limits for each instance. Now you can allocate a disk volume of 1GB to 1TB from what is a virtually endless SAN in the cloud, and attach it to an instance running in EC2. The volume is stored on redundant disks and has a lifetime that's separate from any instance on which it is mounted. This is important, as previously the data was lost when an instance was no longer used. Now you can unmount it, and later remount it on another instance. We’ll look at how to get very large datasets using EBS into the cloud.

Another benefit of EBS is taking advantage of the snapshotting feature. You can snapshot a volume to S3, where it is stored with the redundancy and durability of all objects on S3. Moreover, successive snapshots are incremental providing a very powerful and efficient backup capability for volumes.The ability to take snapshots is a complex feature, but RightScale provides some cool scripts to make it even easier to freeze all data access while the snapshot is taken to ensure that the data on the snapshot is consistent.

The RightScale Dashboard supports all the features of EBS and offers a number of additional features such as configuring volumes to automatically be attached to servers when these launch and track the ancestry of a volume or snapshot. What does EBS enable? In short: traditional processing on large datasets and reliable storage for many servers. But let's look at these two areas one-by-one.

Amazon Web Services are designed for scale. EC2, S3, SQS, and SDB are ideally suited for building large systems that process huge data volumes. The catch has been that they are geared towards modern service oriented systems using a non-relational database like Amazon SDB, and thrive on large numbers of simple servers (EC2). Business users have more traditional applications, such as relational databases, that require large datasets stored in a file system with a POSIX interface. While an EC2 X-large instance comes with about 1.4TB of local disk space, it is difficult to use in a production system. Populating the disk with data at boot time can take hours and backups, replication and restoring the data in case of an instance failure are all sore points. For up to 100GB the timescales are workable, but beyond that it gets difficult.

More Stories By Thorsten von Eicken

Thorsten von Eicken is the CTO and a founder of RightScale and is responsible for the overall technology direction of the RightScale Cloud Management Platform. Previously, he was founder and chief architect at Expertcity (acquired by Citrix Online), where he directed the architecture of the company's online services, including the popular GoToMeeting service. von Eicken also managed the Expertcity/Citrix data center operations, where he acquired deep knowledge in deploying and running secure, scalable online services. He was a professor of Computer Science at Cornell University and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Jeremy Geelan 08/21/08 02:03:47 PM EDT

Dr von Eicken will be giving a technical session at SYS-CON's "Cloud Computing Expo" (November 19-21, 2008) - a major adjunct to the 4th International Virtualization Conference & Expo being held at The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA - in which he will distill the unique characteristics of clouds and describe how to best think about deployments in the clouds.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.