What is AWS Elastic File System?

Amazon’s AWS Elastic File System (EFS) service provides on demand file storage in the cloud. So, with EFS, you are only billed for storage you actually use. This provides a cost savings over paying for a designated amount of storage in advance that might go unused.

AWS Elastic File System

You are probably wondering why Amazon would have two services for file storage.  Isn’t S3 the same thing?

AWS Elastic File System vs. AWS S3

S3 is about storing and retrieving fairly static files; documents, images, video, and even static HTML.  S3 is very efficient for distributing the same copy of a file to hundreds, thousands or millions of end users.

EFS integrates into the file system itself.  It works with files and directories that change frequently and need to be used by applications or server processes across multiple server instances. So, how does that differ from RDS?

AWS Elastic File System vs. RDS

RDS manages hierarchical data.  Data that defines entities and the relationships between those entities.  EFS manages file based data.  Executables, directories, logs, and resources that don’t often have or need relationships to each other.

EFS replaces the local file system with a centralized repository.  To the server or application there is no change in behavior.  

With EFS the app or server writes to and from the EFS volume as if the file system was local. As a result any other server utilizing the EFS storage updates the contents of the EFS volume. Every other application and server has access to the updated contents.

AWS Elastic File System Benefits

No more local dependencies and possibility for stale data.  No more duplicated storage for the same files for each server or application instance.  Simple, centralized file storage, instantly synchronized across all applications and servers that share the EFS volume; that’s what EFS provides.

Learn More about AWS Elastic File System

Check out my AWS Essentials Work Book. It covers EFS, and other essential topics, to help you start using Amazon Web Services right away.

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