Cloud Backup Future Features > EBS Support

Introduction to Elastic Block Store (part 1)

Posted by Mariano Domínguez on August 06, 2018

What is EBS?

Elastic Block Store is mountable storage; it can be mounted as a device to an EC2 instance. You can use EBS volumes as primary storage for data that requires frequent updates, such as the system drive for an instance or storage for a database application. You can also use them for throughput-intensive applications that perform continuous disk scans. EBS volumes persist independently from the running life of an EC2 instance. After a volume is attached to an instance, you can use it like any other physical hard drive.

Perks of EBS Volumes

  • Data availability
  • Data persistence
  • Data encryption
  • Snapshots
  • Flexibility

Focus on Snapshots

You can back up the data on your Amazon EBS volumes to Amazon S3 by taking point-in-time snapshots. Snapshots are incremental backups, which means that only the blocks on the device that have changed after your most recent snapshot are saved. This minimizes the time required to create the snapshot and saves on storage costs by not duplicating data. When you delete a snapshot, only the data unique to that snapshot is removed. Each snapshot contains all of the information needed to restore your data (from the moment when the snapshot was taken) to a new EBS volume.

When you create an EBS volume based on a snapshot, the new volume begins as an exact replica of the original volume that was used to create the snapshot. The replicated volume loads data lazily in the background so that you can begin using it immediately. If you access data that hasn’t been loaded yet, the volume immediately downloads the requested data from Amazon S3, and then continues loading the rest of the volume’s data in the background.

A snapshot is constrained to the region where it was created. After you create a snapshot of an EBS volume, you can use it to create new volumes in the same region. You can also copy snapshots across regions, making it possible to use multiple regions for geographical expansion, data center migration, and disaster recovery. You can copy any accessible snapshot that has a completed status.

What about encryption?

Snapshots of encrypted volumes are automatically encrypted. Volumes that are created from encrypted snapshots are automatically encrypted. When you copy an unencrypted snapshot that you own, you can encrypt it during the copy process. When you copy an encrypted snapshot that you own, you can reencrypt it with a different key during the copy process.

To be continued in part 2…

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