Amazon pushes AWS Elastic File System out of preview

Three regions can now try out the new file storage service for AWS products.

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Amazon

Amazon has announced the availability of the Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) storage service, now removed from preview and available in specific regions worldwide.

According to the e-commerce giant, EFS is now available in three regions, the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), and Europe (Ireland), and in the firm's typical fashion, customers will only pay for the storage they use.

First announced in 2015, EFS is a system which provides shared, low-latency access to a manageable file system on Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud storage products. AWS EFS is compatible with multiple EC2 instances and stores copies of files, directories, links, and metadata in multiple availability zones to help protect enterprise data.

Born out of feedback from current AWS customers who wanted a way to more easily manage scalable file storage, a feature which may appeal to potential enterprise clients is that created POSIX-compliant file systems are scalable -- and there is no fixed upper limit, with scaling reaching the petabyte range.

In a blog post, Amazon said the service can be accessed through a single virtual private cloud (VPC) via mount targets created and mounted in the VPC. In the interests of security, access to each mount is controlled through Amazon's Security Groups.

"EFS offers two distinct performance modes," Amazon says. "The first mode, General Purpose, is the default. You should use this mode unless you expect to have tens, hundreds, or thousands of EC2 instances access the file system concurrently. The second mode, Max I/O, is optimized for higher levels of aggregate throughput and operations per second, but incurs slightly higher latencies for file operations."

File systems connected to EFS will deliver metrics including the number of clients that are connected to the file system, bytes read and written on the file system and the amount of data that can be transferred at the burst level of throughput to the CloudWatch console.

However, as noted by VentureBeat, the service does have its limitations. The system will not work with EC2 instances running Windows, there can only be up to 10 file systems in a given AWS region and there is a maximum of 128 active users accessing the same file at the same time.

EFS pricing is based on the amount of data stored. Amazon says there are no setup costs to consider and pricing begins at $0.30 per GB per month, with additional charges based on a Gigabyte-month, pro-rated systems.

Users who are eligible for AWS Free Tier can use up to 5GB of EFS storage per month at no charge.

In related news, Amazon also announced the launch of AWS in Mumbai, the firm's sixth region in the APAC region.

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