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Changing Dynamics of EBS and Cost Savings Opportunities

Let’s understand what storage is and the different types of storage provided by AWS before we dive deeper into EBS or AWS…

What is storage?

Storage is a space provided by hard disk drives, tape drives, or solid-state drives to store the user or OS Data on computer systems. The hard disk drive on your laptop or the flash drive on your mobile phone is a storage space where you can store your data or system-related data. As a key component of digital devices, consumers and businesses largely rely on it to preserve information ranging from personal photos to business information. The data is stored in data centres with thousands of storage devices, such as banks, social media, and email services. For instance, consider a scenario where the hard disk on your computer gets corrupted or damaged physically or worn out due to age. In this case, if you didn’t have any backup of drive you’ll lose all your data. However, if you backed up your data you’ll receive all your information.


Even though an individual may only afford one backup point for their data, enterprise organizations cannot afford such costly affairs as this may compromise the security of their stored data because of the possibility of a single failure point. Most enterprises resolve the issue by adopting the raid system to increase reliability. Raid is a redundant array of independent disks- a mechanism or framework to increase the availability, reliability, and performance of data storage. There are multiple raid levels, and organizations such as EMC and IBM have developed their custom raid levels. You can read about raid levels on multiple articles available on the web or books are written for storage devices. I hope the concept of what is storage is clear, based on the evolution of the storage industry, from disks waiting a few tons with only 5-6 MB’s of storage to 250 grams Flash modules able to store 28 TB. The storage industry has evolved a lot in the past 3-4 decades. Cloud storage is the latest and most efficient addition in the storage industry.


The three types of data

Now let's discuss 3 types of data: Structured data, unstructured data, and semi-structured data.

Structured data

is where each data key is defined and data is stored in the block storage. AWS’s EBS is an elastic block store and it is primarily for structured data. Databases, application data, and Operating systems are a few examples of structured data.


Unstructured data

is where data is in the form of flat files which does not have the standard value or the definition of value. Two files stored can be of entirely different properties. This data is stored in the form of objects and not tables and it is not transactional data. It's known as object-oriented storage. AWS’s S3 is the Object-oriented storage service by AWS.


Semi-structured data

is where data is not well defined like structured data but it is also not flat files like objects are semi-structured data. Some examples of semi-structured data are JSON documents, excel files, or HTML files. File storage is used to store semi-structured data. AWS’s elastic file store EFS provides the file storage services to store this type of data.


Block storage and how changing dynamics of EBS

Now that our understanding of what is storage and different types is clear let’s come to Block storage and how changing dynamics of EBS not only save you money but also improve performance. EBS storage is Block storage, and the different types of underlying storage devices will impact the performance and cost of block devices depending on the underlying hardware. EBS volumes can be created with the following types in the Mumbai region:

Many organizations have already turned to block storage to save thousands of dollars.


To illustrate this, let’s have a practical example of how much money an organization can save when they adopt a block storage protocol.


Let’s assume Organization A has the EBS volumes of 1200TB Size.

Their total spends on EBS considering GP2 is $148984.09. However, if they migrate to GP3 then it will be $125409.10.

That is a savings of US$24000, right? Almost 20% of the EBS cost can be saved just by migrating from GP2 to GP3.


Let's consider moving from IO1 to GP3:


IO1 type of EBS storage for 1200 TB with 16000 provisioned IOPS will cost 256601.92

GP3 type of EBS storage with 1200 TB with 16000 IOPS will cost only $125409.10


That is more than 50% saving on the cost, 50% of the EBS cost can be saved just by migrating from IO1 to GP3.


What are you waiting for?


Let's learn the migration process and save some money.

How to Migrate:


GP2 to GP3 migration can be done without any downtime. It’s a hot migration and that's the best part. The migration process is very simple and efficient.


Below is the process to migrate to GP3:


Note: If it is a production system please go ahead and take a snapshot of the volume before proceeding with the activity.


A: How to take a snapshot:


1: Open AWS EC2 console and select the volume which needs to be migrated to GP3.

2: click on actions on the top right corner of the AWS console.

3: click on create a snapshot to being the process of snapshot creation.

4: Name your snapshot with date and time and an identifier as per organization policy.

5: click create a snapshot and there you GO!!

6: check the progress of the snapshot in the AWS console.


Note: if it's not a production system then you can skip the snapshot creation part


B: Modify the volume from GP2 to GP3 or IO1 to GP3


1: Open the AWS EC2 console and select the volume that needs to be migrated or modified.

2: Click on actions and select modify the volume.

3: Select the volume type as GP3 and specify IOPS or Bandwidth according to requirements.

4: Click on done and check the progress of volume modification on the volume console.


The activity of migration of EBS from GP2 to GP3 is completed.



Tape drives: Tape drives are storage devices that are mostly used for backups. They write the data on a magnetic strip in a sequence. Tape drives are like tape records from the ’90s which will write on the strip and then read or write data sequentially.


Hard disk drives: hard disk drives or HDDs are traditional drives used in the industry to store data. We have all used HDDs, as they are still the most common disk drives on laptops and personal machines because of their affordable cost. But HDDs are slowly going obsolete from data centers because of the mechanical movement that leads to a higher number of failures and limited IOPS that affects the performance of HDDs.


Solid-state drives: solid-state drives are flash devices made up of transistors and there is no mechanical movement for reading or writing data. Read and write IOPS are 5 to 10 times higher than HDD’s and because of the compact size of transistors, it can store 3-4 times the data of HDD in the same dimensions of the disk. IBM’s Flash modules are some of the best solid-state drives in the industry.


Please note that if you are interested to learn more about storage devices please read other articles online as the scope of this article is just to introduce you to storage devices and then AWS’s EBS and cost involved.


To learn more about Spot Storage,  visit the Cloudport Storage page, or connect with us.







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