Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes have been an essential EC2 component since they were launched in 2008. Today, you can choose between six types of HDD and SSD volumes, each designed to serve a particular use case and to deliver a specified amount of performance.
Earlier this year we launched io2 volumes with 100x higher durability and 10x more IOPS/GiB than the earlier io1 volumes. The io2 volumes are a great fit for your most I/O-hungry and latency-sensitive applications, including high-performance, business-critical workloads.
Today we are opening up a preview of io2 Block Express volumes that are designed to deliver even higher performance!
Built on our new EBS Block Express architecture that takes advantage of some advanced communication protocols implemented as part of the AWS Nitro System, the volumes will give you up to 256K IOPS & 4000 MBps of throughput and a maximum volume size of 64 TiB, all with sub-millisecond, low-variance I/O latency. Throughput scales proportionally at 0.256 MB/second per provisioned IOPS, up to a maximum of 4000 MBps per volume. You can provision 1000 IOPS per GiB of storage, twice as many as before. The increased volume size & higher throughput means that you will no longer need to stripe multiple EBS volumes together, reducing complexity and management overhead.
Block Express is a modular storage system that is designed to increase performance and scale. Scalable Reliable Datagrams (as described in A Cloud-Optimized Transport Protocol for Elastic and Scalable HPC) are implemented using custom-built, dedicated hardware, making communication between Block Express volumes and Nitro-powered EC2 instances fast and efficient. This is, in fact, the same technology that the Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) uses to support high-end HPC and Machine Learning workloads on AWS,
Putting it all together, these volumes are going to deliver amazing performance for your SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and Apache Cassandra workloads, and for your mission-critical transaction processing applications such as airline reservation systems and banking that once mandated the use of an expensive and inflexible SAN (Storage Area Network).
Join the Preview
The preview is currently available in the US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and Europe (Frankfurt) Regions. During the preview, we support the use of R5b instances, with support for other Nitro-powered instances in the works.
You can opt-in to the preview on a per-account, per-region basis, create new io2 Block Express volumes, and then attach them to R5b instances. All newly created io2 volumes in that account/region will then make use of Block Express, and will perform as described above.
This is still a work in progress. We’re still adding support for a couple of features (Multi-Attach, Elastic Volumes, and Fast Snapshot Restore) and we’re building a new I/O fencing feature so that you can attach the same volume to multiple instances while ensuring consistent access and protecting shared data.
The volumes support encryption, but you can’t create encrypted volumes from unencrypted AMIs or snapshots, or from encrypted AMIs or snapshots that were shared from another AWS account. We expect to take care of all of these items during the preview. To learn more, visit the io2 page and read the io2 documentation.
To get started, opt-in to the io2 Block Express Preview today!