Persistent Storage for Amazon EC2

Last night, Amazon announced that they’re adding a persistent storage capability to their EC2 service. To review, EC2 provides the ability to create virtual servers on the fly. These servers are a bit ephemeral, however. They can fail at any time and don’t provide any persistent, local storage of their own. If an EC2 instance fails, you have to completely restart it, losing any data it may have been working on. Amazon’s S3 service is persistent storage, but it is not designed to be accessed as local storage by EC2 instances. The newly announced persistent storage capability is designed to solve this issue. It’s like an on-demand S.A.N., but with more flexibility. One of the really nice things about it is the ability to checkpoint a persistent volume to S3. This is great for database backups, among other things. No performance numbers have been published yet, but those who have been using it say the performance is good. This makes Amazon Web Services even more interesting, because it’s now easier to run a normal MySQL instance without having to do something like running some kind of replication just to deal with the non-persistent local storage. And it scales up.
See Werner Vogels’ announcement of the persistent storage service, and RightScale’s analysis of it, for more information.

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