by Adam Armstrong

AWS Makes Several Storage Announcements Ahead Of re:Invent

As AWS re:Invent is right around the corner, Amazon is starting to release some of its announcements before the event begins. The first slew of announcements center around a subject close to our hearts, storage. The company is launching several new features for Amazon Elastic Block Store {EBS), Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, Amazon Elastic File System (EFS,) AWS DataSync, AWS Storage Gateway, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). 

AWS has been around for 17 years now starting with a handful of tools and growing to over 165 services that run the gamut of technology. This includes computing, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, mobile, developer tools, and tools for the Internet of Things. While EC2 has become increasing popular over the last few years for users that need lots of computing power without the desire to obtain the hardware, AWS is also well known as a storage option. The most popular aspects being S3 and Glacier.

Main announcement points include:

  • Elastic Block Store (EBS) – AWS added a Fast Snapshot Restore (FSR) feature. As the name implies, FSR restores snapshots quickly and enables the creation of fully-initialized, full-performance EBS volumes.
  • Amazon FSx for Windows File Server - This file system now includes a long list of enterprise-ready features, including remote management, native multi-AZ file systems, and user quotas. Several new features make this file system even more cost-effective, including data deduplication and support for smaller SSD file systems.
  • Elastic File System (EFS) – AWS has made EFS available in all commercial AWS regions now. 
  • AWS DataSync – DataSync has a new task scheduling feature that allows users to periodically execute a task that detects changes and copies them from the source storage system to the destination, with options to run tasks on an hourly, daily, weekly, or custom basis. AWS has also added support for Europe (Stockholm), Asia Pacific {Mumbai), South America (Sao Paulo), Asia Pacific (Hong Kong), and AWS GovCloud {US-East) Regions. This makes AWS DataSync available in all commercial and GovCloud regions.
  • AWS Storage Gateway – AWS has added several enterprise features to its AWS Storage Gateway:
    • High Availability - Storage Gateway now includes a range of health checks when running within a VMware vSphere High Avail abili ty {VMware HA) environment, and can now recover from most service interruptions in under 60 seconds. In the unlikely event that a recovery is necessary, sessions will be maintained and applications should continue to operate unaffected after a pause. The new gateway health checks integrate automatically with VMware through the VM heartbeat. 
    • Enhanced Metrics - AWS Storage Gateway now publishes cache utilization, access pattern, throughput, and 1/0 metrics to Amazon CloudWatch and makes them visible in the Monitoring tab for each gateway. 
    • More Maintenance Options -. Mandatory security updates are always applied promptly, and users can control the schedule for feature updates. There are multiple options including day of the week and day of the month, with more coming soon. 
    • Increased Performance - AWS Storage Gateway now delivers higher read performance when used as a Virtual Tape Library, and for reading data and listing directories when used as a File Gateway, providing users faster access to data managed through these gateways.
  • Amazon S3 – AWS launched a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for S3 Replication, along with the ability to monitor the status of each of the replication configurations.
  • AWS Snowball Edge – AWS launched new training course to help users learn how best to leverage Snowball Edge, best of all, these course are free. 


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