AWS adds Infrequent Access data option to EFS to cut file-storage costs

As businesses step onto the cloud-migration journey, picking a cloud storage provider has traditionally meant juggling the age-old proverb of good, fast and cheap. Cheaper services could mean trading off latency and security, while fast and secure services potentially led to large monthly bills.

Cloud storage market leader Amazon Web Services Inc.’s Elastic File System was designed specifically to make cloud migration seamless and secure. Now the company’s Infrequent Access option makes storing dormant files both cheap and easy, according to Duncan Lennox (pictured), director of product management, EFS, at AWS.

“One of the things that we heard a lot from our customers was ‘Can you make [EFS] cheaper? We love it, but we’d like to use more of it,’” Lennox said.

Lennox spoke with Dave Vellante (@dvellante), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the AWS Storage Boston event in Boston, Massachusetts. They discussed the benefits and history of AWS EFS and the new EFS IA option. (* Disclosure below.)

Automated life-cycle management saves on storage costs

The vast majority of stored data, up to 80%, according to accepted industry statistics, goes dormant after a short period of time. Maintaining this data in active storage systems, such as EFS, is an obvious inefficient use of resources. AWS solves this with the EFS Infrequent Access option.

“What we discovered is that we could develop this infrequent access storage class, and how it works is you turn on a capability we call life-cycle management and it’s completely automated after that,” Lennox said.

A single console click or API call activates the feature, which then monitors data and automatically moves it to the infrequent access storage class after a designated periods of time.

“You pick a policy 14 days, 30 days, and we monitor the read/write I/O to every file individually,” Lennox explained. “Once a file hasn’t been read from or written to in that policy period … we automatically and transparently move it to the Infrequent Access storage class, which is 92% cheaper than our standard storage class.”

EFS IA data remains active and visible for users

“Transparently” is a key differentiator for this service. Savings are moot if the data vanishes from user file directories. With the EF SIA the data is moved invisibly, so it remains visible and accessible to users.

“For your applications and your users, it’s the same file in the same directory,” Lennox stated. “It does not appear to move in the file system.”

Genome sequencing is a use-case example cited by Lennox. “For them to have a larger set of data always available to their applications, but not costing them as much as it was, allows them to get more results faster,” he said. “What we’re trying to do all the time is help our customers be able to focus less on the infrastructure and the heavy lifting and more on being able to innovate faster for their customer.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS Storage Boston event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the AWS Storage Boston event. Neither Sponsored by AWS Storage, the sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

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Photo: SiliconANGLE

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