There is so much more to the cloud today than one would have thought just a few short years ago. In terms of migration, storage and ease-of-use, there have been a plethora of articles and white-papers written on the topic. Many technology experts have shared their expertise and opinions on the cloud journey. Namely, Forrester Research has produced quite a bit of content to the subject. In timely relevance, they stated, \u201cHybrid cloud is not the future: It\u2019s here today.\u201d\u00a0\nHPE\u2019s Robert Christiansen recently contributed \u201cCloud transition: 5 best practices to follow\u201d on the pages of CIO.com. His article outlined an overall strategy to the cloud. Simply put in his straightforward outline, \u201cCloud-first commitment, cloud economics, inner-workings of your application estate, security and governance assessment, and continuous compliance.\u201d It\u2019s a great article if you are looking to get started on your cloud strategy.\nWhile there are many cloud providers and options, each will typically tout their one unique advantage over their competitors. While I make no attempt to compare the various providers out there, I want to provide an example of how the flexibility and simplicity of utilizing cloud storage has improved.\u00a0\nOne provider that has set many benchmarks and standards in the cloud business is obviously Amazon (AWS). What is convenient about AWS (and other cloud providers like Azure, Google, Wasabi) is their capability to offer cost-effective solutions that are easily deployable.\u00a0 One of AWS\u2019 essential product offerings is EBS (Elastic Block Store). This service has significantly improved over the last few years.\nWhat Is Elastic Block Store (EBS)?\nAmazon\u2019s EBS is a service that stores data for the AWS EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instances. EBS provides very durable and persistent block storage in the AWS cloud environment and is constructed on new cloud compute architecture using the latest technologies. It\u2019s a solution for a wide variety of workloads, including large databases, file systems, containerized apps and large analytics engines.\nBasically, Amazon EBS provides the essential benefits that are a part of highly virtualized environments. It provides high availability, backup and redundancy, component failure protection, and of course scalability. Essentially, Amazon EBS offers steroid-type cloud power to storage.\nWhy Elastic Block Store?\nSimply put, EBS allows for quick configuration, deployment and management. EBS has taken much of the complication out of your cloud management and focuses on the ease of use. This flexible platform is a must-have for your mission-critical storage and system needs. EBS has several volume types to allow for the right performance and pricing for your business needs. You can easily swap volume types or increase the size without interrupting your crucial business applications, making this an ideal solution for cost-effective storage as your need arises.\nKey benefits of this service include, but are not limited to:\n\nHighest standards for low latency and throughput\nHigh Availability SLAs\nGeographic protection for best business continuity\nNearly unlimited scalability\nStrong security (in-flight and at-rest encryption)\nSimple management\nAffordability\n\nThese are must-have characteristics for your data peace of mind.\u00a0 However, at the end of the day, you don\u2019t want any complicated configuration or headaches with managing your EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) cloud space. You want a block storage service created specifically for your EC2 environment for an easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy solution, with top performance in terms of transaction-intensive or throughput jobs.\nSo how do you balance your IOPS (Input\/Output Operations Per Second) performance and throughput for your business needs? Well with EBS there are two volume types \u2013 Solid State Drive (SSD) volumes and Hard Disk Drive (HDD) volumes. These configurations permit you to enhance your storage to fit your specific needs from a cost-to-performance standpoint. SSD storage is most appropriate for situations that work with smaller data blocks. This would be in cases where you have high transactional activity, as with databases, or possibly with boot volumes in your EC2 environment.\u00a0 Alternatively, you would utilize HDD volumes requiring higher rates of throughput (large data blocks), such as working with large analytics engines or logging information.\nTrue flexibility?\nYou want that resiliency and high availability, but how much effort requires you to configure and manage it? What\u2019s nice about EBS is its ability to deliver point-in-time snapshots of your entire volume(s) at the click of a button or configure it to automatically be scheduled. With your snapshots being incremental, you are only copying data that was modified since the previous snapshot. You can then produce a new volume from that snapshot. Whether in a test setting or a real disaster recovery scenario, you\u2019ll easily be able to reproduce the data volume out of your snapshot and easily attach the volume to a new or existing EC2 instance.\u00a0 Additionally, AWS offers the added flexibility to copy your snapshot from one region to another region.\nRest assured, with every write to your EBS volume, that data is reproduced multiple times within your same availability zone to prevent a complete data loss. What\u2019s key here, should your availability zone be unavailable, you\u2019ll still be able to reproduce the volume from your snapshot, which is available from all availability zones within your region, and connect it in another availability zone to another instance. Since EBS volumes are separate from your EC2 instance (these are two independent resources), if your instances are interrupted, stopped or terminated, you\u2019ll know your data is still intact.\nEBS is impressive, but it\u2019s not a silver bullet\nWhile EBS and its features may not be news to many cloud engineers and architects, it\u2019s important you do your research on EBS\u2019 capabilities and fully understand where those meet (or don\u2019t meet) your business needs. Additionally, it is important while EBS provides great flexibility, resiliency, and peace of mind with its \u201c11 nines of durability\u201d as I previously mentioned, this is not a silver bullet or one-size-fits-all.\nAlthough EBS is impressive and has truly improved in the last few years, incorporating various elements and storage types, including the newer \u201cProvisioned IOPS\u201d feature, there is a slight drawback to this and EBS currently. You will need to plan for how much space you need to apportion in advance, and you will pay for that space whether it is used or not. This may be a deal-breaker for some SMBs based on their budget. However, given time or another cloud provider comes out with the feature, this may be addressed in the not-so-distant future.