Amazon to transform EC2 in a real online virtual infrastructure

Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon, announces on his corporate blog a new major feature that the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is about to offer: support for persistent raw block storage devices stored in the Amazon S3 storage cloud.

At today the EC2 virtual machines have a non-persistent virtual hard drive (from 160GB to 1.7TB) which is destroyed as soon as the VM is powered off. The access to persistent volumes on S3 is limited and complex to manage.

But before the end of this year (the feature is currently in beta testing) each EC2 virtual machine will be able to mount persistent volumes (from 1GB to 1TB of space) stored on S3.
These volumes, just like SAN’s LUNs, can be formatted with any file system and support snapshots, saved into S3 as well.
Additionally, the snapshots will be clonable, allowing for example the re-spawn of a crashed virtual machine starting from its last snapshot.

As expected each operation on the volumes will be controlled by a set of APIs, allowing to reach high levels of automation.

Enroll for the beta program here.

Thanks to Tim Freeman for the news.