AWS makes Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes generally available

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the general availability of its cloud-based storage area network (SAN) offering, Amazon EBS io2 Block Express volumes.

As an alternative to expensive on-premises SANs, Elastic Block Store (EBS) Block Express provides scalable, high-performance block storage at a fraction of the cost.

With io2 volumes — the latest generation of provisioned IOPS volumes — running on EBS Block Express, customers can now achieve sub-millisecond latency. A single io2 Block Express volume can offer up to 256,000 IOPS, 4,000MB/s throughput, and 64TB of storage. Compared to existing io2 volumes, that's a fourfold increase in performance, throughput, and capacity.

According to AWS, io2 Block Express volumes are best for I/O-intensive applications, including Oracle databases, SAP HANA, Microsoft SQL Server, InterSystems database, and SAS Analytics. The service is also free of upfront fees, and customers only pay for the storage capacity they use. AWS has hinted that it will introduce Fast Snapshot Restore in the next release.

“For decades, customers who wanted to get the most performance for their throughput-intensive workloads were forced to use an on-premises SAN, which is not only expensive, but also complicated and resource intensive to manage,” said Mai-Lan Tomsen Bukovec, VP of storage at AWS.


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Bukovec continued, “io2 Block Express volumes are a game changer. Customers can scale their capacity by petabytes in minutes at as low as half the cost of a typical SAN, and the storage is managed by AWS with the same or better performance of many leading SAN storage products, and without the hassle of procuring, scaling, and maintaining an on-premises SAN.”

io2 Block Express volumes are available in all AWS regions supporting R5b instances. Memory-optimized, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) R5b instances feature 2nd generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors with a sustained turbo CPU frequency of 3.1 GHz.

“With the combination of io2 Block Express and the AWS R5b instance, we've observed a scalability improvement of 125% when compared to the previous single database configuration in AWS,” said Doug Hernandez, server systems engineer at Epic Systems.

“For the first time our customers have the ability to scale further by scaling out their operational database architecture using InterSystem's Enterprise Cache Protocol (ECP) in a public cloud.”

Danny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury has been a print journalist specialising in technology since 1989 and a freelance writer since 1994. He has written for national publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has won awards for his investigative cybersecurity journalism work and his arts and culture writing. 

Danny writes about many different technology issues for audiences ranging from consumers through to software developers and CIOs. He also ghostwrites articles for many C-suite business executives in the technology sector and has worked as a presenter for multiple webinars and podcasts.