Today Amazon made available a great new feature for EC2: Amazon Elastic Block Store. The problem with EC2 instances so far was: if you terminate an instance, everything is lost (EC2 instances are ephemeral). So you had to make up your own persistency schemes with S3 or SimpleDB. However, with S3 and SimpleDB it is not possible to access data as if it was in a file system.
Now you can mount an EBS volume into your EC2 instance, and use it like a raw hard disk. Volumes in different sizes between 1GB and 1TB can be created. Werner Vogels points out that EBS can be used as an improved mechanism to create S3 snaphots and provides a means for new storage management strategies, like long-term backup processes, rollback strategies and world-wide volume recreation
Eric Hammond already wrote an article about how to run MySQL on EBS.
He also hints at the major advantages from using EBS:
- persistant storage in case of an instance failure
- safety & replication
- improved IO performance
- up to 1 TB data storage volumes
- switching instance types becomes easier because you can shift the storage from one instance type to another
- fast and easy backups