"In the coming weeks, Amazon EC2 will be launching a new persistent storage offering," the online retail giant said in an e-mail to EC2 users. The e-mail was posted on the Elastic Vapor blog, among others.
Elastic block storage allows you to attach persistent, unformatted or "raw" data storage to "instances" of applications or services that reside on EC2. Previously, users could allocate up 1.7 terabytes of attached storage to the EC2 applications they were running, but as soon as the instance was shut down, the storage went away also.
Now you can create non-temporary data storage volumes of up to 1 terabyte, available through the EC2 application but not directly associated with it. It's like "having a really big SAN [storage-area network] in the cloud," writes Thorsten von Eicken, CTO and founder of RightScale, on his blog.
The upgrade also allows developers to create a "snapshot" of the data that then resides on Amazon's S3 cloud storage system, eliminating the risk of losing data when an EC2 instance disappears. That should help remove enterprise IT pros' reservations about porting critical apps to the cloud.