Explore the AWS storage options: Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Elastic File System (EFS), and Simple Storage Service (S3). From your hard drive in the cloud to a shared collaboration space and a secure virtual attic for all your data. Discover which one suits your storage needs best. Let's break it down and find the perfect fit for you!

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We'll be comparing three major players in the AWS storage game: Elastic Block Storage (EBS), Elastic File System (EFS), and Simple Storage Service (S3). 

EBS provides block-level storage for EC2 instances; EFS offers scalable file storage for multiple instances. And S3 is a highly durable and scalable object storage service. 

By the end of this article, you'll clearly understand their differences. You will also be well-equipped to choose the right storage service for your requirements. 

So, let’s get ready for end-to-end differences between EBS vs EFS vs S3 in the AWS arena! 

What is AWS EBS - Elastic Block Storage?

In AWS storage services,Elastic Block Storage (EBS)is like having your virtual hard drive in the cloud. Think of it as a reliable, flexible storage solution that seamlessly integrates with your EC2 instances. 

With EBS, you can easily provision and manage block-level storage volumes. That allows you to store your critical data and confidently run your applications.

It offers various storage options, from cost-effective magnetic volumes to lightning-fast SSDs, catering to diverse performances. 

Whether you require low-latency I/O for your database workloads or high-throughput storage for your analytics jobs, EBS has covered you.

What's more, EBS provides the ability to take snapshots, allowing you to back up your volumes and restore them whenever needed. 

This feature ensures the safety and recoverability of your data, giving you peace of mind.

Whether you're a developer, a system administrator, or a cloud enthusiast, AWS EBS offers the building blocks to unleash your storage potential in the cloud.

What is AWS EFS - Elastic File System?

Imagine having a file system that scales effortlessly with your growing storage needs in the AWS cloud. Enter Elastic File System (EFS), the unsung hero of file sharing in the AWS storage ecosystem. 

With EFS, you can seamlessly share files across multiple instances, providing a reliable and scalable storage solution for your applications.

Unlike its block-level sibling EBS, EFS operates at the file level, making it the go-to choice for workloads requiring concurrent data access. 

Whether you're running content management systems, web applications, or big data analytics, EFS ensures that your files are accessible to multiple instances simultaneously. 

All these while fostering collaboration and boosting productivity.

But what makes EFS truly remarkable is its elasticity. It automatically scales its storage capacity as you add files, ensuring you never run out of space. 

No more worrying about provisioning or managing storage volumes—EFS handles everything. Hence allowing you to focus on what matters most: your applications.

What is AWS S3 - Simple Storage Service?

One name stands out in the realm of AWS storage services: Simple Storage Service (S3). It's like having an infinitely expandable storage closet in the cloud, ready to house your data treasures. 

Whether you're storing images, videos, documents, or backups, S3 is your go-to solution.

S3 offers an incredibly versatile and secure object storage system. It allows you to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere at any time. 

Need to store massive datasets or host static websites? S3 has got you covered. Want to build scalable applications or perform data analysis? S3's robust API ecosystem and integration options make it a developer's dream.

One of the remarkable features of S3 is its durability. It automatically duplicates your data across multiple Availability Zones, protecting your precious files against hardware failures and regional disasters. 

Plus, you can choose from different storage classes, each tailored to specific performance and cost requirements.

Also Read: Top AWS Cost Optimization Tools

AWS EFS vs EBS vs S3 - Performance

EFS can provide concurrent access to files. That makes it the go-to choice for workloads that require high throughput and low latency. 

It excels in scenarios like content management systems, web applications, and media processing, where collaboration and real-time access are paramount.

On the other hand, EBS offers lightning-fast performance at the block level. That makes it ideal for I/O-intensive workloads such as databases and transactional applications. 

With options ranging from magnetic volumes to ultra-fast SSDs, EBS provides the flexibility to optimize performance per the needs.

And then there's S3, the versatile object storage service that offers unparalleled scalability and durability. 

While S3's performance highly depends on factors like storage class and request patterns, it shines when storing and retrieving vast amounts of data. 

That makes it a powerhouse for data lakes, backup and restore operations, and content distribution.

Amazon EFS vs. EBS vs. S3 Pricing - Cost Comparison

Amazon EFS operates on a simple pricing model, charging $0.30 per GB-month for storage and an additional $6.00 per provisioned MB/s-month. 

This transparent approach lets you easily calculate costs and align them with your storage needs.

Moving on to Elastic Block Storage (EBS), the powerhouse of block-level storage. EBS offers a variety of volume types, each with its price tag. 

General Purpose SSD (gp2) volumes come in at $0.10 per GB-month, while Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes cost $0.125 per GB-month, with an additional $0.065 per provisioned IOPS-month. 

If you opt for Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) volumes, the price is $0.045 per GB-month. And for Cold HDD (sc1) volumes, you're looking at $0.025 per GB-month.

And finally, we have the versatile Simple Storage Service (S3), the kingdom of object storage. S3 follows a tiered pricing structure based on usage levels. For the first 50 TB per month, the cost is $0.023 per GB. 

As you move to the next 450 TB monthly, the price decreases to $0.022 per GB. And for anything over 500 TB per month, the cost drops further to $0.021 per GB. 

This tiered approach allows you to scale your storage while optimizing costs.

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AWS EBS vs EFS vs S3 - Latency

With EBS, you can experience ultra-low latency, ensuring lightning-fast access to your data. 

Whether running database workloads, transactional applications, or high-performance computing tasks, EBS delivers the responsiveness you need to keep your applications running smoothly.

Moving on to EFS, its latency performance depends on the nature of your workload. EFS excels in scenarios where concurrent access to files is crucial. 

That makes it an excellent choice for content management systems, web applications, and media processing. While EFS may not offer the same ultra-low latency as EBS, it provides a balanced performance. That further caters to collaborative and real-time access requirements.

And then, we have S3, the powerhouse of object storage. Various factors, including storage class and request patterns, influence S3's latency. 

While S3 may not offer the same level of latency as EBS or EFS, its strength lies in its scalability and durability. 

S3 is perfect for scenarios where fast access times are not the primary concern, such as data lakes, backup and restore operations, and content distribution.

Also Read: How to Move to Azure from AWS?

Amazon EFS vs EBS vs S3 - Multi Attach

EFS supports multi-attach, enabling multiple instances to access the same file system concurrently. 

This capability opens up a world of collaborative opportunities, allowing teams to collaborate seamlessly and share data effortlessly. 

Whether building a content management system, running big data analytics, or collaborating on a media project, EFS multi-attach ensures efficient teamwork without sacrificing performance.

While EBS traditionally supports single-attach, recent advancements have introduced the multi-attach feature for certain volume types. 

With multi-attach EBS volumes, you can now share data across multiple instances. That will help you enable scenarios like clustering, high availability, and distributed file systems. 

This breakthrough paves the way for enhanced application performance and fault-tolerant architectures.

S3's design inherently supports multi-user access, making it a natural choice for collaborative data sharing. 

While S3 doesn't offer explicit multi-attach functionality like EFS or multi-attach EBS volumes, its granular access controls and bucket policies allow multiple users to work with the same data simultaneously. 

S3 empowers teams to collaborate efficiently, manage versioning, and ensure data integrity.

AWS EBS vs EFS vs S3 - Instance Store

EBS provides durable and persistent storage options ideal for long-term data retention. 

However, many may not realize that some EC2 instance types come with an instance store—a temporary, high-performance, and locally attached storage solution. 

This instance store can deliver blazing-fast I/O performance and is perfect for workloads that require temporary data storage or caching.

EFS, unlike EBS, does not offer an instance store. However, its strength lies in its ability to seamlessly scale and provide shared file storage across multiple instances. 

With EFS, you can achieve high availability and performance for collaborative workloads without needing temporary storage. It's the go-to choice for applications requiring shared file access across instances.

S3, an object-based storage service, does not provide an instance store. Instead, it focuses on durability, scalability, and accessibility. 

S3 is perfect for storing and retrieving large amounts of data, serving as a reliable repository for backups, archives, and content distribution. Its robustness lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate with other AWS services and provide data durability.

Also Read: Monitoring and Testing Tools for Microservices

When to use - EFS vs EBS vs S3?

EFS shines when you need shared access to files across multiple instances. It is ideal for collaborative workloads, web applications, and content management systems. 

If your team thrives on real-time collaboration and needs concurrent access to files, EFS is your go-to solution. It offers scalability, durability, and the ability to seamlessly grow as your data requirements expand.

EBS is your best bet when you require low-latency access to data and need to run databases, transactional applications, or high-performance workloads. 

Whether running mission-critical applications or hosting your database, EBS provides persistent and reliable storage options that ensure data integrity and performance. 

With its range of volume types, you can choose the one that aligns perfectly with your performance and capacity needs.

S3 is the ultimate choice for storing and retrieving large amounts of data, backup and restore operations, and content distribution. 

If you're building a data lake, archiving files, or running data-intensive analytics, S3 offers unmatched scalability, durability, and accessibility. 

Its integration with other AWS services and flexible storage classes provide cost-effective options to match your data management requirements.

EFS vs EBS for EKS

EFS seamlessly integrates with EKS, providing a shared file system that can be mounted across multiple pods. This makes EFS an excellent choice for stateful applications in your Kubernetes cluster. 

Whether you're running databases, content management systems, or enterprise applications, EFS offers the flexibility to share data across containers, enabling collaborative workflows and simplifying storage management in your EKS environment.

While EBS is traditionally associated with EC2 instances, it can also be utilized with EKS. EBS volumes can be attached to pods, providing persistent and reliable storage for your stateful workloads. 

With EBS, you can take advantage of data durability, snapshotting, and high-performance I/O, ensuring that your containerized applications can access the data they need when needed.

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EFS vs EBS vs Instance storage

EFS provides a scalable and fully managed file system that can be shared across multiple instances. 

If you're running applications that require shared access to files, such as content management systems or web applications, EFS is your go-to choice. 

It offers seamless collaboration, scalability, and high availability. That makes it perfect for environments where multiple instances must access and modify the same files concurrently.

EBS offers persistent storage volumes that can be attached to EC2 instances. It's the ideal solution for workloads requiring low-latency data access, such as databases or transactional applications. 

With EBS, you can provision storage volumes with various performance characteristics, ensuring that your applications have the right balance of capacity, throughput, and IOPS. 

Instance Storage provides ephemeral storage directly attached to the instance, offering ultra-high performance and low latency. It's perfect for temporary data storage, caching, or workloads tolerating data loss. 

While Instance Storage offers incredible performance, it's important to note that the data is lost if the instance is stopped or terminated. Therefore, it's best suited for stateless applications.

EFS vs EBS vs S3 - Summary






EFS is a file system that allows you to seamlessly share files across multiple instances, providing a reliable and scalable storage solution for your applications.

Elastic Block Storage is a reliable & flexible storage solution that seamlessly integrates with your EC2 instances.

S3 is an infinitely expandable storage closet in the cloud, ready to house your data treasures


EFS can provide concurrent access to files making it perfect for workloads that require high throughput and low latency.

EBS offers lightning-fast performance at the block level making it an ideal choice for I/O-intensive workloads.

S3 provides unparalleled scalability and durability making it ideal for data lakes, backup and restore operations, etc.


$0.30 per GB-month for storage +  $6.00 per provisioned MB/s-month

$0.10 per GB-month + Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes at $0.125 per GB-month

$0.023 per GB (for first 50TB/month) + $0.022 per GB (for next 450TB/month)

Multi Attach

Supports multi-attach

Single-attach (but supports multi-attach for certain volume types)

Doesn’t explicitly support multi-attach


Depends on the nature of workload


Depends on factors like storage class and request patterns

Instance Store




Also Read: Platform Engineering vs DevOps vs SRE


What is the difference between EBS vs. EFS and S3?

EBS provides block-level storage for EC2 instances; EFS offers shared file storage for EC2 instances. And S3 is object storage for large-scale data storage and retrieval.

What is the advantage of EBS over EFS?

EBS provides lower latency and higher IOPS for individual instances compared to EFS.

Is EBS the same as S3?

No, EBS and S3 are different storage services offered by AWS.

Which is faster, EBS or EFS?

EBS is considered to provide faster performance compared to EFS. EBS is optimized for low-latency access to block-level storage and offers high IOPS for individual instances.

Why do we use EFS in AWS?

EFS is used in AWS for shared file storage, enabling collaboration and concurrent access to files across multiple instances.