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Amazon launches hard disk in the sky

New Elastic Block Storage for Amazon Web Services gives developers low-level access to cloud-based data stores.

Amazon on Thursday announced that it is releasing its persistent storage option, called Elastic Block Service (EBS), to its suite of Amazon Web Services cloud computing options. The company announced this direction in April.

Previously, data associated with jobs running on Amazon's cloud computing platform, EC2, were attached to the jobs themselves; developers did not have access to their files and information except through EC2. With EBS, developers can create cloud-based file systems that they can access from whatever applications they wish. Amazon's other cloud storage systems, S3 and SimpleDB, don't offer this low-level access.

Based on the scalable Amazon Web Services infrastructure, EBS will be tolerant of most failures, but "not as redundant as S3 storage," according to the RightScale blog. However, Amazon customers will be able to back up snapshots of their EBS installations into S3.

EBS volumes will be available in sizes from 1 gigabyte to 1 terabyte. The service will cost 10 cents per gigabyte per month.

Further reading:
Werner Vogels: Elastic Block Store has launched.
AWS blog: Bring us your data.
RightScale blog: Amazon's Elastic Block Store explained.