How To Create Amazon Elastic File Systems in AWS
AWS has made it relatively easy to create an Amazon EFS file system -- here's how to get started.
Although virtualization platforms such as VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V can provide high availability to virtual machines, many organizations also utilize the concept of guest clusters. Guest clusters are failover clusters in which the cluster nodes are running on virtual hardware rather than physical hardware. Guest clusters are often created when workloads that were previously running on physical hardware are virtualized, but some organizations also create guest clusters as a way of providing an additional layer of protection for specific applications.
Even though guest clustering has long been used in virtualized environments, it can still sometimes be a challenge to create guest clusters in public cloud environments. This is primarily due to the shared storage requirement that so often exists. Shared storage refers to a storage volume that can be accessed by all of the nodes within the cluster.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides shared storage capabilities through Amazon Elastic File System, or Amazon EFS as it's sometimes called. Unlike Amazon S3, which is the AWS object storage solution, EFS is specifically designed for creating file storage that can be both shared and scaled on demand. Amazon EFS is primarily designed to be accessed by Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances, but it is possible to attach a physical server running in your own datacenter to Amazon EFS storage.
Creating an Amazon EFS file system is simple to do. From the AWS list of services, go to the Storage section and click on the Amazon EFS option. From there, click on the big blue Create File System button.
Creating an Amazon EFS file system is a three-step process. The first step involves telling AWS where to create the file system. More specifically, you'll need to associate the file system with a virtual private cloud and one or more availability zones, as shown in Figure 1. It's worth noting that while an Amazon EFS file system can be made accessible across availability zones, it cannot span regions. Each file system that you create is confined to a single region.
Brien Posey is a 20-time Microsoft MVP with decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written thousands of articles and contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. In addition to his continued work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years actively training as a commercial scientist-astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow his spaceflight training on his Web site.