April 19, 2022

Top 20 AWS Elastic Block Store (EBS) Interview Questions and Answers


            The Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) is a block storage solution for long-term data storage. Amazon EBS is a highly available block level storage volume that is suited for EC2 instances. General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD), and Magnetic are the three types of volume available. The performance, attributes, and pricing of these three volume categories vary. For usage with Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) provides block level storage volumes. Amazon EBS volumes are off-instance storage that lasts indefinitely, regardless of how long an instance is running.

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Ques.1 ): What is Elastic Block Store, and how does it work?


Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) is a high-performance, easy-to-use block storage service designed for use with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for both throughput and transaction-intensive workloads at any scale. Amazon EBS is a storage service that provides block-level storage volumes for AWS EC2 instances. EBS volumes are off-instance storage that lasts indefinitely. It's a simple-to-use block storage service designed to integrate with AWS EC2 for high-throughput and transaction-intensive operations at any scale.

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Ques. 2): What are the advantages of using Amazon EBS?


Storage that is both reliable and secure - Each EBS volume will automatically respond to its Availability Zone in order to protect against component failure. Secure - You may decide who has access to which EBS volumes using Amazon's flexible access control policies. Access control combined with encryption provides a robust data defense-in-depth security technique. Higher performance - Amazon EBS makes advantage of SSD technology to deliver data results with consistent application I/O performance. Simple data backup - Take point-in-time snapshots of Amazon EBS volumes to save data backup. Benefits of Amazon EBS are as follows:

Reliable and Secure Storage - It automatically respond to its availability zone protecting from component failure.

Secure - It allows us to specify access EBS volumes.

Higher Performance - Delivers data results with consistent performance.

Easy Data Backup - Takes taking point-in-time snapshots of Amazon EBS volumes.

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Ques. 3): What is EBS Block Express, and how does it work?


EBS Block Express is the next version of Amazon EBS storage server architecture, designed to provide the highest levels of performance for block storage at cloud scale with sub-millisecond latency. Block Express accomplishes this by communicating with Nitro System-based EC2 instances via Scalable Reliable Datagrams (SRD), a high-performance, low-latency network protocol. This is the same high-performance, low-latency network interface used in Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) for High Performance Computing (HPC) and Machine Learning (ML) applications for inter-instance communication. Block Express also provides modular software and hardware building blocks that can be built in a variety of ways, allowing us to design and deliver greater performance and new features more quickly.

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Ques. 4): What are the various types of EBS volumes?


There are five types of EBS volumes available as below:

General Purpose SSD (gp2): The SSD (Solid State Drive) is the volume that EC2 defaults to as the root volume of your instance. SSDs are many times faster than HDDs for modest input/output tasks (Hard Disk Drive). It has a good price-performance ratio (measured in IOPS - Input-Output Operations per second).

Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1): This is the most costly and time-consuming EBS volume. They're designed for applications that require a lot of I/O, such as huge Relational or NoSQL databases.

Throughput Optimized HDD (st1): These are low-cost magnetic storage volumes whose performance is measured in terms of throughput.

Cold HDD (sc1): These are even less expensive magnetic storage options than Throughput Optimized. They are intended for large, sequential cold workloads, such as those found on a file server.

Magnetic (standard): These are older generation magnetic drives that are best suited for workloads with infrequent data access.

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Ques. 5): When would I want to use FSR (Fast Snapshot Restore)?


If you are concerned about data access latency when restoring data from a snapshot to a volume and wish to prevent the first performance hit during initialization, you should enable FSR on snapshots. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), backup and restore, test/dev volume copies, and booting from custom AMIs are all examples of use cases for FSR. When you enable FSR on your snapshot, you'll get better and more predictable results anytime you need to restore data from it.

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Ques. 6): What are the different kinds of EBS Volumes?


General Purpose EBS (SSD) This volume type is appropriate for small and medium workloads, such as root disc EC2 volumes, small and medium database workloads, and workloads that access logs regularly. By default, SSDs support 3 IOPS/GB, which means that a 1 GB volume will provide 3 IOPS and a 10 GB volume will provide 30 IOPS. One volume's storage size ranges from 1 GB to 1 TB. For one month, each volume costs $0.10 per GB.

IOPS provisioned (SSD) This volume type is best for transactional workloads that require a lot of I/O, as well as large relational, EMR, and Hadoop workloads. IOPS SSDs support 30 IOPS/GB by default, so a 10GB volume will provide 300 IOPS. One volume's storage size ranges from 10GB to 1TB. For supplied storage, one volume costs $0.125 per GB per month and $0.10 per provisioned IOPS per month.

Magnetic Volumes from EBS Previously, it was known as standard volumes. This volume type is suited for workloads that require infrequent data access, such as data backups for recovery, log storage, and so on. One volume's storage size ranges from 10GB to 1TB. For provisioned storage, one volume costs $0.05 per GB per month and $0.05 per million I/O requests. There are 3 types of EBS Volume:

·      The EBS General Purpose (SSD) volume is suitable for small and medium workloads, such as those on the Root Disc EC2.

·      Povisioned IOPS (SSD) volume is ideal for the most I/O heavy and big workloads, such as Hadoop.

·      EBS Magnetic Volumes, also known as standard volumes, are a type of magnetic volume. It is appropriate for tasks such as data backups and log storage.

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Ques. 7): How can I change an existing EBS volume's capacity, performance, or type?


It's simple to change the volume configuration. Using a single CLI call, API call, or a few console clicks, you can expand capacity, optimise performance, or change your volume type with Elastic Volumes. See the Elastic Volumes documentation for more information on Elastic Volumes.

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Ques. 8): What is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Key Management Service (KMS)?


AWS KMS is a managed service that allows you to easily produce and maintain the encryption keys that are used to encrypt your data. AWS Key Management Service works with other AWS services like Amazon EBS, Amazon S3, and Amazon Redshift to make it simple to encrypt your data with encryption keys you control. AWS Key Management Service and AWS CloudTrail are connected to provide you with logs of all key usage to help you satisfy your regulatory and compliance requirements.

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Ques. 9): How can we change default root EBS size in cloudformation?


Use BlockDeviceMappings to approach

 "BlockDeviceMappings": [


            "DeviceName": "/dev/xvda",

            "Ebs": {

              "VolumeType": "io1",

              "Iops": "300",

              "DeleteOnTermination": "false",

              "VolumeSize": "30"





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Ques. 10): What happens if the 'deleteOnTermination' flag isn't set on all of my linked instances?


The configuration of the last associated instance that is terminated determines the volume's deleteOnTermination behaviour. Enable or disable 'deleteOnTermination' for all instances to which the volume is associated to ensure predictable remove on termination behaviour.

Enable 'deleteOnTermination' for all instances to which the volume is attached if you want the volume to be erased when the attached instances are terminated. Disable 'deleteOnTermination' for all attached instances if you want to keep the volume after the attached instances have been terminated. See the Multi-Attach technical documentation for further information.

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Ques. 11): How to Set Up Amazon EBS?


Use the following steps for setting up Amazon EBS:

STEP 1 - Create Amazon EBS volume.

STEP 2 - Store EBS Volume from a snapshot.

STEP 3 - Attach EBS Volume to an Instance.

STEP 4 - Detach a volume from Instance.

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Ques. 12): Is it necessary to unmount volumes before taking a snapshot?


No, while the volume is mounted and in use, snapshots can be taken in real time. Snapshots, on the other hand, only capture data that has been written to your Amazon EBS volume, so any data that has been cached locally by your application or OS may be missed. We recommend removing the volume cleanly, issuing the snapshot command, and then reattaching the volume to ensure consistent snapshots on volumes associated to an instance. Shutting down the computer to take a clean snapshot of Amazon EBS volumes that function as root devices is recommended.

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Ques. 13): Does the read and write I/O size of my application effect the rate of IOPS I get from my Provisioned IOPS SSD (io2 and io1) volumes?


It certainly does. The IOPS rate you obtain when you provision IOPS for io2 or io1 volumes is determined by the I/O size of your application reads and writes. The base I/O size for provisioned IOPS volumes is 16KB. So, if you provisioned a volume with 40,000 IOPS for an I/O size of 16KB, it will achieve that size and 40,000 IOPS. If you increase the I/O size to 32 KB, you can get up to 20,000 IOPS, and so on.

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Ques. 14): How do I transfer files from one EBS to another?


We need to attach to an instance for copying files from one EBS to another EBS, and we can store the contents on a third storage option if the volumes aren't attached to instances.Follow the following steps for doing the same:

·      Start a temporary instance.

·         Use a larger size for higher IO bandwidth.

·         Attach both EBS volumes to the instance and mount them as, say, /vol1 and /vol2.

·         Copy the files from /vol1 to /vol2.

·         Unmount the volumes, detach the EBS volumes, terminate the temporary instance.

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Ques. 15): Does the size of the read and write I/O in my application effect the rate of throughput I obtain from my HDD-backed volumes?


Yes. The throughput rate you get is determined on the read and write I/O sizes of your application. Reads and writes in 1MB I/O sizes are processed by HDD-backed volumes. Even though the actual I/O size is smaller, sequential I/Os are merged and processed as 1 MB units, whereas non-sequential I/Os are treated as 1MB units. While a transactional workload with small, random IOs, such as a database, will not perform well on HDD-backed volumes, sequential I/Os and huge I/O sizes will reach the claimed st1 and sc1 performance for a longer length of time.

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Ques. 16): What is the maximum storage capacity of an EBS device?


At the moment, EBS supports a maximum volume size of 16 TiB. This suggests that you can construct an EBS volume with a capacity of up to 16 TiB, but whether the OS recognises all of that capacity is dependent on the OS's own design characteristics and the partitioning of the volume.

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Ques. 17): When an EBS volume fails, how do you make it available with no downtime and link it to an EC2 instance?


You can use a load balancer and auto scaling to make an EBS volume available with no downtime. If the ec2 instance goes down due to autoscaling, a new instance will be launched, and you can use the shell script to add commands to map to the EBS. We can also take frequent backups and replace the EBS volume with the most recent backup or snapshot if the EBS fails.

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Ques. 18): When an Amazon EC2 instance is terminated, what happens to my data?


Data stored on an Amazon EBS volume, unlike data stored on a local instance store (which persists just as long as the instance is alive), can persist regardless of the instance's life. As a result, we suggest that you only use the local instance storage for transient data. We recommend using Amazon EBS volumes or backing up data to Amazon S3 for data that requires a higher level of durability. If you're using an Amazon EBS volume as a root partition, make sure the Delete on termination flag is set to "No" if you want the Amazon EBS volume to survive the instance's life.

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Ques. 19): What can I expect from Amazon EBS volumes in terms of performance?


Provisioned IOPS SSD (io2 Block Express, io2, and io1), General Purpose SSD (gp3 and gp2), Throughput Optimized HDD (st1), and Cold HDD are the seven volume types offered by Amazon EBS (sc1). These volume kinds differ in terms of performance and cost, allowing you to adjust your storage performance and cost to your applications' requirements. Between EC2 instances and EBS, the typical latency is in the single digit milliseconds. See the EBS product specifics page for more information about performance.


Ques. 20): What's the difference between io2 Block Express and io2?


For all EC2 instances, io2 volumes provide high-performance block storage. Attaching io2 volumes to R5b instance types, which operate on Block Express and provide 4x the performance of io2, is recommended for applications that demand even more performance. With sub-millisecond average IO latency, you can achieve up to 64 TiB capacity, 256,000 IOPS, and 4,000 MB/s throughput from a single io2 volume.




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