Amazon Elastic File System (AWS EFS) is a fully-managed, scalable, and highly available cloud-based file storage service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is designed to provide scalable, shared access to files across multiple Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances and on-premises servers. AWS EFS offers a simple and flexible way to store and share data within and across multiple EC2 instances, making it an ideal solution for a wide range of applications such as content management systems, web serving, data analytics, and big data processing.

Advantages of using AWS EFS

There are several advantages to using AWS EFS, including the following:

  • Scalability: AWS EFS can automatically scale to meet your applications’ growing storage needs without requiring additional configuration or management.
  • High Performance: AWS EFS provides high throughput and low latency for file access, making it suitable for applications that require low-latency access to large volumes of data.
  • Shared Access: With AWS EFS, multiple EC2 instances and on-premises servers can access a single file system simultaneously, allowing for shared access and collaboration between applications and teams.
  • Easy to Use: AWS EFS is easy to set up and use, with a simple web-based management console and APIs allowing you to manage your file systems programmatically.
  • Highly Available: AWS EFS is designed for high availability, automatically replicating multiple Availability Zones within a region, ensuring your data is always available.

Use cases of AWS EFS.

AWS EFS is useful in a variety of use cases, including:

  • Content Management Systems: AWS EFS can store and manage content, media files, and other assets used by content management systems.
  • Web Serving: AWS EFS can store web content, allowing multiple EC2 instances to access and serve the same content.
  • Analytics: AWS EFS can store and analyze large volumes of data, providing low-latency access to data for analytics engines and processing tools.
  • DevOps: AWS EFS can store files and data used by development and deployment tools, allowing for shared access and collaboration between teams.
  • Big Data: AWS EFS can store and process large volumes of data for big data applications such as Hadoop and Spark.

Features of AWS EFS

  • Elasticity: AWS EFS is designed to automatically scale storage capacity up or down based on demand without manual intervention. This makes it easy to accommodate changes in workload and storage needs, ensuring that your applications always have the required storage resources.
  • Scalability: AWS EFS provides virtually unlimited storage capacity, allowing you to scale your storage up or down as needed to meet the demands of your applications. It also supports multiple concurrent connections, enabling you to scale your storage performance to meet the needs of your applications.
  • Accessibility: AWS EFS is accessible from anywhere in the world and can be accessed by multiple instances simultaneously. This makes it easy to share files and data across multiple instances, enabling collaboration and data sharing across your organization.
  • Durability and Availability: AWS EFS is designed for high durability and availability, with data automatically replicated across multiple availability zones to ensure your data is always available when needed. Additionally, AWS EFS provides automatic failover and recovery, ensuring that your applications are always up and running.
  • Performance: AWS EFS provides high-performance file system access with low latency and high throughput for small and large files. It also supports a range of file operations, including read, write, and delete operations, ensuring that your applications can access and manipulate data quickly and efficiently.

How to Use AWS EFS

AWS Elastic File System (EFS) is a fully managed, scalable, and highly available file storage service that can be attached to EC2 instances, containers, and serverless computing services. EFS supports the NFSv4 protocol and provides shared access to files from multiple EC2 instances, allowing easy collaboration and sharing.

Here are the steps to use AWS EFS:

Creating an EFS File System

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and navigate to the EFS dashboard.
  2. Click the “Create file system” button.
  3. Choose the VPC and availability zones for creating the EFS file system.
  4. Configure the network settings, such as the security groups and subnets.
  5. Choose the performance mode and throughput capacity that meets your needs.
  6. Click the “Create file system” button to start creating the EFS file system.

Mounting EFS to EC2 Instances

  1. Launch an EC2 instance in the EFS file system’s VPC and availability zone.
  2. Install the NFS client on the EC2 instance.
  3. Create a mount target for the EFS file system in the same subnet as the EC2 instance.
  4. Mount the EFS file system to the EC2 instance using the NFS client and the mount target’s DNS name.

Configuring Access Points

Access points allow you to create customized entry points into your EFS file system for different applications or users with specific permissions and performance settings. Here are the steps to configure access points:

  1. Navigate to the EFS dashboard and select the file system to configure.
  2. Click the “Create access point” button.
  3. Choose a name and a POSIX user/group ID for the access point.
  4. Configure the access point’s root directory, permissions, and performance settings.
  5. Click the “Create access point” button to start creating the access point.

Monitoring and Managing EFS

You can monitor and manage your EFS file system using the following tools and features:

  1. CloudWatch metrics and alarms: EFS provides CloudWatch metrics for monitoring the performance and usage of your file system, such as throughput, IOPS, and data transfer. You can create alarms based on these metrics to notify you of any issues or changes in your EFS file system.
  2. EFS file system lifecycle management: EFS provides a lifecycle management feature that can automatically move your files from EFS to Amazon S3 based on their access patterns, reducing storage costs.
  3. AWS Config: EFS is integrated with AWS Config, which allows you to track changes to your EFS resources and compliance with your organization’s policies.
  4. EFS console and CLI: You can use the EFS console or CLI to manage your file system, access points, mount targets, and security settings.

Pricing and Cost Optimization

Understanding the pricing model of EFS

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) is a fully managed, scalable file storage service for use with Amazon EC2 instances in the AWS Cloud. EFS is designed to provide scalable, elastic file storage for Linux-based workloads.

The pricing model for EFS is based on the amount of data stored in the file system and the data transferred in and out. EFS charges per GB-month for storage and per GB for data transfer. There is also a per-request charge for metadata operations (such as file opens, reads, writes, and deletes).

Cost optimization strategies for EFS

To optimize costs with EFS, there are several strategies you can employ:

Use lifecycle policies

EFS provides a feature called lifecycle policies that allows you to automatically move files from EFS Standard to EFS Infrequent Access (IA) storage class based on file access patterns. This can help reduce your storage costs by up to 92% for files that are not frequently accessed.

Monitor your usage

It is essential to monitor your EFS usage to ensure you only pay for what you need. AWS provides detailed monitoring metrics for EFS that can help you understand your usage patterns and identify areas for optimization.

Use EFS with EC2 instances in the same region.

EFS is designed to work with Amazon EC2 instances in the same region. You can reduce data transfer costs and improve performance by deploying your EC2 instances and EFS file systems in the same area.

Use EFS with spot instances.

Spot instances are spare compute capacity in the AWS Cloud that is available at a significantly lower cost than On-Demand instances. By using EFS with spot instances, you can reduce the cost of your computing and storage infrastructure.

Use EFS Infrequent Access storage class.

EFS Infrequent Access (IA) storage class is designed for files accessed less frequently but still requires high durability and availability. Using the EFS IA storage class, you can reduce storage costs by up to 92% compared to the EFS Standard storage class.

Use EFS with CloudWatch metrics and alarms.

AWS CloudWatch provides monitoring metrics and alarms for EFS that can help you optimize your usage and costs. By setting up CloudWatch alarms, you can be notified when your usage exceeds certain thresholds, allowing you to take action to maximize your use and costs.


We have discussed the benefits and use cases of Amazon Elastic File System (EFS). EFS provides scalable and highly available file storage for your applications, making it a valuable tool for many use cases. Some key benefits of using EFS include easy scalability, high availability, and low latency access to data.

We have explored some of EFS’s most common use cases, including web content management, big data analytics, media processing, and container storage. EFS is an excellent choice for any workload that requires scalable, shared file storage that can be accessed from multiple instances.

EFS is a powerful and flexible storage solution that can help you to optimize your AWS infrastructure and improve your application performance. Its ease of use and scalability makes it an ideal choice for many different types of workloads. If you have any questions about EFS or how it can be used in your environment, don’t hesitate to ask an AWS expert for guidance.