What is Amazon Elastic File System? - Amazon Elastic File System
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What is Amazon Elastic File System?

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) provides serverless, fully elastic file storage so that you can share file data without provisioning or managing storage capacity and performance. Amazon EFS is built to scale on demand to petabytes without disrupting applications, growing and shrinking automatically as you add and remove files. Because Amazon EFS has a simple web services interface, you can create and configure file systems quickly and easily. The service manages all the file storage infrastructure for you, meaning that you can avoid the complexity of deploying, patching, and maintaining complex file system configurations.

Amazon EFS supports the Network File System version 4 (NFSv4.1 and NFSv4.0) protocol, so the applications and tools that you use today work seamlessly with Amazon EFS. Amazon EFS is accessible across most types of Amazon Web Services compute instances, including Amazon EC2, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, Amazon Lambda, and Amazon Fargate.

The service is designed to be highly scalable, highly available, and highly durable. Amazon EFS offers the following file system types to meet your availability and durability needs:

  • Regional (Recommended) – Regional file systems (recommended) store data redundantly across multiple geographically separated Availability Zones within the same Amazon Web Services Region. Storing data across multiple Availability Zones provides continuous availability to the data, even when one or more Availability Zones in an Amazon Web Services Region are unavailable.

  • One Zone – One Zone file systems store data within a single Availability Zone. Storing data in a single Availability Zone provides continuous availability to the data. In the unlikely case of the loss or damage to all or part of the Availability Zone, however, data that is stored in these types of file systems might be lost.

For more information about file system types, see EFS file system types.

Amazon EFS provides the throughput, IOPS, and low latency needed for a broad range of workloads. EFS file systems can grow to petabyte scale, drive high levels of throughput, and allow massively parallel access from compute instances to your data. For most workloads, we recommend using the default modes, which are the General Purpose performance mode and the Elastic throughput modes.

  • General Purpose – The General Purpose performance mode is ideal for latency-sensitive applications, like web-serving environments, content-management systems, home directories, and general file serving.

  • Elastic – The Elastic throughput mode is designed to automatically scale throughput performance up or down to meet the needs of your workload activity.

For more information about EFS performance and throughput modes, see Amazon EFS performance.

Amazon EFS provides file-system-access semantics, such as strong data consistency and file locking. For more information, see Data consistency in Amazon EFS. Amazon EFS also supports controlling access to your file systems through Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) permissions. For more information, see Security in Amazon EFS.

Amazon EFS supports authentication, authorization, and encryption capabilities to help you meet your security and compliance requirements. Amazon EFS supports two forms of encryption for file systems: encryption in transit and encryption at rest. You can enable encryption at rest when creating an Amazon EFS file system. If you do, all of your data and metadata is encrypted. You can enable encryption in transit when you mount the file system. NFS client access to EFS is controlled by both Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies and network security policies, such as security groups. For more information, see Data encryption in Amazon EFS, Identity and access management for Amazon Elastic File System, and Controlling network access to Amazon EFS file systems for NFS clients.


Using Amazon EFS with Microsoft Windows–based Amazon EC2 instances is not supported.

Are you a first-time user of Amazon EFS?

If you are a first-time user of Amazon EFS, we recommend that you read the following sections in order:

  1. For an Amazon EFS product and pricing overview, see Amazon EFS.

  2. For an Amazon EFS technical overview, see How Amazon EFS works.

  3. Try the introductory exercises:

If you want to learn more about Amazon EFS, the following topics discuss the service in greater detail: