January 2012 Archives

EBS boot vs. instance-store

If you are just getting started with Amazon EC2, then use EBS boot instances and stop reading this article. Forget that you ever heard about instance-store and accept my apology that I just mentioned it. Once you are completely comfortable with using EBS boot instances on EC2, you may (or may not) want to come back here and read why you made a good decision.

EC2 experts may find that there are specific cases, few and far between, where instance-store might make sense, but they don’t attempt to use instance-store without understanding and accounting for all the serious drawbacks and dangers that go with making this choice. For example, experts using instance-store don’t mind losing all of the data on the instance as they have designed the system so that the data is stored elsewhere and so that a new instance can easily and automatically be rebuilt from scratch.

One of the challenges for beginners is that many of the benefits of EBS boot don’t necessarily seem like something you’ll need to use right away. Then they get down the road and into situations where they realize that they would have been much better off if they had gone with EBS boot in the first place and may find it takes some work to make the transition.

Big benefits of EBS boot instances

Here are some of the reasons I use and recommend EBS boot instances. None of these benefits are available with instance-store, so even a single one of these can be an overriding factor for choosing EBS boot.

Ubuntu AMIs

Ubuntu AMIs for EC2: