What's the difference between an instance store and an EBS volume?

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I want to store data that's associated with my Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance. I don't know whether I should use the instance store or an attached Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volume.


Some Amazon EC2 instance types come with a form of directly attached, block-device storage known as an instance store. Use the instance store for temporary storage. Data that's stored in instance store volumes isn't persistent through instance stops, terminations, or hardware failures.

For data that you want to retain longer, or if you want to encrypt the data, use Amazon EBS volumes instead. EBS volumes have the following features:

  • EBS volumes preserve their data through instance stops and terminations.
  • You can back up EBS volumes with EBS snapshots.
  • You can remove EBS volumes from one instance, and reattach them to another.
  • EBS volumes support full-volume encryption.

To prevent unintentional changes or data loss, it's a best practice to frequently create snapshots. You can use AWS Backup to automate snapshot creation.

Note: In Amazon EBS, the DeleteOnTermination attribute for an instance's root volume is set to true by default. If you don't change this attribute, then the instance's root volume is deleted when the instance terminates. To change the DeleteOnTermination attribute to false, see How can I prevent my Amazon EBS volumes from being deleted when I terminate Amazon EC2 instances?

Related information


Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)

Amazon EBS pricing

AWS OFFICIALUpdated 2 years ago
1 Comment

Thanks, this is clearly described. I had a look at some instance types, and most seem to come with EBS volumes.

replied 9 months ago