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Amazon EBS vs AWS Lambda: What are the differences?

What is Amazon EBS? Block level storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 instances. Amazon EBS volumes are network-attached, and persist independently from the life of an instance. Amazon EBS provides highly available, highly reliable, predictable storage volumes that can be attached to a running Amazon EC2 instance and exposed as a device within the instance. Amazon EBS is particularly suited for applications that require a database, file system, or access to raw block level storage.

What is AWS Lambda? Automatically run code in response to modifications to objects in Amazon S3 buckets, messages in Kinesis streams, or updates in DynamoDB. AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. You can use AWS Lambda to extend other AWS services with custom logic, or create your own back-end services that operate at AWS scale, performance, and security.

Amazon EBS and AWS Lambda are primarily classified as "Cloud Storage" and "Serverless / Task Processing" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by Amazon EBS are:

  • Amazon EBS allows you to create storage volumes from 1 GB to 1 TB that can be mounted as devices by Amazon EC2 instances. Multiple volumes can be mounted to the same instance.
  • Amazon EBS enables you to provision a specific level of I/O performance if desired, by choosing a Provisioned IOPS volume. This allows you to predictably scale to thousands of IOPS per Amazon EC2 instance.
  • Storage volumes behave like raw, unformatted block devices, with user supplied device names and a block device interface. You can create a file system on top of Amazon EBS volumes, or use them in any other way you would use a block device (like a hard drive).

On the other hand, AWS Lambda provides the following key features:

  • Extend other AWS services with custom logic
  • Build custom back-end services
  • Completely Automated Administration

"Point-in-time snapshots" is the primary reason why developers consider Amazon EBS over the competitors, whereas "No infrastructure" was stated as the key factor in picking AWS Lambda.

According to the StackShare community, AWS Lambda has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1002 company stacks & 585 developers stacks; compared to Amazon EBS, which is listed in 178 company stacks and 47 developer stacks.

Decisions about Amazon EBS and AWS Lambda

When adding a new feature to Checkly rearchitecting some older piece, I tend to pick Heroku for rolling it out. But not always, because sometimes I pick AWS Lambda . The short story:

  • Developer Experience trumps everything.
  • AWS Lambda is cheap. Up to a limit though. This impact not only your wallet.
  • If you need geographic spread, AWS is lonely at the top.
The setup

Recently, I was doing a brainstorm at a startup here in Berlin on the future of their infrastructure. They were ready to move on from their initial, almost 100% Ec2 + Chef based setup. Everything was on the table. But we crossed out a lot quite quickly:

  • Pure, uncut, self hosted Kubernetes — way too much complexity
  • Managed Kubernetes in various flavors — still too much complexity
  • Zeit — Maybe, but no Docker support
  • Elastic Beanstalk — Maybe, bit old but does the job
  • Heroku
  • Lambda

It became clear a mix of PaaS and FaaS was the way to go. What a surprise! That is exactly what I use for Checkly! But when do you pick which model?

I chopped that question up into the following categories:

  • Developer Experience / DX 🤓
  • Ops Experience / OX 🐂 (?)
  • Cost 💵
  • Lock in 🔐

Read the full post linked below for all details

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Pros of Amazon EBS
Pros of AWS Lambda
  • 36
    Point-in-time snapshots
  • 27
    Data reliability
  • 19
    Configurable i/o performance
  • 126
    No infrastructure
  • 81
    Cheap
  • 68
    Quick
  • 57
    Stateless
  • 47
    No deploy, no server, great sleep
  • 9
    AWS Lambda went down taking many sites with it
  • 5
    Easy to deploy
  • 5
    Event Driven Governance
  • 5
    Extensive API
  • 4
    Auto scale and cost effective
  • 3
    VPC Support
  • 1
    Integrated with various AWS services

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

Cons of Amazon EBS
Cons of AWS Lambda
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 5
      Cant execute ruby or go
    • 0
      Can't execute PHP w/o significant effort

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is Amazon EBS?

    Amazon EBS volumes are network-attached, and persist independently from the life of an instance. Amazon EBS provides highly available, highly reliable, predictable storage volumes that can be attached to a running Amazon EC2 instance and exposed as a device within the instance. Amazon EBS is particularly suited for applications that require a database, file system, or access to raw block level storage.

    What is AWS Lambda?

    AWS Lambda is a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the underlying compute resources for you. You can use AWS Lambda to extend other AWS services with custom logic, or create your own back-end services that operate at AWS scale, performance, and security.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    What companies use Amazon EBS?
    What companies use AWS Lambda?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Amazon EBS or AWS Lambda.
    Sign up for Private StackShareLearn More

    Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions

    What tools integrate with Amazon EBS?
    What tools integrate with AWS Lambda?

    Sign up to get full access to all the tool integrationsMake informed product decisions

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    What are some alternatives to Amazon EBS and AWS Lambda?
    Amazon EFS
    Amazon EFS is easy to use and offers a simple interface that allows you to create and configure file systems quickly and easily. With Amazon EFS, storage capacity is elastic, growing and shrinking automatically as you add and remove files.
    Amazon S3
    Amazon Simple Storage Service provides a fully redundant data storage infrastructure for storing and retrieving any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web
    Google Cloud Storage
    Google Cloud Storage allows world-wide storing and retrieval of any amount of data and at any time. It provides a simple programming interface which enables developers to take advantage of Google's own reliable and fast networking infrastructure to perform data operations in a secure and cost effective manner. If expansion needs arise, developers can benefit from the scalability provided by Google's infrastructure.
    Azure Storage
    Azure Storage provides the flexibility to store and retrieve large amounts of unstructured data, such as documents and media files with Azure Blobs; structured nosql based data with Azure Tables; reliable messages with Azure Queues, and use SMB based Azure Files for migrating on-premises applications to the cloud.
    Minio
    Minio is an object storage server compatible with Amazon S3 and licensed under Apache 2.0 License
    See all alternatives
    Reviews of Amazon EBS and AWS Lambda
    Review of
    AWS Lambda

    I switched my auto chatbot to run in lambda and it was peace !

    How developers use Amazon EBS and AWS Lambda
    Nathan Heffley uses
    AWS Lambda

    To use Pusher's presence channel each client must be connected through a backend authentication system. While Pointer doesn't actually have any login based authentication it still needed a backend system to connect users to the proper channel.

    A small function was built that only gets called when a user first joins a session. After the user is authenticated they can communicate directly with other clients on the same channel. This made the authentication code the perfect candidate for a serverless function. Using AWS Lambda through Netlify's Functions feature made it a breeze to host.

    Simple Merchant uses
    AWS Lambda

    We're moving almost the entirety of our backend processes into Lambda. This has given us vast cost savings in terms of pure infrastructure billing - and time worrying about platform and scale. This move has also made our architecture almost entirely event-driven - another huge benefit as our business itself is inherently event-driven.

    Volkan Özçelik uses
    AWS Lambda

    I mostly use AWS Lambda for triggering DevOps-related actions, like triggering an alarm or a deployment, or scheduling a backup.

    I haven’t gone totally “serverless” and I’m not planning to go 100% serverless anytime soon.

    But when I do, AWS Lambda will be an important element in my serverless setup.

    Promethean TV uses
    AWS Lambda

    PrometheanTV uses various Lambda functions to provide back-end capabilities to the platform without the need of deploying servers. Examples include, geo lookup services, and data aggregation services.

    Flux Work uses
    AWS Lambda

    Serverless is the future. And AWS Lambda is the most mature FaaS out there. AWS SAM makes it easy to package Lambda as micro-apps.

    Opstax Ltd uses
    Amazon EBS

    Opstax uses EBS storage to store images, snapshots and to write any data we need to keep when an instance is no longer.

    nrise uses
    Amazon EBS

    대부분의 EC2 의 스토리지는 EBS 를 마운트해서 사용하고 있습니다. 특히 데이터베이스 서버들의 경우 주기적으로 스냅샷을 생성하여 손쉽게 백업 관리를 진행하고 있습니다.