EBS – SSD vs HDD

On a given volume configuration, certain I/O characteristics drive the performance behavior for your EBS volumes. SSD-backed volumes, such as General Purpose SSD (gp2) and Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1), deliver consistent performance whether an I/O operation is random or sequential. HDD-backed volumes like Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) and Cold HDD (sc1) deliver optimal performance only when I/O operations are large and sequential.

In the exam, always consider the difference between SSD and HDD as shown on the table below. This will allow you to easily eliminate specific EBS-types in the options which are not SSD or not HDD, depending on whether the question asks for a storage type which has small, random I/O operations or large, sequential I/O operations.

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Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes are designed to meet the needs of I/O-intensive workloads, particularly database workloads, that are sensitive to storage performance and consistency. Unlike gp2, which uses a bucket and credit model to calculate performance, an io1 volume allows you to specify a consistent IOPS rate when you create the volume, and Amazon EBS delivers within 10 percent of the provisioned IOPS performance 99.9 percent of the time over a given year.

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