March 1, 2023 By Dina Henderson 5 min read

Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes is a cloud-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) storage service. It works like a hard drive and allows users to host virtual data in segments. Amazon EBS volumes have the flexibility and agility to contain diverse sizes of data, but knowing how to increase EBS volume sizes in AWS is a challenge. The three most common use cases for EBS volumes include using EBS volumes as your main storage for data that needs consistent updates, for throughput-intensive applications that need to perform disk scans continuously, and for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances acting as a physical hard drive.

EBS volumes were first created for Amazon EC2 instances, but because EBS volumes work individually from EC2, users can utilize EBS as their primary storage. Regardless, it’s critical that users manage their EBS volumes as they affect users’ AWS bill due to their similarities to physical hard disks. Cloud storage is unstable and EBS volumes are a sufficient alternative to permanent and extensive storage.

Why is Amazon EBS so popular?

Amazon EBS is highly popular due to its ability to provide a high-performance, low-latency block storage option for Amazon EC2 instances. In addition to this ability, EBS offers various features that increase its popularity for storing data on the AWS platform. These features include:

  • Persistent storage
  • High performance
  • Flexibility
  • Various types of storage options
  • Scalability

Teams who utilize EBS volumes are typically looking to optimize their costs and achieve compliance with regulatory and industry standards, as well as assure their workload’s performance.

What problems do EBS volume users face?

While EBS volumes offer many benefits, there are also some potential issues and problems that users may encounter. Some of these common problems include:

  • Cost: EBS storage is notoriously expensive, especially for its high-performance options and using it excessively.
  • Performance limitations: Depending on the workload, network latency, IOPS and throughput of the selected volume type, EBS performance may be limited.
  • Management of overheads: To avoid issues like overprovisioning or full disks, EBS volumes require ongoing management to ensure they are performing optimally.

EBS volumes are a versatile and powerful tool, but they’re not without their own problems.

Cost optimization and application resource management metrics are required for success

Users can increase the performance of their EBS volumes and assure application performance by following these best practices:

  • Selecting the right volume type: Users should select the volume type that best fits their workloads and use cases, but it’s important to note that different EBS volume types have different performance characteristics.
  • Choose the right volume size: To ensure optimal performance, users must also choose the right EBS volume size. Increasing EBS volume sizes in AWS is no easy task. If the chosen volume is too small, it could become a bottleneck for performance.
  • Optimizing I/O: To help increase performance, users can optimize the I/O requests made to the EBS volumes.
  • Scaling: Users should be aware of the scaling requirements and have a plan set to scale their EBS volumes up and down when needed.
  • Cost optimization: To ensure users are using the most cost-effective storage options for their workloads and aren’t overprovisioning or overutilizing expensive options, they should review and optimize their EBS usage.

IBM® Turbonomic® software is a single platform that can not only select the right volume type and size but optimize AWS resources, including EBS volumes, to cut costs and meet the changing demands of applications.

The Turbonomic software recommends and automatically provisions the appropriate EBS volume type for a given workload based on the policies the user sets within the platform. Our software can dynamically adjust resources and analyze workloads in real time to meet performance and cost goals. But it all depends on how the platform is configured and what policies a user has set:

Turbonomic can optimize resources in any cloud environment, including Amazon EBS volume sizes. Turbonomic can help users increase the size of their EBS volumes in AWS by providing real-time visibility into the storage usage of their Amazon EC2 instances. Our platform is able to identify instances that are running low on storage; then users can proactively increase the size of the associated EBS volumes before they run out of space.

By providing recommendations or automatically provisioning the appropriate EBS volume size and type, the Turbonomic software can optimize I/O and match the I/O needs of a workload. The software can also adjust the IOPS and bandwidth of a storage volume based on workload demands.

Additionally, Turbonomic software gives users visibility into I/O usage across multiple layers of the stack, from storage to compute, and can provide actions to take to optimize I/O performance. To assure an application has the required resources needed for optimal I/O performance, it can adjust the number of vCPUs, RAM and network bandwidth. Before configuring the policies, it’s important to have a good understanding of the workloads and their expected performance needs because Turbonomic will optimize I/O based on those set policies and the current status of the infrastructure:

Turbonomic makes decisions based on the usage and performance of a user’s instances and can automate those actions, as well as the process of increasing or decreasing the size of EBS volumes. This process saves our clients time and reduces the risk of human error.

As seen below, the Turbonomic software has identified 335 scaling actions pertaining to volumes that will address performance issues or save money. The actions are sorted by cost so users can see how much they’ll save by taking the action. Although some actions will increase resources for performance and require an investment, the others will reduce resources for efficiency and result in savings.

Additionally, Turbonomic manages the performance of EBS volumes and can automatically adjust the storage resources allocated to instances in real-time. Our platform helps ensure that applications have the storage resources they need to perform optimally, without wasting resources on underutilized storage:

To help ensure users don’t overspend, Turbonomic shows a holistic view of what the cost impact is to take each action our software recommends, and how much a user can save or need to invest. There are 1,174 actions in this demo environment to take or automate before the environment is running at peak performance and optimized for cost and compliance. By utilizing our software and allowing it to automate these actions, you can take the guesswork out of what actions will truly have an impact on performance and cost and focus on other areas of interest. In the screenshot here, within our demo environment, you would save over USD 16,000 a month by taking all 1,174 actions:

Get started

Why try and scale your EBS volume sizes in AWS without the assurance that the type and size won’t cost you an arm or a leg, as well as limit your performance? To avoid performance limitations, overprovisioning workloads is common, but it continues to add to the cost. Take the guesswork out of how to increase EBS volume sizing in AWS and help ensure your application’s performance at the lowest cost. Turbonomic provides users with better visibility and control over their EBS volumes, as well as helps to optimize and automate storage resources, helping to ensure that applications always have the resources they need to perform.

Request a demo to initiate a proof-of-value engagement. Get Turbonomic quickly spun up for your environment where you can see everything we’ve talked about with your own data, applications and systems.

Learn more about IBM Turbonomic

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