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DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

Amazon EBS monitoring

Amazon EBS Monitoring

When IBM released the first commercial hard drive in 1956, the technological monstrosity represented a not insignificant piece of the more than 2,000 lb 305 RAMAC: a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall computer system designed chiefly for use in business accounting. Today’s hard drive equivalents take up an incredibly reduced amount of space, yet possess a computing capacity far beyond that of their monumental progenitor.

Online communities love to memeify the ever-shrinking size of digital storage solutions, juxtaposing the iconic floppy disc next to a modern microchip with a 1 TB capacity, or wondering at the image of Margaret Hamilton next to her 6 feet of hand-written code that made the moon landing possible. But it’s slightly more difficult to splice together a cutting collage that depicts today’s “lightest” storage base: the cloud.

What is Amazon EBS?

Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) is a cloud-based solution that comes from the smirking retail/ tech/ global innovations goliath, and provides persistent block storage volumes for use with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.

Amazon EC2 is a web-based software that essentially lets you run a “virtual computer” from your device without sacrificing local storage space or processing power. It exists as a component of the larger AWS system and is compatible with a multitude of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

How EBS works

An EBS is highly scalable, and ideal as a high performance block storage method for elastic cloud computing servers. Top business use cases for the program include:

  • Metric storage for voluminous data which needs to be kept over the long term in a low-cost database.

  • Emergency backup in case of disastrous data loss or system failures.

  • Client data storage.

  • And more.

EBS behaves essentially as a hard drive and may be used as a secondary operating system, a backup of a pre-existing database and system, or an independent data storage solution. Amazon EBS attaches to Amazon EC2 and allows the user to store and run any program and dataset you would on a fully physical medium.

Amazon EBS Volumes

The Amazon EBS product is quickly accessible and provides long-term persistence primary storage for file systems, databases, or for any applications that require fine, granular updates and access to raw, unformatted, block-level storage. It additionally has sufficient capacity to database random read/writes OR throughput intensive applications with continuous read/writes.

Amazon EBS incorporates five EBS volume types, each of which may be optimal for a specific use case.

  1. General Purpose SSD - Default, and equivalent performance to a Solid State Drive.

  2. Provisioned IOPS SSD - A more expensive but optimized SSD with greater capacity for high-speed input/output procedures and at greater volumes.

  3. Throughput Optimized HDD - Slower than the first two, but optimized for handling high-volume procedures in sequence.

  4. Cold HDD - Very slow, for handling infrequently accessed high-volume datasets.

  5. Magnetic - Slow, for handling infrequently accessed datasets, but able to act as root for instances.

Amazon EBS monitoring

As one aspect of the Amazon Web Services platform, monitoring in Amazon EBS is automatic in the AWS console. EC2 compiles datasets on a standard set of metrics, largely storage performance, every 5 minutes, although the user can opt to increase frequency to every 60 seconds.

Secondary datasets are customizable by the end user, and can include information from the available categories, including a number of CPU credit metrics, Dedicated Host metrics, Traffic mirroring metrics, among others.

Both datasets can be compiled, viewed, and analyzed on the convenient Amazon CloudWatch dashboard for an easy quick-reference to application performance.

EBS volume status checks

Dealing with high data volumes requires you to seek a solution that allows you to easily monitor and discover inconsistencies, absences, and other problems within a dataset. Status checks provide an efficient and user-friendly method of data management within the EBS volume.

Status check returns will display the following:

  • Ok: Normal performance.

  • Warning: Slowed/degraded or significantly slowed/degraded performance.

  • Impaired: Impacted performance, or unable to determine performance.

Insufficient data: Self-explanatory.

EBS volume events

Amazon EBS halts input/output processes if it detects an issue in a volume’s dataset. A status check will then return as failed and indicate the cause of failure through volume event messaging, followed by an action prompt. These include:

  • Awaiting Action: Enable IO: Volume data may be incongruous. IO processes discontinued until you specifically enable them.

  • IO Enabled: IO processes specifically enabled.

  • IO Auto-Enabled: IO processes automatically enabled for this event - check data for incongruencies.

  • Normal: Normal performance.

  • Degraded: Slowed/degraded performance.

  • Severely degraded: Significantly slowed/degraded performance.

  • Stalled: Impacted performance.

Impaired/Degraded EBS volume mitigation and prevention

Frequent status checks and other monitoring solutions will help you to minimize incidents of impairment and degradation through careful observation and tracking. However you should be prepared to handle impaired/degraded EBS volume when it arises. These are your options:

  1. Run a consistency check on the attached instance. Halt any applications using the volume, enable I/O, then check the data by running the fsck command.

  2. Run a consistency check on an alternate instance. Halt any applications using the volume, detach the volume from the current instance and re-attach to a different instance, enable I/O, then check the data by running the fsck command.

Delete the volume. If you no longer are using the volume, or if the volume is too badly degraded or stalled, you can delete it.

How Sumo Logic can help

As the first enterprise-grade, cloud-based monitoring service, Sumo Logic can help manage and analyze collected data and provide real-time insight on operational or security concerns on all your cloud and internet-connected applications.

Sumo Logic is a user-friendly web application that allows you to start troubleshooting and analyzing just fifteen minutes after you sign up. Our product helps you provide top-notch customer service by providing thorough analytics on whatever applications you run.

Sumo Logic seamlessly integrates with Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, making monitoring of your EBS system even easier and more intuitive.

Get started for free today to learn why Sumo Logic is right for your business.

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