Amazon Elastic Block Store
Amazon has been privately testing a persistent storage feature for EC2 that is called EBS (or Elastic Block Store). Several developers like myself have been given the opportunity to kick the tires for the last few months. The details about what this service provides are found here (http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=sc_fe_c_1_3435361_1?ie=UTF8&node=689343011&n...), so I won't re-hash them in great detail. I'll just say that this service provides fairly fast attached storage for EC2 instances. A nice feature is snapshots, which get stored in Amazon S3. You can create a new volume from scratch, or base it on an existing snapshot. This comes in handy when you have a large dataset that you'd like to make available to your EC2 instance. I've used this to hold a default set of database files. While it might be easier load a database dump from S3 to my local disk, it is nice to know that if the instance goes down, I'll still have the disk around to attach to a replacement instance. In a nutshell, your data is now much safer using EBS. Given that I can allocate up to a 1TB drive, I don't think I'll need any of those S3-backed storage solutions that some third parties are providing! (Don't get me wrong, they still have use, but not for the same reasons).