What's the Story in EBS Glory: Evolutions and Lessons in Building Cloud Block Store


In this paper, we qualitatively and quantitatively discuss the design choices, production experience, and lessons in building the Elastic Block Storage (EBS) at Alibaba Cloud over the past decade. To cope with hardware advancement and users demands, we shift our focus from design simplicity in EBS1 to high performance and space efficiency in EBS2, and finally reducing network traffic amplification in EBS3.

In addition to the architectural evolutions, we also summarize the lessons and experiences in development as four topics, including: (i) achieving high elasticity in latency, throughput, IOPS and capacity; (ii) improving availability by minimizing the blast radius of individual, regional, and global failure events; (iii) identifying the motivations and key tradeoffs in various hardware offloading solutions; and (iv) identifying the pros/cons of the alternative solutions and explaining why seemingly promising ideas would not work in practice.

22nd USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies.