Explain Elastic Block Storage?  What type of performance can you expect?  How do you back it up?  How do you improve performance?

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EBS is a virtualized SAN or storage area network.  That means it is RAID storage to start with, so it’s redundant and fault tolerant.  If disks die in that RAID you don’t lose data.  Great!  It is also virtualized, so you can provision and allocate storage, and attach it to your server with various API calls.  No calling the storage expert and asking him or her to run specialized commands from the hardware vendor.
Performance on EBS can exhibit variability.  That is, it can go above the SLA performance level, then drop below it.  The SLA provides you with an average disk I/O rate you can expect.  This can frustrate some folks, especially performance experts who expect reliable and consistent disk throughout on a server.  Traditional physically hosted servers behave that way.  Virtual AWS instances do not.
Backup EBS volumes by using the snapshot facility via API call or via a GUI interface like elasticfox.
Improve performance by using Linux software raid and striping across four volumes.

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