AWS FSx: 6 Reasons to Use It in Your Next Project

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What Is AWS FSx?

Amazon FSx offers file systems designed for a variety of workload types. You can use AWS FSx as storage for Windows applications, machine learning (ML) and high-performance computing (HPC). FSx can also help with electronic design automation.

FSx has two key differentiators compared to other Amazon’s previous file service offerings, such as Elastic File Service (EFS). It comes with a complete file server built in, and it offers superior performance for demanding use cases.

Amazon FSx offer two types of file systems:

  • Amazon FSx for Windows File Server—designed for business applications.
  • Amazon FSx for Lustre—designed for compute-intensive workloads.
  • Amazon FSx for ONTAP—multiprotocol file and block storage access, with NetApp’s advanced data management system features and benefits.

The service is fully managed, which means Amazon handles the infrastructure and management layer, including hardware provisioning, system configuration and backups.

FSx complements, and integrates with, Amazon's Infrastructure as a Service offerings likes the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

In this article:

What are the Three Editions of the AWS FSx Service?

AWS FSx comes in three editions—FSx for Windows, FSx for Lustre, and FSx for ONTAP. These are packaged as three separate Amazon services.

Amazon FSx for Windows

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server offers fully-managed file storage that can be accessed through the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. The system is designed on Windows Server and it includes features like Microsoft Active Directory (AD) integration, end-user file restore and data deduplication.

FSx for Windows File Server offers two types of deployment options—single-AZ and multi-AZ. Additionally, the service provides fully-managed backup copies as well as data encryption for data in transit and at rest. Amazon FSx supports Windows, MacOS and Linux compute instances as well as devices that run on-premises or on AWS.

The service offers several storage options types that you can use to optimize costs and performance. For example, you can use HDD storage to lower file storage costs. Since this is a cloud service, you can scale as needed, to ensure your system meets business requirements.

Learn more in our detailed guide to FSx for Windows

Amazon FSx for Lustre

Amazon FSx for Lustre offers fully-managed storage built especially to provide high-performance at scale for compute workloads. It is ideal for machine learning, video rendering, high performance computing and financial simulations.

FSx for Lustre offers sub-millisecond latencies, millions of IOPS and up to hundreds of gigabytes per second of throughput. The service offers multiple deployment options and several storage types, which you can use to optimize costs and performance. You can link FSx for Lustre to your Amazon S3 buckets, and then access and process data concurrently.

Learn more in our detailed guide to FSx for Lustre

Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP

In collaboration with NetApp, AWS has launched Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, a new cloud-based managed shared file and block storage service that brings the best of both worlds to their customers.

FSx for ONTAP delivers NFS, SMB and iSCSI storage powered by NetApp’s advanced data management system, with features and benefits that go beyond other AWS offerings:

6 Reasons to Use AWS FSx in Your Organization

AWS FSx offers the following benefits:

1. Cost-Effectiveness

Amazon FSx lets you spin your file systems up and down, according to changing demands. The service offers a wide range of hard disk drive (HDD) and solid-state disk (SSD) storage options, which you can use to optimize costs and performance. It also offers data deduplication, which can further help optimize costs.

FSx for Lustre lets you choose between file systems—unreplicated or scratch—and lower costs for shorter-term processing of data. Additionally, you can use data compression to reduce the storage consumption of your file system storage and file system backups.

FSx for ONTAP storage efficiency features, including thin provisioning, data compression, data deduplication, data compaction and data tiering, can significantly shrink your data and reduce storage costs.

2. Flexible Performance

AWS FSx can support demanding enterprise applications as well as high-performance workloads. The service is designed to deliver fast, scalable, consistent and predictable performance.

The file systems provided by FSx are designed to provide sustained high speeds for read/write operations, as well as consistent low latency data access. The service lets you choose the throughput level and storage type that best match your requirements. You can increase storage capacity at any time.

3. Availability and Durability

FSx runs in the AWS cloud. The service offers a wide range of deployment options to help meet your durability and availability requirements. You can choose between single-AZ or multi-AZ deployment types as needed. FSx for Lustre lets you choose between persistent storage or scratch for your long-term or short-term data processing.

4. Simplicity

You can launch a fully-managed FSx file system in a matter of minutes. Since this is a managed service, you do not need to manage file servers or storage volumes. There is no need to update hardware, monitor storage consumption, update hardware or create backups. AWS FSx automatically handles these administrative tasks.

5. Security and Compliance

FSx automatically encrypts data in transit and at rest. Even though it is a managed service, you can control network access to file systems, by running the FSx file system in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).

AWS FSx was designed to meet high security standards. The service has ISO, PCI-DSS, and SOC certifications, and is also HIPAA eligible. Additionally, FSx can integrate with AWS Backup, which can help you centralize backup and compliance processes.

6. Integration with AWS Services

FSx file systems can integrate with other Amazon services, such as Amazon EC2, S3, Key Management Service (KMS), Elastic Container Service (ECS), CloudTrail, CloudWatch, AWS Batch, Amazon WorkSpaces, and Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS).

Understanding FSx Pricing

Here are several factors that impact the pricing of FSx pricing for Windows File Server and FSx for Lustre:

  • Storage capacity—this price is calculated according to the chosen storage type (HDD or SSD) and whether you choose to deploy the file system in a single availability zone or multiple zones. The cost is for average storage provisioned during the month for all the file systems you use, measured in gigabyte-months, "GB-months".
  • Throughput capacity—this price is calculated according to your preferred deployment type (single or multiple availability zones). The cost is determined according to the average monthly throughput provisioned for all file systems you use. This is measured in “MBps-months”. When deploying multi-AZ file systems, the throughput capacity price also includes the costs incurred for transferring data between Availability Zones for data replication purposes.
  • Backups—all backups, including automatic and manual, are subject to backup storage fees. To help reduce costs, duplicated data is not saved—all backup copies are incremental, and store only your most recent changes. You are charged for the average monthly backup storage used each month. This is measured in “GB-months”.
  • Data transfer—there is a lower data transfer rate for data transferred within an Amazon Region (including transfers in and out of Amazon FSx and across AZs or VPC Peering connections). Data transferred to another region is billed at a higher rate (this includes any data transferred out of FSx to another Region and copying backups across Regions).

Here is one factor that affects only FSx for Lustre billing:

  • File system storage type—FSx for Lustre lets you choose between two types of file systems—persistent or scratch. Persistent systems keep storage and replicate data and file servers to prevent failure—this makes them ideal for your long-term workloads. Scratch file systems do not replicate data—use them for short-term data processing. Each file system is priced differently.

Learn more in our guide to AWS FSx pricing

AWS FSx vs EFS: What is the Difference?

In late 2018, AWS rolled out FSx. Initially, industry observers believed it would replace EFS as part of the AWS portfolio. However, to date Amazon has continued to offer both FSx and EFS as two alternative shared file services:

  • EFS is primarily used for NFS and Linux-based workloads
  • FSx for Windows provides a managed file sharing solution for Windows-based workloads that use the SMB protocol
  • FSx for Lustre is a high-performance file sharing solution for Linux-based workloads
  • Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP supports NFS, SMB, and iSCSI, enables hybrid deployment, and provides advanced storage management features

Learn more in our detailed guide to AWS EFS


In this article we discussed the basics of Amazon FSx:

  • Three editions of the service - FSx for Windows, FSx for Lustre, and Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP.
  • Primary benefits of the service - including cost-effectiveness, flexible performance, with support for high performance workloads in FSx for Lustre and FSx for NetApp ONTAP, and the simplicity of a fully managed service.
  • Pricing - based on storage capacity, backup capacity, throughput, and data transfer.

NetApp recently partnered with AWS to provide the Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP service. Click here for a step-by-step walkthrough on how to set up your own FSx for ONTAP environment with Cloud Manager.

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Learn More About AWS FSx

FSx for Windows: An In-Depth Look
Amazon FSx for Windows File Server is a fully-managed, cloud-based file storage solution. It provides Microsoft Windows file servers designed with a native Windows file system. Learn about FSx for Windows benefits, architecture, and how it achieves higher performance than other file services.

Read more: FSx for Windows: An In-Depth Look

AWS FSx Pricing Explained with Real-Life Examples
Amazon FSx offers two types of file systems: Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, designed for Windows-based applications, and Amazon FSx for Lustre, designed for high performance workloads. Understand AWS FSx pricing for Amazon FSx for both services, with real life examples for common pricing scenarios.

Read more: AWS FSx Pricing Explained with Real-Life Examples

FSx for Lustre: Use Cases, Architecture, and Deployment Options
Amazon FSx for Lustre helps organizations run, launch and scale popular high-performance file systems. Learn about Amazon’s shared file service for demanding compute use cases, understand how the service works and how to deploy it as a scratch or persistent file system.

Read more: FSx for Lustre: Use Cases, Architecture, and Deployment Options

AWS FSx for Lustre vs EFS: Head to Head
FSx for Lustre is an entirely managed service that offers high-performance, scalable, cost-effective storage for compute workloads. Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) is a set-and-forget, serverless, simple elastic file system that can be used with on-premises resources and AWS Cloud services. Understand the file sharing features provided by AWS FSx for Lustre and EFS, and how to choose the best service for your needs.

Read more: AWS FSx for Lustre vs EFS: Head to Head

FSx Gateway: Amazon FSx for Windows at On-Premises Speed
Amazon FSx File Gateway, or FSx File, is a file gateway that provides low latency access from on-premises facilities to cloud-based Amazon FSx for Windows File Server file shares. Learn how FSx gateway works and see an example configuration.

Read more: FSx Gateway: Amazon FSx for Windows at On-Premises Speed

See Our Additional Guides on Key IaaS Topics

We have authored in-depth guides on several other topics that can also be useful as you explore the world of IaaS.

Cloud Migration

Learn about cloud migration and what major challenges to expect when implementing a cloud migration strategy in your organization.

See top articles in our cloud migration strategy guide:

AWS Migration

Learn about Amazon’s basic framework for migration, and how to plan for common challenges that affect almost every migration project.

See top articles in our AWS migration guide:


Learn what is AWS EBS and how to perform common EBS operations. Including five highly useful EBS features that can help you optimize performance and billing.

See top articles in our guide to AWS EBS:


Learn about AWS EFS, your backup options, how to optimize performance, see a brief comparison of EFS vs EBS vs S3, and discover how Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help.

See top articles in our guide to AWS EFS:

Azure Migration

Learn about aspects of considerations when implementing Azure migration: migration models, state assessment, storage configuration, security, and maintenance. 

See top articles in our Azure migration guide:

Azure Cost Management

Learn about tools and practices that can help you manage and optimize costs on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

See top articles in our Azure cost management:

AWS Cost Optimization

Learn how AWS cost optimization works, free Amazon tools that can help manage costs, and best practices for reducing your cloud bill.

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AWS High Availability

Discover how high available systems are reliable and resilient and see how AWS can help you achieve high availability for cloud workloads, across 3 dimensions.

See top articles in our AWS high availability guide:

Azure High Availability

High availability is one of the major benefits of cloud services. The guarantee that your data will remain accessible is critical to supporting high priority workloads and applications and is the reason many move to the cloud in the first place.

This guide explains what high availability is and how to optimize Azure high availability.

See top articles in our Azure high availability guide:

Yifat Perry, Product Marketing Lead

Product Marketing Lead