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Identify instance store volumes in EC2 – Steps to follow

by | Jul 18, 2021

Wondering how to  identify instance store volumes in EC2? We can help you!

Often customers with Amazon EC2 Linux instance with both Amazon Elastic Block Store volumes and instance store (ephemeral) volumes, ask us how to identify instance store volumes in EC2.

Here at Bobcares, we handle requests from our customers regarding similar issues as a part of our Server Management Services.

Today let’s see how our Support Engineers do this for our customers with EC2 instances.

How to Identify instance store volumes in EC2

For identifying instance store volumes on Amazon EC2 Linux instances, we must first check if the instance type supports instance store volumes. And if it supports we can check the type of instance store volumes that are supported. Then review the volume’s information from the operating system (OS).

Steps to identify:

1 .We must verify what type of instance store volume (HDD, SSD, or NVMe SSD), if any, that our instance supports.

2. The identification method that is used depends on whether we have NVMe SSD or HDD/SSD instance store volumes.

NVMe SSD instance store volumes

Following are the steps for NVMe SSD volumes:

1. Firstly, we must connect to our instance.

2. Then we must install the NVMe command line package, nvme-cli, using the package management tools for our Linux distribution.

3. And run the following nvme list command as a privileged user.

$ sudo nvme list

The following is a sample output from an instance type that supports one NVMe SSD device:

$ sudo nvme list
Node             SN                   Model                                    Namespace Usage                      Format           FW Rev
---------------- -------------------- ---------------------------------------- --------- -------------------------- ---------------- --------
/dev/nvme0n1     vol0923757ba05df9515 Amazon Elastic Block Store               1           0.00   B /   8.59  GB    512   B +  0 B   1.0
/dev/nvme1n1     AWS1A4FC25FB16B79F76 Amazon EC2 NVMe Instance Storage         1          50.00  GB /  50.00  GB    512   B +  0 B   0

HDD or SSD instance store volumes

For HDD or SSD instance store volumes, we can get the list of attached block devices from the OS. Then retrieve the block device mapping section that is contained in the instance metadata.

1. Firstly, we must connect to our instance.

2. Then run the following lsblk command:

$ sudo lsblk

The following is a sample output that shows the list of block devices that are retrieved from an instance which supports SSD instance store volumes.

$ sudo lsblk
NAME    MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
xvda    202:0    0     8G  0 disk
└─xvda1 202:1    0     8G  0 part /
xvdb    202:16   0 745.2G  0 disk
xvdc    202:32   0 745.2G  0 disk
xvdd    202:48   0 745.2G  0 disk
xvde    202:64   0 745.2G  0 disk

3.  To identify if xvdb, is an ephemeral drive and retrieve the block-device-mapping metadata:

$ curl http://169.254.169.254/latest/meta-data/block-device-mapping/ephemeral0
sdb
$ ls -l /dev/sdb
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 4 Aug 27 13:07 /dev/sdb -> xvdb

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Conclusion

To conclude, we saw the steps that our Support Techs follow to identify instance store volumes in EC2.

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