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AWS Costs

EFS Pricing Explained

How is AWS EFS Priced?

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) offers serverless elastic file systems. The service does not have a minimum fee or any setup charge. You can pay only for the storage you actually use.

EFS offers two types of storage—standard storage that uses multiple Availability Zones (AZ) to provide high availability and durability, and One Zone storage that provides continuous availability within one zone.

The service offers a storage class for frequently-accessed files and a separate class that offers reduced pricing for infrequently-accessed files. Pricing is based on the volume of storage, the level of redundancy (one zone vs multiple zones), and the storage tier.

You can also optimize pricing using features such as bursting throughput, provisioned throughput, and EFS lifecycle management.

This is part of our series of articles about AWS costs.

In this article:

AWS EFS Pricing Concepts

Storage Classes

Amazon EFS lets you store data using two types of storage classes, including:

  • Standard Storage Class—the default storage class, designed especially for frequent access.
  • Infrequent Access Storage Class—the less expensive class, designed especially for files that do not require frequent access.

You can check the amount of data kept in each storage class by using the EFS API, AWS CLI, or the Amazon EFS console.

Throughput Modes

It is important to realize how EFS manages throughput to get an understanding of its pricing model. EFS also offers two throughput modes.

By default, EFS uses a mode called “bursting throughput”. EFS provides a basic throughput of 50 KB/s for each GB of data. The throughput you are allowed to use grows with your data, so for example, if you have 100 GB of data, you are allowed 5,000 KB/s (50 KB/s X 100).

The “bursting” aspect of this mode is that if you have a peak of traffic, EFS will enable higher throughput for a limited time. EFS gives you a certain amount of “burst credits”, which it uses to give you higher throughput for peak loads. When these credits run out, if your application continues to experience high loads, some requests will be denied.

The other mode is “provisioned throughput”. This means you can request any level of throughput from EFS, and pay for this required capacity, regardless of how much actual throughput you experience. This costs extra, but it guarantees you will have the required level of capacity if you experience high loads.

Learn more in our guide to EFS Performance

EFS Free Tier

The AWS Free Tier lets you get started with EFS for free. Once you sign up as a new AWS customer, you get 5 GB of EFS Standard storage class for a limited duration of 12 months. Note that the free tier is only applicable to any files stored in the EFS One Zone storage class.

Learn more about the cost of other Amazon storage services in our guide to AWS storage costs

Amazon EFS Pricing

Amazon EFS is priced according to the volume of storage, the storage tier (Standard or Infrequent Access), the level of redundancy, and the amount of provisioned throughput. There is also a special charge for requests in the Infrequent Access tier.

In the US East Region, storage costs are as follows:

Storage Tier


Cost Per GB/Month


3 Availability Zones



One Zone


Infrequent Access

3 Availability Zones


Infrequent Access

One Zone


Additional costs:

  • There is a charge of $6 per MB/s per month for provisioned throughput.
  • In the Infrequent Access tier, you are charged $0.01 per GB transferred.

Amazon EFS Pricing Example

Consider the following use case:

  • File system deployed in Amazon US East region
  • 100 GB of data held in Standard Storage for frequently accessed data (with redundancy across three availability zones)
  • 500 GB of data that is less frequently used, held in Infrequent Access (with redundancy across three availability zones)
  • Storage is used continuously throughout the month

The total GB-hours can be calculated as follows:

  • Standard Storage: 100 GB x 31 days x 24 hours = 74,400 GB-Hours
  • Infrequent Access: 500 GB x 31 days x 24 hours = 372,000 GB-Hours

Here is the total storage for each type of storage:

  • Standard Storage: 74,400 GB-Hours x (1 month / 744 hours) x $0.30 = $30.00
  • Infrequent Storage: 372,000 GB-Hours x (1 month / 744 hours) x $0.025 = $12.50

And so the total monthly charge in this scenario is $42.5. This does not include extra charges for requests made on data in the Infrequent Storage tier.

Best Practices for AWS EFS Cost Optimization

Use the following practices to optimize your costs in EFS.

Leverage Amazon EFS Lifecycle Management

Amazon EFS offers a lifecycle management feature that can automatically manage your file storage. Once you enable lifecycle management, it starts looking for files that were accessed for a certain time and then migrates them to either the Standard-Infrequent Access (Standard-IA) storage class or the One Zone-Infrequent Access (One Zone-IA) storage class. To define a specific period of time, use the Transition into IA lifecycle policy.

To track when files were last accessed, lifecycle management uses an internal timer, rather than the publicly viewable POSIX file system attributes. The lifecycle management timer is reset every time a file in Standard or One Zone storage is accessed.

After lifecycle management migrates a file into an IA storage class, the file remains there indefinitely. However, you can optimize the process by enabling Amazon EFS Intelligent Tiering - a process that can move files in and out of storage classes as needed.

Learn more about EFS Infrequent Access vs Cloud Volumes ONTAP Data Tiering.

Reduce Costs with Amazon EFS One Zone

As of March 2021, Amazon reduced the costs of EFS One Zone storage classes by 47% compared to EFS Standard storage classes. For example, when using the U.S. East Region, you can achieve a storage price of $0.043/GB-month, as long as you enable lifecycle management and 80% of the data is infrequently accessed.

One Zone is ideal for development and build workloads, staging environments, analytics and simulation applications, media transcoding, and any workload that does not require high levels of durability and availability. You can use this class to store replicas, secondary copies of local data, easily recreated data, and applications with built-in high-availability and replication features that do not require the multi-AZ resilience provided by the Standard storage classes.

Related content: Read our guide to AWS cost optimization

EFS Pricing with NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP capacity can scale into the petabytes, and it supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides storage efficiency features, including thin provisioning, data compression, and deduplication, reducing the storage footprint and costs by up to 70%.

Learn more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps cost savings with these Cloud Volumes ONTAP Storage Efficiency Case Studies.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager