Ephemeral Drives in Amazon EC2 – When Are They Mounted?

Virtual instances running in Amazon’s EC2 service have several ephemeral disk drives that can be used for temporary storage (temporary because they are not persisted as part of the AMI). Recently, I had to figure out exactly when those drives were mounted and available during boot. The specific issue I was seeing was that I had registered some services to start automatically during boot, and those services started software packages that relied upon the ephemeral drives. This is on Windows 2003 Server, by the way; this is a non-issue on Linux, where mounted drives precede the init sequence for application level processes.

Through some trial and error (and I’ll abridge the details here), I was able to determine that the ephemeral drives are ready in all respects after the following two services have started: Ec2Config and Virtual Disk Service (vds). It was a simple matter of creating service dependencies for my registered services to ensure that they started after Ec2Config and VDS were started, and that fixed the glitch. I was using cygwin so I was able to use the cygrunsrv command to create the dependencies (via the --dep argument). People with more Windows kung fu would probably use regedit to do the same thing.

Hope this helps.