How to Automate Your Backup Operations in AWS

How to Automate Your Backup Operations in AWSHow to Automate Your Backup Operations in AWS
In today’s dynamic enterprise environments, it’s crucial to automate backup and disaster recovery processes for ease in managing and creating a scalable and robust environment. Managing a traditional local backup infrastructure typically doesn’t support these options– as it involves constant concerns about application and data migrations, upgrades, and using obsolete technologies.

With AWS cloud infrastructure, backup operations can be best streamlined using automation, and by incorporating these integration and deployment operations within your DevOps environment. In this article, we will discuss the challenge of automating backup using ad-hoc scripts, and show you how Cloud Protection Manager (CPM) can help maintain a well-defined policy.

Manual Backup is Not an Option

So how can you best move to this type of approach? The most efficient way is to avoid cumbersome manual processes, and instead move to an automated approach to manage and provision your backup and secondary sites. Trying to do something as basic as manually provisioning instances and volumes could put you at risk of not having a healthy backup solution – simply because somebody forgot to update the backup policies with the latest release. Furthermore, the importance of mission-critical data in healthcare, finance, and other regulated industries means that you have to make absolutely sure that any changes to your environment are industry-compliant (e.g., HIPAA, PCI-DSS, etc.).

Using Semi-Automation with Multiple Scripts

Using AWS CLI tools and scripts to provision and configure instances and volumes, your cloud operation team members can automate backup and DR within the AWS cloud. Generally speaking, command line tools follow easy step-by-step procedures, and using AWS APIs gives you the ability to accomplish almost any backup task you want to do – such as scheduling your EBS snapshots and rotating instances.

However, using the ad-hoc scripts approach is difficult to do in an effective way, especially when you need to back up large and complex environments with multiple internal dependencies. There will inevitably be important features and best practices that will be time-consuming to create and maintain, and since building consistent backup and making sure your DR site is ready for any event are not your core capabilities. CodeSpaces had automated snapshots in place, yet went out of business. This event clearly demonstrates the need for a solid backup solution that could have protected their business (i.e., cross-AWS account backup).

Scripting of your backup processes is a ‘semi-automated’ solution, because eventually you will have some manual operations that you need to take on. Such operations are error-prone by nature. In addition, you’ll come to the point where you need to manage and maintain multiple scripts, and integrate between them – which may become significantly time consuming. Finally, think about an outage event and your need to make sure recovery happens quickly, if not seamlessly. The ones that will have to wait for you are your users, and this will harm their trust in your services.

Complete Automation Using CPM CLIs

Having cloud purpose-built backup systems in place creates the building blocks necessary for streamlining your backup policy. This type of solution is time-saving and cost-effective as well, as it allows you to focus your time and resources on developing your core competencies.
Let’s see a couple of real world examples of how CPM CLI can help you automate your production environments’ backup. Assume you have multiple databases such as MYSQL or MongoDB. To be most effective, your solution needs to be dynamic and automated when a server is terminated and a new instance needs to be launched. Using EC2 tags, CPM can automatically assign each one of these new instances the appropriate backup policy based on their purpose and your initial configuration. For additional information, see our previous article about tag-based continuous AWS cloud backup.

Another example surrounds automatic recovery. Organizations have to perform regular recovery drills of their secondary sites, with continual testing to determine if the backup and recovery processes are successful. This process should be completely automated as well, and you can easily use CPM to create these drills as well as use the CLI to be notified of the success of the backup and testing status.

In addition to automating a consistent backup, CPM’s cloud backup solution supports large enterprises, and leveraging its APIs, they can automate consistent and effective backup as part of their integration and delivery process (i.e., DevOps). Having the backup processes and recovery tests as part of your release cycles allows for seamless updating of your secondary sites stacks.

A Final Note

Like in every management aspect of your cloud, you need to use systems that will cover all use cases and best practices. Cloud backup systems like CPM are built with these best practices, giving you confidence in the reliability of your service continuity.

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