AWS Recovery Scenarios

10 Cool Things You Can Do with N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition

N2WS Backup & Recovery is a native tool, specifically designed for AWS that provides enterprise-level of data protection, with complete backup functionalities and simple recovery options. But sometimes circumstances can vary – either your company is on a budget or you’re running a small environment and don’t want to spend too much.

In this blog post I will talk about N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition and show how you can actually reach a high level of protection at no cost, for both your organization and your personal use.

1. Backup EC2 instances and native AWS services (Aurora, DynamoDB, Redshift etc.)

With our tool you get free backup and recovery for all types of AWS services, including Amazon EC2, EBS volumes, RDS, Redshift, Aurora and DynamoDB. You can protect up to 5 Amazon EC2 instances from any type of data loss, outage or failure, as well as automate the backup and recovery of DynamoDB tables, TTLs and tags and gain efficiencies by avoiding the pitfalls of manual set up. N2WS Backup & Recovery integrates seamlessly with AWS (it’s actually an EC2 instance) and so we adhere to the strict compliance and security standards of AWS and data will never leave your AWS accounts.

2. Flexible Scheduling

In an EC2 backup solution based on EBS snapshots, balancing the number and frequency of snapshots and the required RPO can be tricky. At peak hours data typically changes at a much more rapid rate than during off-hours or weekends. The ability to make that distinction can save in terms of cost and number of EBS snapshots. N2WS Backup & Recovery allows such flexibility out of the box. You can define start and end time for the schedule, backup frequency (e.g. every 15 minutes, every 4 hours, everyday etc.), days of week to run the policy or special times to disable the policy.

3. Backup efficiently with EBS snapshots

With N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition you can take backups at intervals of minutes, which is great for very tight RPOs and feasible because EBS snapshots are incremental, so we’re just backing up what has changed since the previous backup. By default, snapshots taken using N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition are crash-consistent. When you backup an EC2 instance at a certain time and later want to restore it from a backup, it will start the same as a physical machine booting after a power outage.

4. Cross-region DR (Disaster Recovery)

Disaster Recovery capabilities of N2WS are based on AWS ability to copy EBS snapshots between regions and allows you to recover instances and EBS volumes in other regions. You may need this ability in case of a full-scale outage in a whole region. But it can also be used to migrate instances and data between regions and is not limited to DR. If you use N2WS Backup & Recovery Free edition to take RDS snapshots, they will also be copied and will be available in other regions. The days when an Iron Mountain driver would come to pick up your tapes and drive them physically to other location once a week are long gone. It now takes 3 mouse clicks to transfer your data securely and safely from one data center to another.

5. Near-instant recovery of a single file or entire volumes

N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition offers several options for data recovery, including instant recovery of EC2 virtual machines, EBS volumes and databases. N2WS Backup & Recovery also supports file-level recovery. You can restore individual files without having to restore the entire instance or mount the volume – retrieve previous versions of individual files and folders from the GUI.

With instant recovery you can recover a complete instance with its data for different purposes:

  • An instance crashed or is corrupted and you need to create a new one
  • Create an instance in a different AZ (Availability Zone)
  • Create an instance in a different region
  • Create an instance from a frozen image

6. Tag Scanning

AWS is an environment based largely on automation. Since all the functionality is available via an API, scripts can be used to deploy and manage applications, servers and complete environments. N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition allows you to configure backup using automation tools by utilizing AWS tags. By tagging a resource (EC2 instance, EBS volume, RDS instance, Aurora cluster or Redshift cluster), N2WS can be notified what to do with it and there’s no need to use the GUI. Since tagging is a basic functionality of AWS, it can be easily done via the API and scripts.

7. Command-Line Interface (CLI)

N2WS Backup & Recovery has a RESTful API which allows you to orchestrate entire recovery scenarios based on your needs. You can also use the RESTful API to integrate into other third-party applications, such as log consolidation or ticketing systems.

8. The Freezer

The freezer feature of N2WS Backup & Recovery allows you to keep a backup indefinitely and make sure it is not deleted. There can be several reasons why you would want to freeze a backup:

  • An important backup of an instance you already recovered from so you will be able to recover the same instance again if needed
  • A backup of interest, such as the first backup after a major change in the system or after an important update
  • You want to delete a policy and only keep one or two backups for future needs

9. Reporting, Alerts, Summaries

To notify you when something is wrong and to integrate with your other cloud operations, N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition allows sending alerts, notifications and even raw reporting data. Alerts are notifications about issues in your N2WS backup solution so you’ll properly utilize resources and be proactive in troubleshooting issues. Whenever a policy fails in backup or DR, an alert is issued so that you know the policy is not functioning properly. Later, when the policy succeeds, the alert is turned off or deleted, so you’ll know the issue is resolved. Alerts can be sent for failures in backup and DR, as well as for general system issues like license expiration.

10. Cloning

Everybody should have a staging environment to test codes, builds and updates before application deployment. Using N2WS Backup & Recovery to perform backups, it’s very easy to just simply use the cloning feature and clone the entire production environment into another region to have your own staging environment.

Bonus – The N2WS EC2 instance can backup ITSELF

This is one of my favorite parts of N2WS. You can configure N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Edition to backup itself and spin up a new instance from AWS Marketplace during a complete region outage. Then, in your DR region you import the backup data and in less than 90 seconds you’re completely recovered from that outage.

Conclusion

The general belief is that the free version of any software product must have limited capabilities, but it’s not the case for N2WS Backup & Recovery – it takes regularly scheduled snapshots and provides an easy dashboard to instantly recover EC2 instances, monitor backups jobs, and perform other AWS backup and recovery operations.

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