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The Three Stages of AWS Optimization

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The three stages of the optimization journey of a typical AWS customer was brilliantly captured in a recent RegCast, hosted by the Register, N2WS and Gett. Gett provides transportation and delivery through cutting edge technologies, operating in UK, Russia, Israel and and the US. Gett’s IT and production environment are 100% hosted on AWS. Because drivers and deliveries are working around the clock, it is fundamental that the company’s essential data availability and recovery scenarios are in place. In addition, AWS cost had to be monitored as this all needed to be done within a specified IT budget.

Enterprises go through many different paths to AWS migration and data protection. Some have a frantic architectural transition and prioritize speed over cost. Some go through years of testing and optimization before they fully transition their production workloads.

IT heads, like Danny Michael from Gett, are responsible not only for their data protection and minimizing any chance of a outage, but also their IT budget and ensuring that costs are optimized by efficient storage of snapshots and making sure idle servers and unnecessary storage are not contributing to cloud spend. This security and financial burden in the cloud has become even more of a concern as data has not only been growing exponentially but also as data types are increasingly varied (i.e the critical nature of the data, length of storage requirements).

Gett is a great example of a company that is in the process of achieving Stage 2, the SCALE phase, as they have saved up to 100k per year by eliminating non essential storage of snapshots and implementing Resource Control. They are currently entering Stage 3: the OPTIMIZATION phase by beginning to implement Archiving to S3 Glacier. They have achieved an impressive level of cloud maturity in the mere 10 years they have been in business. Listen to their story.

The Three Stages of AWS Optimization

Our three main stages of AWS Optimization aim to help IT professionals understand and assess how to address their business risks in organized stages, so as not to be completely overwhelmed by the process.

Stage 1: Protect

The very first step for every enterprise, no matter which vertical and how large your AWS environment is, is to make sure your data is protected 24/7. This means guaranteeing you can very quickly and completely perform data recovery in the event of an outage or failure.

The N2WS solution has been ensuring cloud data protection for thousands of companies over a decade by enabling them to click a GIANT recovery button and subsequently orchestrating the entire recovery process whether that be on the instance, the volume or even a single file or folder. By relying on automated backup policies, AWS resources can be back to a production state in minutes, thereby protecting companies from region outages, bugs, human error, EBS failure or ransomware and other malicious account compromisation.

Some signs you have achieved Phase 1:

  • Automatic backups and Disaster Recovery drills in place for critical production loads.
  • Cross-region as well as cross-account disaster recovery drills in place.
  • Full transparency to cloud backups, snapshots and all managed user data across all key stakeholders in an organization.
  • Disaster Recovery Drills for instance, volume and file or folder level recovery in place
  • Daily summaries sent even if it is just a reminder that all backups ‘are ok’
  • Alerts issued if a policy fails in backup or Disaster Recovery
  • Ensure resources are protected by eliminating manual tagging

Stage 2: Scale

Once an organization achieves basic protection by automating their backups and receiving regular alerts that everything is running smoothly, the next step is to start to increase your efficiency with cost optimization and time saving features.

As data scales on the cloud, multiple resource recovery becomes essential to your Disaster Recovery plan. But how do you manage this efficiently and securely? N2WS’s feature Recovery Scenarios further minimizes downtime by being able to perform bulk recoveries along with dry runs.  AWS users set an order of recovery, configure a pre-defined recovery plan, are notified of any potential configuration issues, and can ensure beforehand that multiple snapshots and/or databases will be recovered in 1-click. 

Additionally, customers can now start to implement AWS cost optimization methods. N2WS’s popular Resource Control feature gives AWS users the ability to add an automatic start/stop instance schedule thus having more control over their running EC2 and RDS instances. By scheduling an on/off time reflecting when your resources will be idle (think: a test instance that won’t be bothered with on the weekends), customers can save a significant amount of money, in some cases up to thousands of dollars per month.

Some signs you have achieved Phase 2:

  • Existence of well-defined backup and storage plan for all applications/workloads, which justifies costs with required RTO/RPO.
  • Light to moderate utilization of cloud-based opportunities for AWS cost optimization (Resource control, longer and cheaper storage options)
  • Transparency to cloud cost, usage, performance, availability and security across all key stakeholders in an organization.
  • Closed loop process for complete protection (Bulk Recover Scenario DR drills and pre defined dry runs) as your infrastructure scales

Stage 3: Optimize

The final stage of AWS Optimization is to adopt and refine a fully strategic data lifecycle management plan, particularly as many industries have implemented compliance demands and it is becoming essential for many enterprises to store large amounts of data for very long periods of time. Copying snapshots to AWS S3, and the even cheaper AWS S3 Glacier is sometimes the only option given the incredibly cheap storage price.

N2WS customers are given the ability to automate copy of EBS snapshots to Amazon S3 buckets as well as AWS S3 Glacier and AWS S3 Glacier Deep Archive enabling them to save up to 98% savings without sacrificing latency, security and availability.

Some signs you have achieved Phase 3:

  • Moderate to heavy utilization of cloud-based opportunities for cost optimization (Resource control, longer and cheaper storage options)
  • Full transparency to cloud cost, usage, performance, availability and security across all key stakeholders in an organization.
  • Refine and command full control of various “what-if” disaster scenarios.
  • Written plan to further improve storage efficiency and cost optimization as your data scales.

No Final Stage of AWS Optimization!

It’s important to note that these steps aren’t a one-time process. Most enterprises will agree, data lifecycle management is an ongoing effort as data and infrastructure grows and evolves and as tools like N2WS Backup & Recovery make it easier and more cost effective to manage your resources.

We have seen those companies with the most success when they continually rework and reassess. That’s why we highly recommend a usage check-in with one of our experts to understand where you are in the AWS Optimization process and what your next steps should be.

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