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Why EBS snapshots are not enough for AWS backup

AWS EBS Pricing: HDD and SSD Cloud Block Storage
If you've got more than 3 AWS accounts, you need a backup tool that provides total visibility and control.
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Data protection and security is a shared responsibility between AWS and their customers, but it has long been disputed whether AWS workloads need to be backed up at all – surely this is taken care of by the cloud provider? Wrong. Last year, AWS announced a new tool to automate snapshots within AWS called ‘AWS Backup’.

This confirms what we have been saying all along, that YOU need to ensure your AWS workloads are protected from the many things that can go wrong in your AWS environment. “AWS Backup” is a basic snapshot scheduling tool based on AWS native snapshots with additional capabilities for managing snapshots of other AWS resources.

Taking regular snapshots of your data is the logical first step for any robust data protection strategy. However, the snapshot management capabilities of ‘AWS Backup’ are not enough. You need a complete solution that keeps your AWS data safe and easily recoverable from any scenario. Plus, you’ll benefit from different options to help you optimize your AWS environment, lower storage costs and lifecycle critical data.

Top 10 Considerations for Choosing Enterprise Backup on AWS:

1. Recovery Options:

N2WS Backup & Recovery has a giant “recovery” button that allows you to recover anything from a single file to entire instances and even environments in seconds (and fully supports application-consistency for proper viable backups). Native-tools do not provide any recovery options. You can turn a snapshot into a data volume and mount the volume, but that is not good enough to meet your recovery SLAs. If you are hit by ransomware or malicious account breach, regional outage, EBS failure or user error you need a plan to recover and minimize disruption.

2. Restore granularity:

Retrieving individual files can be cumbersome but there will be many times when critical files are needed quickly. N2WS makes it easy to find and recover single files, even files stored in Amazon S3, without having to restore the entire instance or EBS volumes.

3. Disaster Recovery planning:

To ensure business continuity, you should consider geo- and account-redundancy. What if one of your AWS accounts is compromised or a region goes down? All responsible businesses should be equipped with a disaster recovery strategy. Native tools provide limited options for cross-account or cross-region DR. This severely limits your ability to keep your business running smoothly in the event of regional disasters or an account compromise.

4. Recovery Orchestration and Dry Runs:

A well-documented DR strategy, which includes regular testing, is becoming more of a focus for the modern enterprise. Native tools allow you to take and manage backups. But what happens when you need to stand up several resources at once? Or need to run frequent recovery drills as part of your compliance plan? N2WS helps you orchestrate recovery at scale, eliminating manual work and stress from the process.

5. Volumes vs. VMs:

“AWS Backup” manages snapshots by individual volumes but not at the level of a full instance with all its volume and its associated metadata, adding time-consuming work for your SysAdmins. N2WS backs up everything, including VPC settings, security groups and instance metadata, allowing you to completely protect your data and supporting infrastructure.

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6. Scalability and Cost Savings:

Using native tools for taking hundreds or thousands of snapshots is fine, but your storage costs will start to soar if you don’t have an effective data lifecycle strategy in place. N2WS allows you to archive EBS snapshots (and even individual volumes) and copy them to Amazon S3 and/or Amazon Glacier, saving up to 98% on long-term storage costs.

Consider other ways to manage your AWS bill. N2WS Resource Control is an easy way to turn off instances when they’re not in use (our customer Gett saved $100k just by doing this). You can also see EBS costs directly from the N2WS dashboard – better visibility in the short term means more informed decision-making long term.

7. Multi-Tenancy:

N2WS Backup & Recovery provides central management for multiple accounts and simplifies this process by fully supporting multi-tenancy and allowing you to set permissions to suit the way you and your users work. You need a solution that provides a single pane of glass across multiple AWS accounts.

8. Application-consistency:

N2WS Backup & Recovery can perform an application-consistent backup of production applications without taking systems offline. Our tool also supports application-consistent backup for both Windows and Linux workloads, ensuring that the backups you take are viable and recoverable to a production state.

9. Alerts and reporting:

N2WS Backup & Recovery provides out of the box reports helping you to monitor the status of your backups. You can also enable real-time alerts, notifications and even raw reporting data that ensure your team can take action quickly if needed.

Integrations with tools like Datadog provide a visual collection of data that is accessible even without touching N2WS. Leadership can easily visualize and understand their company’s backup environment and what the IT team is managing on a daily basis (don’t worry, we won’t tell you are just setting it and forgetting it (:.

10. Backup Monitoring:

N2WS provides a centralized dashboard to monitor backup and recovery operations, with data that can be easily digested by management and clients. Get a snapshot (pun intended) of your backups, archives, costs and EBS volume usage, without having to dig through multiple reports. N2WS also plays well with others. We provide integrations with leading monitoring tools such as Datadog – with more in the works. As you scale on AWS, N2WS is here to help you consolidate your tech stack for unparalleled visibility.

Growing capabilities of N2WS Backup & Recovery

Enterprises go through many different journeys to cloud backup deployment and long term management of their data. But one thing is certain, the long trail of IT necessitates a thoughtful transition and a method to prioritize different aspects of your data protection. The team here at N2WS not only provides the tools needed for high availability and cost optimized storage, but also guides you through that journey with what we like to call, the Three Stages of AWS Optimization.

First and foremost, organizations need to urgently evaluate a backup solution that meets their data protection needs. For businesses not using N2WS, take this recent announcement as a call-to-action. Evaluate what you have in place to protect your AWS data and environment and get something in place! Even if it is manual snapshots or using free native-tools, do not ignore the problem. For our customers, we are continuing to innovate at an accelerated pace and we are available for support, health checks and recommended best practices for your particular use case.

We have some amazing new capabilities on our roadmap and will continue to add value above and beyond what AWS supports using native-tools. N2WS Backup & Recovery helps you leverage the power of the cloud and realize its full potential for your business. Ensuring business continuity, compliance, boosting efficiency, reducing costs and reducing risk along the way.

N2WS Backup & Recovery Free Trial (which automatically converts to our Free Forever Edition) can be set up in 15 minutes, giving you instant access to enterprise-grade backup and recovery, including cross-region disaster recovery, from one easy to use console. N2WS Backup and Recovery is available in all AWS regions, including AWS GovCloud.

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