Enterprises that use traditional on-premise data centers require backup solutions in order to protect their heavy data center infrastructure. These solutions, which are provided by traditional providers such as IBM and Symantec, require high levels of expertise to implement initial deployment, a process that could take days or even weeks to carry out. In addition, enterprises are also required to invest tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in physical appliances.
The public cloud has brought radical changes to the world of IT by introducing native cloud backup solutions that leverage the cloud’s unlimited (at least in theory) resources. This includes using storage clouds as backup repositories but also includes in-cloud backup solutions for servers in a compute cloud. Such solutions allow for automating backup policies based on out-of-the-box building blocks such as Amazon AWS EBS snapshots. Running your complete service stack on Amazon cloud will enable you to leverage native in-cloud backup solutions. These can be deployed in a matter of minutes and don’t require any dedicated appliance or hefty implementation efforts.
The Main Difference: The Technology
Most traditional backup solutions are what we call file-level recovery solutions, which means that they function by going into your servers and copying all of your files (or files that have changed) to a backup repository. Implementing these solutions requires a great amount of compute power as well as heavy I/O utilization, and let’s not forget the high costs involved in data transportation.
On the other end of the spectrum, AWS’ cloud building blocks keep things simple. EBS volume snapshots can be automated via AWS APIs, requiring just a fraction of the resources that are required for traditional backup. Moreover, EC2 backup instances in stop mode, and data transportation between AWS availability zones (AZs), don’t hold any costs. The only ongoing costs are for storage and outgoing data transportation (outside of the single AWS region), which in most cases are relatively low due to inherent data size reductions and incremental backups.
Moreover, restoring data to a server from a backup repository by traditional methods is a long drawn out affair, which translates into hours (if not more) of downtime. AWS snapshot technology, on the other hand, allows you to recover a whole server or disk in a matter of minutes or seconds, even for large amounts of data. Learn how EBS volume backup and restoration works.
5 Additional Differences
As mentioned above, traditional backup solutions generally have a significant software footprint on your servers. The solution installation process is usually complicated and may require specific custom hardware and software drivers in your environment in order to initiate correctly. In AWS’ generic environment, however, you can simply create an account, then launch and configure your servers in just a few clicks by restoring the relevant images, or even of your complete stack by using CloudFormation. Deploying a backup solution starts by automating on top of AWS’ base building blocks. It is a much easier and faster way of implementing a well structured backup policy that can also be easily adjusted going forward.
2. Backup Management
Management covers a whole umbrella of tasks, which include defining policies, monitoring the health of backup processes and initiating a recovery process, all of which should be automated by your backup solution. Tasks such as configuring email notifications via traditional methods call for the use of a purpose-built email server. AWS’ native abilities, however, allow you to send push, SMS and email notifications to groups of people easily. Traditional solutions often offer the ability to write custom modules in order to support similar capabilities, but AWS functionality makes implementing controls and management a breeze.
3. The AWS APIs
Utilizing building blocks such as AMIs, EBS Snapshots, RDS volumes and Availability Zones (AZs) through AWS’ comprehensive APIs creates an efficient and effective way to automate fluent backup and DR solutions. In comparison, traditional solutions are generally adjusted to fit a specific on-premises environment, which reality has taught us will never be as effective as an IT infrastructure that has been built from the ground up to hold all of the required generic capabilities.
4. No More Tedious IT Tasks
Using cloud-native technology can spare a lot of expenses in different areas. For example, taking file replicas out of an EC2 instance and storing them in S3 or Glacier (which in traditional data centers requires the installation of an agent on every server), can result in the use of different agents (for various applications or OS). Needless to say, things can get very messy. Carrying out the same process via AWS APIs simplifies the entire implementation and in most cases, an agent is not needed. Within AWS, the backup process itself doesn’t “cost” any computing power or network resources from the running host, but is conducted using external resources.
5. The Cost/Performance Factor
We’ve already mentioned costs in this article, but I think that it is an important point. When it comes to traditional backup and recovery, how can an SMB pay $300K for a Symantec NetBackup 5330? As a result, SMBs usually have to compromise on their own robustness. Even enterprises reach budget limitations. With AWS, small IT organizations get access to the same quality of backup servers and solutions as enterprises. Deploying for both types of companies is less expensive than traditional solutions in order of magnitude.
CPM, A Native AWS Cloud Backup Solution
Cloud Protection Manager (CPM), is an enterprise-class backup and disaster recovery solution for the EC2 compute cloud. It is available as a service, and allows you to register multiple AWS accounts. You can configure policies and schedules to take automated snapshot backups. Additionally, it enables you to configure policies to remove old snapshots. CPM provides automated and regular backups using the features listed below:
- Flexible backup policies and schedules
- Consistent database backups for SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, MongoDB and more
- Instance and data recovery across AWS regions in seconds
- “Pull” and “Push” based alerts and notifications
- Application consistent backup
- Automated backup based on Tags
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