Cloud Case Study: Automate backups for hundreds of EC2 instances

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Tom DeBlende of Cloudar
"Backup is one of the most important services one can offer in a managed services model. It can be critical to the survival of a company. As a service provider you cannot be placed in a situation where you are unable to provide a customer with a restore."
– Tom De Blende, Team Lead Managed Services at Cloudar

Cloud Case Study: Cloudar's Challenge

“Backup is one of the most important services one can offer in a managed services model”, says Tom De Blende, Cloud Architect at Cloudar. “It can be critical to the survival of a company. As a service provider you cannot be placed in a situation where you are unable to provide a customer with a restore.”

“Additionally, companies don’t want to invest too much time and resources in managing this service.” De Blende says “The biggest challenge Cloudar encountered in managing cloud backup and disaster recovery was the 3 or 4 different ways to backup systems: using open source software on EC2 instance, using Ansible, or using Labmda.”

Companies don’t want to manage all these different backup systems and keep them up to date. They want a centralized solution with reporting, alerting, and audit trails in place as well as properly implemented features like advanced retention policies.

To have a centralized solution with reporting, alerting, and audit trails in place as well as features like advanced retention policies.
Open source trial and error

Before using Cloud Protection Manager (CPM) cloudar relied on different open source solutions to automate backups, including Ansible and Lambda. After evaluating other offerings, Cloudar decided CPM was the best fit for their needs.

Previous backup solutions compared to Cloud Protection Manager

While providing significant value in other areas, the various solutions cloudar used previously lacked proper retention support and needed to be reworked for version upgrades. Previous solutions did not provide the full set of capabilities cloudar required.

Comparison table

“It allows the company to focus on its business.”

Tom De Blende

Results after implementing CPM

Cloudar is able to manage all of their customers by leverages CPM’s features:

Policy-based backups

Scheduled backups of hundreds of EC2 instances

Multiple users, roles, and accounts

Support for multi-tenancy with self-service options

CLI and API

Automated backup policies with tagging & CLI

Customers are now also able to utilize self-service options to access the CPM console and perform file restores on their own. With CPM in place Cloudar looks forward to implementing more CPM capabilities such as cross-region disaster recovery.

De Blende lists 4 primary benefits realized by using CPM:

  1. Centralized management for many AWS accounts
  2. SNS alerting
  3. Advanced retention policies
  4. Consistent backups using pre- and post-scripts and VSS

Paramount to implementing CPM was the ability to realize a robust and flexible backup solution as well as time savings and efficiency. Ease-of-management and ease-of-mind was the reason Cloudar chose CPM over other backup solutions. “It allows the company to focus on its business.” De Blende comments.

About Cloudar

Cloudar was built from the ground up around cloud architecture and offers solid cloud solutions for any type of business. The company designs, builds, and operates AWS environments that are both high in scale and availability demands. The company targets customers that require their expertise in the implementation of cloud solutions. Cloudar offers AWS consultancy and managed services, they also act as a cloud reseller.

Cloudar manages over 200 AWS accounts. They offer full managed services for many hundreds of instances.