AWS Backup: A fully managed backup and restore service by Amazon Web Services

AWS Backup, Amazon Web Services’ latest addition to the long list of services it provides for their customers worldwide. AWS Backup is a fully managed service for backup and restore. It’s one of the biggest announcements Amazon Web Services have made after launching DocumentDB around 10 days ago. Let’s have a look at this new service which will help us to setup backup policies for Amazon EBS volumes, RDS databases, DynamoDB tables, EFS file systems, and AWS Storage Gateway volumes. Support for more services other than the ones mentioned is also planned.

At the time of writing this blog, AWS Backup is only available in US East(N.Virginia), US East(Ohio), US West(Oregon) and EU(Ireland) regions. We hope to see this service being rolled out in other regions soon.

Advantages of AWS Backup :

  1. Ease of handling backups; mainly because it’s automated with minimal manual intervention required.
  2. Daily, weekly and even monthly backups can be set up.
  3. The pricing model is the same as that of snapshots.
  4. App data in cloud and on-premises can be backed up in a common way (i.e., same backup policy for cloud data and Storage Gateway volumes).
  5. User-friendly console.

Having mentioned the features of AWS Backup, let’s have a look at other options we had till now for backing up our data :

  1. For EC2 AMIs, we have this option of ‘create image’ which saves the configured machine as a reusable AMI setup.
  2. For RDS, we had backup options were we set retention days of up to 35 days, where the backups.
  3. For EBS volume backups, we create snapshots of the volumes. For EBS volumes, we can also leverage the service Data Lifecycle Manager for setting up automated backing up of snapshots.

Alternatively, we also have an option of automating EC2 backup by using Lambda functions but for that to function, we need to make sure that the snapshots of root volumes are in shutdown state which is an inconvenience.

It’s interesting to note here that the pricing model for AWS Backup is the same as that of snapshots, though the newly supported EFS backups are charged at a per-GB rate. You can read more about the pricing structure for backups here. There will also be a per-GB data fee for data restore from EFS filesystems and DynamoDB filesystems.

Application data in the cloud and on-premises can now be backed up in a common way. That means we can apply the same backup policy to both AWS cloud resources and our on-premises data stored on Storage Gateway volumes. Backups of AWS Storage Gateway volumes are securely stored in the AWS cloud and are compatible with Amazon EBS, allowing you to restore your volumes to the AWS Cloud or to your on-premises environment.

Currently, cross-region functionality for backup is not available however Amazon says they have plans to launch that later this year. We checked out the AWS Backup console and it’s pretty straightforward. It’s easy to understand and can be configured with ease.

AWS Backup dashboard

The above image shows the window which you will see when you go to AWS Backup on the AWS management console. You need to click on that orange box which says Create Backup Plan which will lead you to another page as shown below :

Create backup plan

Here, you have the option to either build a new plan from scratch which will give you the freedom to configure the backup plan as per your requirement, or you can start from an existing plan with preset configurations. Another option is to create a plan using JSON script. After this step, where you create the backup rules and everything, we get to assign a resource to the backup plan we created, which is essentially the resource from where the backup is taken.

Assign resource for backup

By default, the backup data is stored in S3 buckets. You can check all the details of completed backup/restore jobs and backup vaults from the side panel as shown below:

Side Panel of the AWS Backup dashboard

One of the few limitations of AWS Backup is that cross-region functionality is not available right now.

Please do try this new service and let us know in the comments about your experience with AWS Backup.