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Should You Use Amazon's AWS Backup?

It’s all very well storing your data in the cloud, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about backup. It’s uncommon for cloud providers to automatically provide backup as part of their service and even if they do it’ll come with a cost.

Amazon AWS is a bit different thanks to a recent launch from Amazon of their own backup utility. No points for guessing its name: AWS Backup.

However, there are still lots of third-party vendors able to provide backup for Amazon AWS, including Druva, N2WS and Cloud Daddy.

The question is whether it’s best to stick with the in-house solution in AWS Backup or venture outside. The answer to that depends on your needs.

Perhaps the most crucial thing to assess is what can be backed up by the provider. If some of your resources can’t be backed up, it essentially renders that vendor useless. AWS Backup is able to look after Storage Gateway, Elastic File System, DynamoDB and more.

Application consistency is also something that shouldn’t be overlooked. AWS Backup uses snapshots, which support Volume Shadow Copy Service, which is great for those running Microsoft workloads. That said, if your business is running non-Microsoft workloads, you need to assess whether AWS Backup can give application-consistent backups.

Once the compatibility is determined, the next question is where the backups are stored. AWS Backup holds everything in up to 100 vaults, with each of those vaults handling up to 1 million recovery points. This is then all encrypted using Key Management Service.

There’s no doubting that the backups are secure, but they still exist within the Amazon cloud. If the entire cloud was taken down, both the primary data and the backup would be impacted. Of course, the likelihood of the entire Amazon AWS cloud being taken down is slim. Nevertheless, a targeted attack against a specific account is possible. If that account was to be compromised, everything inside is at risk.

That would be different to using a third-party vendor, where your primary data would be with Amazon and your backup would be elsewhere.

The cost will also need to come into it, as it always does – IT departments are notoriously stretched for budget, especially when it comes to things like storage and backup. Amazon AWS bills for the storage that the backup uses, so it might actually be more cost effective to shift that elsewhere.

Finally, what’s the point of considering backup without also considering recovery? Going with Amazon will offer you the full solution and you are probably more likely to get their full support through recovery than if that data was backed up elsewhere. You’ll also benefit from quicker speeds, since all that data will be in the Amazon cloud anyway and won’t have to move across servers.

That said, you might get more flexibility with other vendors, like being able to restore to Microsoft Azure. It could be worth that benefit, even if it means managing two separate systems.

Take a look at what’s available out there and compare it to Amazon AWS. Consider the needs of your business, based on the above, and you’ll be fine. The most important thing is that your data is backed up.


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