AWS EC2 Recoverability

logo1.pngDuring VeeamON 2017 held recently in New Orleans, Louisiana, Veeam Software announced a new feature called Veeam Availability for AWS (Amazon Web Services); specifically,  availability for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Many customers visiting this blog are already asking more about this new feature.

I will summarize what I know about this new feature, and what I think you can expect from it when it is released later this year.

Reading the Veeam announcement, we understand that Veeam Software has partnered with N2WS, a startup company.  N2WS has developed software for the cloud called Cloud Protection Manager, or CPM. CPM is software that customers can deploy on AWS as a virtual appliance to protect AWS EC2 using the AWS Elastic Block Store snapshot.

AWS EBS Snapshot

Like many snapshot technologies out there, AWS EBS (Elastic Block Store) snapshot is a point-in-time snapshot. The capture Snapshot takes is a copy of the production data, incorporating an incremental backup; this means that at every new snapshot captured, only the changes are captured and saved in the new block. The diagram below illustrates the process for taking an incremental backup.

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CPM Architecture Simplified

CPM is a Linux-based software appliance, and it uses AWS APIs to access and manage AWS snapshots, RDS instances, and clusters. By default, the CPM works at the API level to initiate snapshots; it does not require access to the EC2 workload. If an application quiescence needed on the EC2, the CPM thin backup agent can be used, or you can use your own script to manage the application consistency backup. Managing the CPM can be done through the CPM Web/Management server.

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You can set the following backup targets to store your EC2 backup data when performing a backup using CPM:

  • EC2 instance
  • Independent EBS volume
  • RDS databases
  • RDS Aurora cluster
  • Redshift Clusters

Veeam-N2WS Integration Assumption

We understand from the Veeam communication that the integration of these services will likely be based on a connector running directly from the Veeam console and connecting to the CPM on the AWS. This allows Veeam to communicate with N2WS to copy, backup, or download the snapshots created by the CPM appliance, also stored on S3, and to save them in the Veeam Repository.

Is Veeam Availability for AWS is a Necessity

If we are reading the proposals outlined above correctly, then we could be forgiven for thinking that the new solution announced is no more than a backup for a backup product that already exists. However, before you start thinking that’s all there is, let’s stop and think about what Veeam Software is all about; it is about recovery, not just backup. Did you know that Veeam offers 57 ways to recover your data?

So why do we need Veeam Availability for AWS? The simple answer is recoverability, not just availability. When this feature is released, Veeam software will allow its customers to use an agentless backup of the EC2 workload using N2WS CPM integration, which can then store the backup on Veeam Backup Repository. This repository can be located on your premises, or on a different cloud, either private or public.

Note: On my blog Availability vs. Recoverability, I explained why you must backup your data, even when it stored on the cloud.  Now, the same explanation will apply for those workloads hosted in the cloud.

Conclusion 

On this blog,  we tried to consolidate all that is known about the new Veeam Availability for AWS announcement. I’m excited about this new feature and believe that this will simplify the recovery process of your EC2 workload. When you start using this feature, you will no longer rely on the good faith of AWS for the accessibility and availability of your workload and stored data. After you have stored your backup in the Veeam backup repository, you will be able to use the following Veeam recovery methods:

  • Veeam Application explorers
  • Direct restore to Azure
  • Instance recovery
  • On-premise recovery
  • and more

And finally, we will keep an eye on the release date of this new feature, and after we have access to the beta version, we promise to take you through the procedures of EC2 recoverability.

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