AWS EC2 stands for Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud. It is one of the most popular services offered by AWS. An EC2 instance is simply a virtual server that organizations can request and provision in the Amazon public cloud. It offers on-demand, scalable computing capacity, and eliminates the need for any upfront investment in hardware and related maintenance duties. Organizations can launch as many AWS EC2 virtual servers as they need and can scale up or down when there is an increase or decrease in traffic.
How do you back up AWS EC2?
There are five ways to back up an AWS EC2 instance, or virtual server, on the Amazon public cloud:
Amazon Machine Images (AMI) — This provides a snapshot of the root file system and is useful for teams that want to create new instances that have the same configuration as the original.
EBS snapshots — If an instance is using an Elastic Block Store (EBS) volume, the team can back it up by creating a snapshot of it. EBS snapshots only capture data that has been written to that EBS volume, which means it could exclude any data cached by a particular application or operating system (OS).
AWS Backup — A fully managed backup service, it simplifies, centralizes, and automates backup and recovery of data across AWS EC2. Teams can create backup policies that automate backup schedules and data retention times according to their technology and business needs.
Manual backup — An organization can manually copy data from EC2 instances to a different location.
Third-party tools — Third-party tools designed to perform AWS backups are available that also offer features such as more granular backup and security controls, improved disaster recovery, and other advanced backup and recovery features.
What are the benefits of backing up AWS EC2 data?
Backing up AWS EC2 data regularly is critical for any organization or government agency that values business continuity. Backups should be implemented properly and reviewed often, so that if a disaster occurs, the business can minimize downtime with a reliable and tested solution.
Backups also allow teams to rapidly restore applications and data that has been deleted or otherwise corrupted. Additionally, backups are crucial for recovering from a ransomware attack or other cyber threat incident.
Other benefits of backing up AWS EC2 data include:
Meet service-level agreements (SLAs) with enterprise-grade AWS data protection.
Accelerate migrations, automate failover, and simplify archiving to AWS.
Minimize downtime and prevent data loss.
Satisfy and streamline compliance mandates.
Accelerate development and testing with copies or clones of production data.
Streamline application and data migrations to new regions or even new accounts.
Simplify versioning—view what data looked like at a certain point in time looking at an older backup.
What is the difference between AWS EC2 snapshot and backup?
AWS snapshots and backups are two terms often used interchangeably, but they represent two different ways of protecting data in the Amazon public cloud.
An AWS snapshot is a copy of an Amazon EBS volume for an EC2 instance taken at a specific point in time. This can become very costly, and limits storage and recovery options.
An AWS EC2 Backup is a more comprehensive and flexible copy of a cloud workload, offering reliable protection and ensuring fast and consistent recovery.
While snapshots and backups each have advantages, teams are typically advised to go with backups for longer-term protection of enterprise data.
Understanding the difference between AWS snapshots and true backups as well as using a leading third-party backup solution for cloud workloads can help organizations significantly save on backup capacity costs while improving data security and reliability.
Cohesity and AWS EC2 backup
In today’s data-driven world, many enterprises adopt a hybrid cloud strategy for flexibility to manage a wide variety of applications and data distributed across on-premises and public cloud environments. This commonly includes on-prem workloads and applications such as virtual machines (VMs), network attached storage (NAS), and databases—as well as many cloud workloads, like AWS EC2.
For protecting these physical, virtual, and cloud-based applications, enterprises often use multiple backup and disaster recovery point products. This approach has many challenges, including requiring specialized IT resources familiar with these siloed products. Disjointed offerings are also time-consuming and complex to manage, and can be expensive.
Cohesity provides a number of options for protecting AWS EC2 workloads to overcome these challenges and simplify backup and recovery for hybrid environments:
AWS snapshot — Cohesity DataProtect safeguards EC2 instances using native AWS snapshots and stores them in the same AWS account and region as the source EC2 instances.
Cohesity snapshot — Cohesity DataProtect protects EC2 instances by ingesting the backup data to an AWS region supported by the Cohesity DataProtect service. Cohesity snapshots provide immutable air-gapped backups with granular file- and folder-level recoveries.