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AWS disaster recovery service now available

AWS disaster recovery services now feature a first-party option with AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery alongside a new Recycling Bin service for data snapshot recovery.

AWS expanded its cloud platform services with a new disaster recovery service and snapshot recovery tools.

AWS debuted AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery (AWS DRS) just prior the company's re:Invent 2021 conference. The service enables the recovery of applications on AWS cloud infrastructure.

But the AWS DRS service is just a starting point for disaster recovery, according to both analysts and consultants. It follows the hyperscaler's model of providing cloud services that are "a mile wide but an inch deep," according to Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

"This is the lowest level of protection you can get," Staimer said. "Anything other than a hardware failure, you're not protected. It's cheap, but you get what you pay for."

At its annual user conference, the company also announced a handful of other data backup and protection services during the event, including Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) Snapshots Archive and Recycle Bin for EBS Snapshots.

In-house DR from AWS

AWS DRS provides a unified process for drills, recovery and failbacks. User selected source servers are backed up to EBS storage and AWS compute for replication. Recovery options include server states or an application's prior operational copy.

AWS said the service can support databases such those from Oracle as well as MySQL and SQL Server along with enterprise applications from vendors like SAP.

This is the lowest level of protection you can get.
Marc StaimerPresident, Dragon Slayer Consulting

The AWS DRS is accessed from the AWS Management Console and can integrate with other AWS services such as AWS CloudTrail for risk management, AWS Identity and Access Management, and Amazon CloudWatch for application and infrastructure monitoring.

The service is priced at an hourly rate of $0.028 per source server and is currently available in only a handful of AWS regions in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Krista Macomber, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group, warned the feature set of DR services from vendors specializing in protection tend to outpace those from hyperscalers such as AWS.

"The backup and DR services provided by the cloud providers today remain limited compared to third-party offerings available on the market … when it comes to the full roster of capabilities that are required," she said.

Despite the appeal of relying on a hyperscaler's DR for ease of use and cost savings, Macomber said organizations that choose to use AWS DRS should consider investing in additional, third-party services and features for their disaster recovery plan, such as failover regions.

"There's definitely going to be a bit of a 'push and pull' … between backup and DR services provided by the public cloud providers and third-party offerings," she said.

AWS said its new DR service is based on CloudEndure's disaster recovery and backup service, which is still sold by AWS. For unsupported regions or unsupported operating systems, AWS suggested they continue to rely on CloudEndure for DR.

Staimer said AWS DRS is akin to Microsoft Azure's similarly underpowered DR services compared to third-party DR vendors such as Persistent Systems' Intelligent Cyber Resilience, which he noted offers additional air gapping features, or HPE's Zerto.

New snapshot archive Recycle Bin

AWS also announced a new storage tier and backup service for users looking to flash freeze their Amazon EBS snapshots or protect snapshots from accidental deletion.

These new features, announced during re:Invent, include Amazon EBS Snapshots Archive and Recycle Bin for EBS Snapshots.

Amazon EBS Snapshots Archive is a new storage tier available for EBS snapshots, which need to be kept for longer hold times according to regulations and compliance laws.

AWS charges $0.0125 per GB of data stored in the new archive tier, compared to $0.05 per GB for storage in the active tier. Archive snapshots must be retained for a minimum of 90 days or will face prorated charges at the Active tier price. Archive snapshots also have a charge of $0.03 per GB when data is retrieved.

The new Recycle Bin for EBS Snapshots offers another level of protection and verification for snapshots before permanent deletion. The service retains immutable versions of recently deleted snapshots either through user action or automated policies set by the organization before fully deleting snapshots.

This last stop before a final deletion is controlled by a new user role created in the AWS Identity and Access Management service, which enables a designated user to set deletion policies and restore files sent to the Recycling Bin.

Snapshots stored in the Recycling Bin are billed at the Standard snapshot storage pricing tier.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living in the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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