By Ruby Nahal, Senior Engineer
Pretty much everyone agrees that IAAS and SAAS is the future for IT as more and more traditional infrastructure is being converted into cloud infrastructure, and more and more businesses are choosing SAAS over in house applications.
As such, there may be less stress imposed on the backups for infrastructure housed in these cloud offerings (Amazon web services, Azure). Yes, the cloud offerings do give us the luxury of scalability, flexibility, and redundancy.
That does not, however, take away the necessity of having a proper backup solution in place.
Some of the services within these cloud offerings are offered as a fully managed solution. For example, AWS offers RDS which is the fully managed by AWS. But there will still be areas in your cloud hosted infrastructure that will need to be backed up using solutions other than what is offered by AWS out-of-the-box.
We have been pondering over that question ourselves and have reached the conclusion that there is not one cookie cutter solution to this situation, but instead the solutions will have to be based on the needs of each infrastructure, as they are all different. For example, an environment may consist of RDS servers or Citrix Xenapp servers that are fully identical along with Citrix storefront servers and NetScaler gateways. It may also consist of Windows based domain controllers, file servers, and application servers. There may also be databases hosted on RDS.
Now to have a fully backed up and protected infrastructure in this scenario, the following may be one of the possible solutions.
1. An AMI can be created for one of RDS or Xenapp servers in the pool after each session as these servers are most probably stateless in order to fire up a server instantly from the AMI in case of a failed server. We can do the same for the storefront servers as well.
2. For the NetScaler gateways, since it is an AWS marketplace appliance we may have to use the inbuilt configuration backup.
3. For the RDS databases, since they are fully managed by AWS, restoration is easy.
4. For the other Windows based servers we may use a third party utility that has the ability to back up to AWS S3. S3 bucket destination can then be replicated to another region for disaster recovery.
The above is just one of the example. There may be more than one way to achieve the same goal of having the assurance that your cloud hosted infrastructure is highly available and fully recoverable in case of a failure. Feasibility, compatibility, and cost are a couple factors that can influence the decision on the solution.
In our company, we recognize the importance of having these backups in place and can help you customize the solution according to your needs.