The importance of regularly testing your AWS DR strategy

AWS DR strategy

Businesses are now using AWS cloud to enable faster disaster recovery of their critical IT applications without incurring the additional costs of on-premise infrastructure. One of the many benefits of AWS cloud is that it supports a number of disaster recovery scenarios from “pilot light”, to “hot standby”. AWS cloud offers a range of cloud-based disaster recovery services that enable the rapid recovery of your IT infrastructure and data. In this article, we will explain what you need to consider when planning your AWS DR strategy, including the frequency of testing, the types of backups you are going to require and explain how CloudRanger can help to improve your AWS DR strategy with automated testing.

The difference between backup and disaster recovery

By taking regular incremental backups of your Amazon EC2 and RDS resources, this provides you with a protection method intended to take copies of your data which you can use later to restore your data to the same state from a previous point in time, in most cases on the same environment. While taking regular backups is geared towards helping you recover from data corruption or service disruptions, disaster recovery is a something completely different.

The main aim of an AWS DR strategy is to provide organizations with stable and easily recoverable secondary environment in case something happens to their primary production environments.

A disaster recovery plan (DRP) should allow you to recover your whole infrastructure or individual servers if required. It can be based on your overall AWS cloud backup strategy, but it will require more in-depth configuration to be able to quickly restore business-critical services. The final result should be a replica of your existing AWS cloud environment, ready to take over if your primary production environment is not able to function for whatever reason.

Don’t ignore the importance of testing your AWS DR strategy

One of the biggest challenges with maintaining an AWS DR strategy is the lack of testing and verification of DR plans. In this situation, you will have no idea as to whether or not you’ll actually be able to recover from a disaster and whether your RTO and RPO is validInfrequent testing of backup environments can put your organization at substantial risk in the event of an outage or disaster. Creating an effective DRP should be an essential part of your business continuity planning process.

Often, problems can arise because organizations assume that a third party provider offers a level of reliability that doesn’t exist. Businesses sometimes underestimate the effect that a few hours of downtime can have. Therefore, it is advisable to take the time to identify mission-critical applications running on AWS cloud and ask what happens if those applications go down? For organizations that fully depend on AWS cloud, you may want to set up cross-region or cross-account failover options so you can be prepared for any disaster situation in your source region.

The benefits of automated disaster recovery testing

With our existing automated Amazon EC2 backup system in place, our new automated disaster recovery (ADR) testing functionality allows you to test that any Amazon Machine Image (AMI) backups you are taking actually work successfully in practice. Our ADR testing ensures that all backup and data protection processes are working correctly, and we provide you with added peace of mind that you’ll be prepared for any disaster situation.

Choosing your testing frequency

We all know the saying, practice makes perfect’. For organizations with a relatively new disaster recovery plan, weekly or monthly testing of your AMIs may be beneficial so you can find holes in your plan to see where and how it can be improved. Any changes should enhance the plan and provide a more workable recovery process. When testing your disaster recovery plan you should consider scheduled and unscheduled tests for both partial and total disasters. With automated testing of your AWS DR strategy, this will provide you with an efficient, cost-effective process to ensure business continuity.

Evaluating your test results

The testing process should provide feedback to the teams responsible for disaster recovery within your organization to ensure that the plan is adequate. The team, should then review test results and analyze recommendations from various stakeholders regarding improvements or modifications to the plan in terms of RTO and RPO. It is essential to evaluate test results, including the time to perform various actions. The results of the regular automated testing will most likely lead to ongoing changes to the plan.

About CloudRanger

CloudRanger is the easy to use, enterprise-ready backup and disaster recovery platform for AWS cloud. Its easy-to-use graphical interface offers users the ability schedule backup policies to and server resources to save time and money. We provide an overall view of the entire server system to give users the most control over their cloud while delivering enhanced disaster recovery management. CloudRanger is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Technology Partner. Clients include Rockwell Collins, Version 1,  NASCAR and Warner Chappell.

Looking for more information?

For more information on our automated disaster recovery testing functionality for Amazon EC2 resources, or to arrange a demo of the functionality, please contact us at support@cloudranger.com

 

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Steven

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