What are the Best Practices for AWS Disaster Recovery Planning?

    Everything fails from time to time, even the most reliable systems. That is why in order to secure business continuity, data protection and fast server recovery, one should have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place.
    Tips on how to develop an AWS Disaster Recovery Plan:
    • Make a business impact analysis
    • Specify the RTO & the RPO
    • Place your company within the AWS spectrum
    • Hire a professional team
    • Test the plan

Nobody can be 100% sure that their workloads are completely protected, even the master of the cloud computing, the AWS. In 2017, S3, the Amazon hosting web service, went through the major disaster. It had been keeping servers offline for up to 4 hours. Funny enough, the service which protects all-size companies’ data, has shut down because of a human error.

This story is a good follow up to our main theme, Disaster Recovery Planning with AWS. This blog might be useful for any company that owns the IT infrastructure. It doesn’t matter which storing method you prefer to use: either on-premise or cloud has to be protected. 

What is AWS Disaster Recovery Plan and Why Does it Matter?

AWS disaster recovery plan consists of specific instructions on how to return the servers flowing in case if some issues disrupt the operating system. One might be sceptical about planning the disaster recovery until something happens. The outage can be caused by the whole bunch of reasons: climate change, cyber attack, ransomware, even the bad cooling system. For this reason, it’s better to have a precise plan of how to survive the disaster without losing critical data, your customers and money.

Here are 5 benefits you can gain with a recovery plan:

  • Secured business continuity
  • Essential data protection
  • A fast server recovery
  • Effective cost-saving
  • Good reputation among customers

How to Develop the AWS Disaster Recovery Plan: Cheat Sheet

Developing a recovery plan can be a time-consuming task, but it’s worth it. This cheat sheet will give a quick general knowledge of what steps to make.

Make a business impact analysis

Business people discussing strategy with a financial analyst

Source: AWS

Business impact analysis predicts possible outcomes of a disaster. It allows to see how work disruptions can affect the data, reputation and finances. Such a report shows the most critical places that must be protected in the first place.

Specify the RTO and the RPO


Source: Cloudranger

RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and the RPO (Recovery Point Objective) are the necessary elements of the disaster recovery planning. RTO is the time your company will be offline after the outage happens. RPO is the time worth of data loss. If two hours of data loss makes you panic, then it would be wise to pay more for maintenance and regular backups. On the other hand, if the downtime of 24 hours isn’t critical, then consider choosing a cheaper option.

The possible options of data protection are described in the next section below.

Place Your Company within the AWS Spectrum

AWS Spectrum

Source: AWS

Based on individually defined RTO and RPO, it’s easier to understand how complex the DR support might be.

Amazon Web Services disaster recovery plan can be chosen between four options: backup and restore, pilot light, warm standby and hot standby.

Backup & Restore

Tape libraries or on-premises storage are traditional storage solutions, that are not effective anymore. The International Data Corporation has estimated, that by the year 2025, the amount of data will expand to 175 zettabytes. Cloud infrastructure is more durable, cost-efficient and easy-to-use solution. Amazon S3 and AWS Storage Gateway are the reliable tools for this type of protection.

Pilot Light

Pilot light is another kind of data loss prevention. Critical data is constantly replicated to the cloud, whereas the standby system is turned on. Some parts of IT infrastructure are turned off and used only while testing. The standby system is like a small flame, ready to heat a whole structure when the recovery begins.

Warm standby

Pilot light version allows the most critical parts of the system to be always on. Warm standby makes the copy of the whole system running in the cloud and reduces the RTO and RPO to the matter of minutes.

Hot standby

This DR solution is the most reliable one. It uses the multi-site, where the one-to-one infrastructure copy is running. The process is happening in another region. For example, if your source servers shut down because of high outside temperatures in Miami, the copy will successfully operate in another place.

Hire a Team

You should have the professional that will develop the DR plan properly. Crisis management experts and business continuity specialists are crucial. Besides, you can use some AWS tools as the Personal Health Dashboard to get the information about how your app is working or when the updates come. AWS Health tools will notify you when some issues attack the application.

Moreover, the team can recognize the connection between your core infrastructure and smaller elements. Therefore, unnoticed yet important parts will be included in the DR plan.

Test the Plan

The plan can’t be implemented without the testing. Create the environment, simulate a disaster, and see how the system reacts. It’s better to prove everything, before the real outage shuts down the infrastructure. The AWS partner CloudRanger provides automated testing. It can be set to take place with some frequency.

Additional Tips on Disaster Recovery Planning

If you need more information, look through these three small tips. They will deepen your knowledge about the disaster recovery planning.

Use Another Region as the Airbag

AWS storage partners are S3 and Dynamo DB services. They have gained popularity because of their durability and easy interfaces. They automatically replicate your data to other places within the region. However, the natural disasters such as hurricanes can shut down the whole region. So, we recommend you to copy the data to multiple regions.

Know the Difference Between AWS Backup and Disaster Recovery

The best storage and backup solutions won’t save you unless you have a disaster recovery plan and know how to access and extract the data from the AWS cloud.

Turn to the Third-Party Developers

AWS has many reliable partners and tools for the app maintenance. Besides, there are free online technical courses. However, the professional planning of the disaster recovery requires a third-party help and assistance.

The modern world is full of dangers to your business. As you already know, the disaster can be caused by anything from a typo to a destroying hurricane. It’s important to spend a lot of time discussing your time and point objectives, choosing the right storage solution and developing a reliable AWS disaster recovery plan.

Choose the Support Company

To save time and let your team focus on other tasks, turn to Romexsoft, the company which knows all the AWS Backup and Disaster Recovery Best Practices. It will provide the end-to-end 24/7 AWS cloud support and let you relax as your data is protected.

Ostap Demkovych
Ostap Demkovych Delivery Manager, Romexsoft
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