Backing Up Data Centre Hosted Data To AWS

Currently at work, we backup the majority of our critical on-premises data to Azure, with some local retention onsite, as the majority of restores are needed for data within the last week or so. This is done using a combination of Microsoft Azure Backup Services (MABS) and the standalone Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) software and agents.

In time the majority of the on-prem data is likely to move to the cloud, but this takes time, with various products and business functions to move, so for now we still have a large data set that we need to backup from our data centres. The cloud all this on-prem data is moving to is and will continue to be AWS, but the backups happen into Azure, for mainly historical reasons.

We started looking at whether we could move this from Azure to AWS to reduce complexity, simplify billing and potentially reduce cost, because as I said, a lot of our estate runs in AWS already. We fairly quickly found out that the actual “AWS Backup” solution doesn’t really cover on-premises data directly, and from there things started to get complicated.

So we looked at the various iterations of Storage Gateway, including file gateway and volume gateway.

Tape gateways are pretty much ruled out as we don’t have any enterprise backup software that will write to tape storage, so would incur additional cost to purchase licences for that.

File Gateway does most of what we need as we can write backup output from things like MSSQL or MySQL servers running on-prem, to the file gateway presented volume and have that written back into S3 and backed up from there. However, as this can’t be throttled in terms of bandwidth and we don’t have a direct connect available for this means we can’t risk annihilating our data centre egress bandwidth.

Volume gateways would do what we need in terms of being able to present storage to a VM that backups are written to, and that can then be throttled and sent into S3. From there we’d have to pick that data up and move that via AWS Backup into a proper backup with proper retention policies attached, however as this bills as EBS rather than S3 storage, when we priced all this out it worked out considerably more expensive than our current solution of backing up into Azure, which again, pretty much rules this out as option.

Now, if only Amazon would add an on-prem option for AWS Backup, we’d be laughing – oh well, we can dream.

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