Ensuring Data Protection & Business Continuity through AWS Disaster Recovery Strategies

Data Protection through AWS Disaster Recovery | Umbrella Infocare

IT failures, ranging from server data corruption and data center failures to cyber-attacks, have the potential to severely disrupt business operations, leading to revenue loss and reputation damage. According to an IT Outage Impact Study conducted on 300 global IT leaders, “96% of global IT decision-makers have encountered at least one instance of outage over the past three years”. The study uncovered that companies experiencing frequent outages and blackouts face significantly higher costs, amounting to “16 times more” than companies with lower instances of downtime. 

To ensure business continuity and protect critical company data, having a robust disaster recovery (DR) strategy is paramount. The cloud has revolutionized the way we approach disaster recovery, offering scalable and cost-effective solutions. With AWS Cloud’s robust infrastructure and services, organizations can establish effective disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity and minimize downtime in the face of disruptions.  

Exploring Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery Options 

The Disaster Recovery options within AWS can be generally characterized into four approaches, ranging from affordable and straightforward backup options to more intricate strategies involving the utilization of multiple active regions. The first is the backup and restore approach, which is cost-effective and straightforward. Next, active/passive strategies involve using one active site (such as an AWS Region) to host the workload while keeping a passive site (another AWS Region) for recovery, only activating it during a failover event.  

For well-architected, highly available workloads affected by a single physical data center disruption, a backup and restore approach may suffice. However, if a disaster extends beyond a single data center to an entire AWS Region or if regulatory requirements demand it, options like Pilot Light, Warm Standby, or Multi-Site Active/Active should be considered. These strategies offer greater resilience and enable rapid recovery in such scenarios. 

Key Factors for Disaster Recovery Planning 

RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) are two important parameters in disaster recovery planning as they help organizations minimize downtime, and data loss, and ensure prompt recovery for uninterrupted business operations.

RTO (Recovery Time Objective) refers to the maximum acceptable downtime after a disaster, specifying the target time for recovery and system restoration. It determines how quickly operations should be resumed. 

RPO (Recovery Point Objective) defines the maximum tolerable data loss after a disaster. It represents the point in time to which data must be recovered to minimize the amount of potentially lost or reprocessed data. 

Pro Tip: Regular assessment and testing of your disaster recovery strategy are crucial to ensure its effectiveness. AWS Resilience Hub can be used to validate and track the resilience of your AWS workloads, including meeting recovery point objective (RPO and recovery time objective (RTO) targets.  

AWS Disaster Recovery Strategies 

1) Backup and Restore Approach 

The backup and restore approach is an effective method to protect against corruption or data loss. It involves backing up data from your system to the AWS cloud and restoring it based on the defined Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Typically, it is employed to address data loss or corruption, but it can also help mitigate the lack of redundancy in a single Availability Zone (AZ) during regional disasters. Unless the infrastructure is deployed using infrastructure as code (IaC) with services like the AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK), this approach carries a potential risk of longer recovery times.  

AWS Services used: 

Amazon EC2 instances 

Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS)  

Amazon DynamoDB tables 

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS)  

Databases (including Amazon Aurora databases) 

AWS Storage Gateway  

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server and Amazon FSx for Lustre 

Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) file systems 

2) Pilot Light Approach 

The Pilot Light architecture is a cost-efficient disaster recovery strategy that maintains a minimal version of the production environment in AWS. Critical components, including databases and servers, are replicated in standby mode, ready to be scaled up instantly in the event of a disaster. Data is reproduced between regions, ensuring redundancy, whereas the core workload infrastructure is consistently provisioned with active backup and replication resources. Application servers remain switched off until testing or disaster recovery activation. This approach significantly reduces costs as most systems are inactive until a disaster occurs. Leveraging services like Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) and Amazon EBS snapshots, the pilot light method enables quick recovery and deployment of critical components. It offers greater convenience and reduces the recovery time compared to the backup-and-restore strategy. 

AWS Services used: 

Amazon RDS read replicas 

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) Replication 

Amazon DynamoDB global tables 

Amazon Aurora global databases 

Global Datastore for Amazon ElastiCache for Redis 

Amazon DocumentDB global clusters 

3) Warm Stand-By Approach 

By employing an advanced disaster recovery strategy, this scenario takes the Pilot Light approach to the next level, achieving nearly instantaneous recovery time. A fully functional version of your workload is continuously running in the scaled-down Disaster Recovery region, ensuring the availability of critical systems. During a recovery event, these systems can be rapidly scaled up, enabling swift restoration of operations with minimal downtime. It’s important to note that hosting costs may increase for larger backup instances, but the benefits of fast recovery make it a compelling option for organizations prioritizing business continuity. 

AWS Services used: 

Amazon EC2 instances 

Amazon ECS tasks 

Amazon Aurora replicas 

Amazon DynamoDB throughput 

Multi-Site Active/Active 

In this disaster recovery scenario, the workload is distributed across several AWS Regions, ensuring active traffic serving from each region. AWS provides a replica of your on-premises infrastructure within its cloud environment. In the event of a disaster, all traffic seamlessly shifts to AWS, and the infrastructure scales up to handle the workload efficiently. This configuration, also known as a hot standby, offers minimal Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) while requiring careful consideration of the associated costs of running multiple virtual systems concurrently. 

AWS Services used: 

Amazon DynamoDB global tables 

Aurora global database 

Object access control lists (ACLs) 

AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) 

AWS CloudFormation 

Ensure Business Continuity with Umbrella Infocare AWS Disaster Recovery Solution  

Partner with Umbrella Infocare, one of the premier AWS Partners to leverage your expertise in disaster recovery planning and achieve high availability for your organization. Our potent team of experts will help you identify your requirements, build a tailored disaster recovery plan, and test its effectiveness to ensure minimal downtime and meet your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) targets. 

Rest assured that your data and systems will be safeguarded with robust security measures throughout the recovery process. Prepare your organization for unforeseen events and ensure business continuity by partnering with Umbrella Infocare today!