Over the past few years, we’ve written several blog posts about various disaster recovery methods for your applications running atop of Cloud-A’s infrastructure. If you take a look at these various articles, which highlight software and tools to help you achieve your disaster recovery requirements, you’ll notice that there there is more than one way to skin this cat.
The method you use to backup and recover your applications and data should vary depending on the technical requirements of a given application and/or data store and your organization’s tolerance for downtime for that app or data store.
Let’s dig into three conceptual models for disaster recovery on Cloud-A. We’ve ranked these methods 1-5 by data resiliency, time to recover and cost.
We all know that backing up data is important. Whether it’s a corporate Windows file server, or our treasured family photos, we make sure that we can recover our data in the case of a hardware failure. Oddly enough, most folks tend to skip over their website data when considering their backup strategy.
Although WordPress is the most used CMS in the world, many users still struggle to find a good backup solution. Thankfully, using a combination of Cloud-A’s Bulk Storage and the popular Updraft Plus WordPress Backups plugin, automatically backing up and restoring your website is extremely easy and cost effective. This makes it an ideal solution for WordPress users of any skill level.
At Cloud-A, we have opted to allow our users to design their own backup strategies for their Cloud-A VMs, using whatever backup solution our users are comfortable with, since backups are not a one-size fits all solution. Application servers, database servers and file servers all have different uptime requirements, durability, and loss acceptance. With that said, we quite often get asked what backup software we see used most often on our Cloud through interactions with our users. Here is a list of backup software tried and tested by our users to help you decide on the best backup strategy for your Cloud-A stacks.
There are now two ways to authenticate your Cloud-A Bulk Storage account to CloudBerry products based on your workflows and requirements. The first method is Keystone authentication, which is the legacy method. Authenticating this way. The Cloud-A, CloudBerry Lab partnership has been great for our clients, providing a tried and tested use-case for backups of on-premise or Cloud-A hosted Windows servers (and soon to be Linux!)
You will notice a few changes in the Cloud-A/CloudBerry relationship. First of all, most CloudBerry OpenStack products now have a branded connector for Cloud-A. No longer will you have to choose the generic OpenStack account.
There are now two ways to authenticate your Cloud-A Bulk Storage account to CloudBerry products based on your workflows and requirements. The first method is Keystone authentication, which is the legacy method. Authenticating this way will allow for read and write access to all of the Bulk Storage containers in your Cloud-A Account.
With the release of Bulk Storage container keys, users can now authenticate to specific containers, rather than all of the containers in your account. Authenticating this way is ideal for service providers who manage backups for multiple customers. Instead of authenticating to the service provider’s Bulk Storage account where you would have access to all of the account’s containers, you authenticate to a specific client’s container.
Veeam is a popular enterprise backup solution for on-premise virtualized infrastructure, specifically for vSphere and Hyper-V environments. We often get users asking if they can point their Veeam backups directly to Cloud-A Bulk Storage, and while it is possible, it requires some additional software.
CloudBerry Backup can be used for backing up your Veeam backup data into Cloud-A Bulk Storage, which gives you an extra level of confidence that your important files are safe, offsite on 3X redundant storage. Here is how you can use CloudBerry Backup for backing up Veeam files to Cloud-A.
We have been seeing increasing demand for our object storage product, Bulk Storage over the past few months, which is exciting for us because we think that object storage is a phenomenal storage solution for many specific applications. We wanted to provide our followers with an overview of object storage technology and highlight some effective use cases. The biggest hurdle we see to adoption of our Bulk Storage product is an understanding of how exactly the technology can be used. As a result of this, a big portion of our job at Cloud-A is to play matchmaker and point users in the direction of existing third party software solutions that integrate with object storage.
A couple of months ago we posted about CloudBerry explorer and some basics on how to set it up with Cloud-A Bulk Storage. Since then we have announced our partnership with CloudBerry after months of rigorous testing to ensure that CloudBerry’s OpenStack products integrate seamlessly with our Bulk Storage.
Check out our latest video tutorial on how to use CloudBerry Explorer with Cloud-A Bulk Storage. This solution provides a very simple interface for your Bulk Storage containers, allowing even non-technical end users to copy and move files from their local systems to the cloud.
Last week we launched a revolutionary new product at Cloud-A that we designed to dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of instance snapshots on Openstack cloud platforms. We built this product based on feedback we have received over the past year from our users and partners who demanded more efficient snapshotting.
There are a couple of inherent challenges with the default OpenStack’s snapshot capability out of the box including:
1. Snapshotting a VM requires the VM to be paused temporarily. Depending on how large a VM is, the pause could be anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes – which is unacceptable for a mission critical server.
2. OpenStack’s standard configuration is that the compute node hosting the VM being snapshotted also performs the snapshot operation. This can create what is called the “noisy neighbour effect,” where the process of snapshotting a VM can have a negative performance impact on another tenant’s VM.
With this new technology we’ve developed, the compute resources are isolated and allocated to tenant VMs from the compute resources that serve VM snapshots, increasing the speed of snapshots and decreasing the pause time of a VM by an average of 74%, as well as preventing the noisy neighbour effect.
This new product is now live on Cloud-A and available at no additional cost.
Today’s post is not to be confused with our post from back in May titled: “Backups With Snapshots” in fact, think of this as an extension of it. Snapshots provide you with a point in time image of your server which gives you system redundancy as you can easily and quickly spin up a new instance based on any of your saved snapshots. With all of that said, there are a few things to consider when using snapshots of your server as your sole backup process.
The server that is being snapshotted will be paused temporarily during the snapshot process. While this pause time can be minimal, it might not be ideal for a server providing mission critical services. Because a snapshot of an server instance includes the whole system (operating system and data) the process can take between 1 and 10 minutes to complete depending on the total consumed disk space of the server instance before your server is resumed.
There is a cost associated with storing server snapshots. Server snapshots cost $0.15 per GB per month, billed for as long as the snapshot exists. You will only be charged for the compressed size of your snapshot — not the provisioned disk size.
Solution: Volume Snapshots
If the downtime and cost of server snapshots is not ideal for your application, the answer might just be using volumes and volume snapshots.
With this method we recommend that users keep their operating system on the original disk space that is included with the instance and use volumes to store their data. This allows you to take snapshots of your volume for backups of critical data, rather than the entire instance, and avoid the downtime associated with server snapshots.
In the case of a server instance requiring restoration, your recovery is as easy as deleting the server instance, launching a new server instance, and mounting the last successful volume snapshot to it.
Another effective use case is when data is accidentally deleted by a user. You have the ability to mount a previous volume snapshot to a temporary server instance, recover the deleted data and migrate it back to the production server.
If you wanted to go a step further, you can continue to store a single snapshot of your standard image, so in a case of a server issue, you will be able to launch a new instance based on your image with all of your system preferences and server roles intact.
The nicest thing about volume snapshots? They are free! Cloud-A does not charge for the storage of any volume snapshots, making them a cost effective backup solution.
Since there is no cost to storing volume snapshots with Cloud-A, you can store as many old volume snapshots as you would like. As the snapshots begin to pile up, properly labeling them will become increasingly important so that you know which snapshot is which.
The frequency of how often you snapshot your volumes is dependant on your organization’s tolerance for data loss and/or downtime. An organization with zero tolerance for downtime might require a daily snapshot of their server volume to provide them with several point in time instances of that volume. A less mission critical server volume, like a test environment, or an organization with a greater tolerance for downtime, may only require weekly snapshots.
We have partners and customers who are using a number of different backup methods with our infrastructure today. This really speaks to the flexibility Cloud-A’s Infrastructure-as-a-service offering. At the end of the day, the best backup processes are the ones that are recoverable and volume snapshots provide you with a cost effective, recoverable backup solution. We urge you to test it out for yourself!