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If I enable termination prevention, do I need to have a backup strategy in place at all? I have Windows /w SQL Server on a ROOT backed EBS EC2. I can NEVER lose my server configuration or database data. Do I need to take snapshots or? It's very confusing from the documentation, Amazon suggests, I don't need to do anything!

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Always backup! Unless the data is not important to you. Not talking about full snapshots, you should know what you really don't want to get lost. –  Marcell Fülöp Feb 27 '13 at 0:21
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Recommended:

  1. Create regular EBS snapshots of the EBS volume. This will not only increase the durability of the EBS volume itself but also be available as a backup for restoring older copies of files if the data on your live volume gets corrupted, accidentally deleted, or otherwise damaged. Note that your snapshots would preferably keep the file system consistent and you'll want to watch out for potential impact on the performance of the EBS volume while the snapshot is being created.

  2. Depending on your architecture needs, you may want to create one or more alternative backups of your data including things like: Streaming changes to a secondary server for fast failover; archives to S3 in other AWS regions.

  3. Create regular backups of your data to one or more providers outside of AWS. Since your AWS account is a single point of failure, you want to protect against the loss or compromise of this account.

  4. Regularly test restoring from backups to make sure everything will work when you really need it.

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So should I snapshot my whole EBS root?, Then maybe have a SQL agent or similar doing daily sql backups? I don't need to bother with AMI's? –  Baconbeastnz Feb 27 '13 at 0:40
    
I recommend using a separate EBS volume for data, but you should create snapshots of all volumes where durability matters to you, even if the snapshot is not your primary backup process. –  Eric Hammond Feb 27 '13 at 16:47
    
I recommend having a documented/scripted procedure for creating and configuring new instances. The creation of an AMI is ok if you need to reduce the startup time of an instance, but again I recommend using documented/scripted procedures to create that AMI. –  Eric Hammond Feb 27 '13 at 20:54
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If you care about your data, you back it up. Period, end of discussion.

And, by the way, Amazon has irretrievably lost customer data before.

Hello,

A few days ago we sent you an email letting you know that we were working on recovering an inconsistent data snapshot of one or more of your Amazon EBS volumes. We are very sorry, but ultimately our efforts to manually recover your volume were unsuccessful. The hardware failed in such a way that we could not forensically restore the data.

What we were able to recover has been made available via a snapshot, although the data is in such a state that it may have little to no utility...

If you have no need for this snapshot, please delete it to avoid incurring storage charges.

We apologize for this volume loss and any impact to your business.

Sincerely,

Amazon Web Services, EBS Support

This message was produced and distributed by Amazon Web Services LLC, 410 Terry Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98109-5210

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EBS volume failure is neither unusual nor unexpected. EBS volumes have a published failure rate and customers are expected to protect against data loss through snapshots, redundancy, and backups. –  Eric Hammond Feb 27 '13 at 16:59
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