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As a measure to mitigate against catastrophes such as a malicious entity gaining full access to our AWS account and deleting everything, I am in the process of setting up offsite backups for our production database. We use PostgreSQL on AWS RDS. We have daily backups enabled on RDS.

I came up with the two following options:

1) (daily) Download of the database snapshot generated by RDS (though I'm not sure if this is scriptable or even possible)

2) (daily) Spin up a read replica and use pg_dump on that replica to backup the database

What would be the best way to achieve this?

If that's any help we already have a tool that does daily backups of our s3 buckets.

2 Answers 2

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One option you have is to copy your RDS snapshots to another AWS account. This is a commonly-used practice.

This can be done by:

  1. Sharing your RDS snapshot with your second AWS account.
  2. Copy ("pull") the RDS snapshot to the target account from the source account.
  3. Remove the sharing on the source snapshot.

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-rds-update-cross-account-snapshot-sharing/

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I also wanted an offsite backup of my AWS RDS, and the code, logs, etc. I do this by:

  • Doing a database export periodically (nightly at midnight, for me) into a given directory
  • Having Attic Backup back up that directory. This does a differential, compressed, de-duplicated backup. It keeps weekly, monthly, and yearly snapshots - that's configurable in case you have to roll back. I also back up my webroot and logs in the same way.
  • I then use a script that syncs the Attic backups off to Dropbox. You can also use BitTorrent Sync, FTP, or anything else you like.

I mean to document this all some time, but it's really pretty simple to work out.

2017 Update

I stopped using Attic as it's not under active development or support. I use Borg Backup for deduplicated backups, which is a fork of Attic.

The Borg backups are stored on my file system. I sync those files to AWS S3 using S3sync. If I was setting it up now I'd consider using S3FS to write the backups directly to S3, though S3FS isn't a full file system so it might not work so well for this case.

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