Amazon EBS Snapshot is an effective way for AWS customers to create point-in-time backups of various native workloads. However, users have to follow a manual process to create such backups. There are also a few limitations – such as the need to attach snapshots and also manually copy data using native formats. In some cases, users need to restart their machines to ensure that the backup has been created successfully.

This is where the new AWS Backup service gives us a much more effective way to create backups. AWS backup gives you a centralized backup console that lets you simplify the management and automation of backups. AWS Backup therefore adds more capabilities to the existing Snapshot tools of AWS. It can also backup different types of data beyond just EBS and EFS volumes – such as Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) instances, Storage Amazon Gateway volumes and Amazon DynamoDB tables to Amazon S3.

If customers have data that is rarely or almost never used (cold data), AWS Backup supports storage of such data to Amazon Glacier for a long-term archive service. Also, using Amazon Storage Gateway volumes, customers can back up on-premise data stores to S3.

The AWS Backup service is available now at no additional cost over what AWS charges for backups in its built-in Snapshot offerings. But EFS volumes will incur per-gigabyte charges for warm and cold storage. This is the only service enhancement carried out by AWS and there are no other new data transport methods.

The AWS Backup seems to be a very effective way to automate backups on AWS, and may end up replacing other AWS third-party partners in the market such as Commvault, Veeam, Veritas and Druva, etc. in the future. However, these products/tools at the moment offer richer backup services that can handle a mix of workloads spanning multiple clouds, as well as on-premises locations.

Currently, most customers are likely to view AWS Backup as an introductory offering rather than an alternative to full-featured enterprise tools like Commvault or Veeam. The needs and challenges of enterprise recovery go much beyond what AWS Backup’s basic set of features are capable of delivering. AWS backup services still need to address regulatory restrictions around holding data. They also require advanced features such as cross-region disaster recovery, file-level search and access and support for hybrid IT / multicloud environments.

Having said that, the API-based approach of the AWS Backup service is beneficial to the backup and archival ecosystem, providing an easy way to add new functionality to existing tools and services. The AWS Backup service is obviously more beneficial to customers who are already using Amazon Snapshots in AWS environment. Most customers who start using the service will adopt a ‘wait and watch’ approach before they completely transition from their enterprise class tools to AWS Backup.