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Backup to Amazon S3 with NAKIVO Backup & Replication: A How-To Guide

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Amazon S3 is a popular cloud storage platform. It is widely used by businesses as an offsite storage destination for backups because it’s highly reliable and offers flexible storage options. You can access data stored in Amazon S3 from any location across the globe as long as you have an internet connection. Having a hard disk or a tape cartridge with backup data and storing it in a safe is a good option for businesses that don’t have multiple branches or offices distributed across a country or in different countries.

However if you do have multiple locations, backups should be accessed from the network of each office (site) to make it possible to perform data recovery in any office. The 3-2-1 backup rule states that for a reliable backup strategy you should have at least three copies of data, one of which is stored offsite. While the second copy of data can be stored on hard disks or tape cartridges locally (onsite), the third copy of data should be stored offsite. Amazon S3 perfectly meets this requirement and increases the probability of successful data recovery in different disaster recovery scenarios. This blog post explains how to perform Backup to Amazon S3 with NAKIVO Backup & Replication.

NAKIVO Backup & Replication is a universal all-in-one solution that can back up VMware VMs, Hyper-V VMs, Nutanix AHV backup VMs, physical machines, EC2 instances, and Oracle databases to traditional backup repositories on hard disk drives, cloud storage, and tape. You can also use the software to create backup copies. You can recover entire VMs, or custom files and objects in a short time from a backup. Download the free trial version of NAKIVO Backup & Replication and try the software in your environment.

Requirements

Ensure that the following requirements are met to back up data to Amazon S3 with NAKIVO Backup & Replication:

  • NAKIVO Backup & Replication Enterprise, Enterprise Essentials, or Cloud Provider Enterprise must be installed on a physical machine, virtual machine (VM) or NAS. It is also possible to install the product on Raspberry Pi.
  • An Amazon account with sufficient permissions to write data to a bucket.
  • Access keys generated for the Amazon account.
  • An S3 bucket created for the current Amazon account.

How the Functionality Works

Starting from NAKIVO Backup & Replication v.9.4, you can back up data directly to Amazon S3 without any additional configuration by using the built-in functionality. Now there is no need to deploy Amazon S3 Storage Gateway and configure an NFS share to establish a connection with an S3 bucket. NAKIVO Backup & Replication uses Amazon APIs to interact with the Amazon object storage. All you need are access keys to access Amazon S3. You have to add your AWS account to the Inventory and create a Backup Repository in an S3 bucket. Self-backups (a backup of the configuration of NAKIVO Backup & Replication) can be stored in the Amazon S3 Backup Repository just as they are stored in a built-in repository, CIFS repository, and so on.

Note: AWS file storage is not an accurate term when referring to Amazon S3 because Amazon S3 is an object storage. Storing data as objects in Amazon S3 allows for greater scalability.

The Workflow

Now that you’re familiarized with the requirements and the concept of an Amazon S3 backup, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to configure backup to Amazon S3 in NAKIVO Backup & Replication.

Creating an Amazon S3 bucket

Prior to backing up to Amazon S3, make sure you have created an Amazon S3 bucket. You will use the bucket to create a Backup Repository for storing backups. You can open this page of the AWS web interface to create a bucket. I have created a bucket named blog-bucket01. I will use this bucket to create a Backup Repository in NAKIVO Backup & Replication. Note that NAKIVO Backup & Replication supports the S3 Standard storage class, which is the Amazon S3 “general purpose” storage for frequently accessed data.

A bucket must be created before you can back up to Amazon S3

Adding an AWS account

Now you need to add your AWS account to the Inventory of NAKIVO Backup & Replication. Open the web interface of NAKIVO Backup & Replication. Go to Configuration > Inventory, click the Add New button, and select AWS account in the menu.

Adding an AWS account to back up data to Amazon S3 backup storage

On the Add New AWS Account screen set the parameters.

Display name: AWS (select a custom name).

Type: AWS account.

AWS region(s): Select the geographical area of where your AWS account operates. In this example, I will select All regions.

AWS access key ID: Enter your access key ID. You can generate the AWS access key ID and secret access key in the web interface of AWS by using this link.

Secret access key: Enter the access key generated in combination with your AWS access key ID.

Click Add to finish adding the AWS account to the Inventory.

Adding a new AWS account in the Inventory of NAKIVO Backup & Replication

The AWS account has been added when you can see it in the Inventory.

The AWS account has been added to the Inventory

Click the AWS account name in the Inventory to see the account details. In our case, you can see EC2 instances created in the AWS account. These EC2 instances are categorized by region.

Viewing the AWS account added to the Inventory

Creating a backup repository

After creating a bucket and adding an AWS account to the Inventory, you can now add a new backup repository to store backups. Go to Configuration > Repositories, click Add Backup Repository, and in the menu that opens click Create new backup repository.

Creating a new Backup Repository in NAKIVO Backup & Replication

On the Create Backup Repository screen, define the needed parameters.

Name: Amazon S3 (you can enter your custom name).

Assigned transporter: Onboard transporter is selected by default. You can select another installed Transporter according to your deployment configuration. Read more about Transporters on this page.

Type: Incremental with full backups. This is the only available option for creating the Amazon S3 Backup Repository.

Location: Amazon S3

Account: Select the name of your AWS account that you have added to the Inventory. I’ve used AWS.

AWS Region: Select the AWS region from which you want to select a bucket (only buckets from the selected region will be displayed). In our case, the bucket was created in EU (Ireland) and backups will be stored in this region.

Bucket: Select the name of your bucket that you have created in Amazon S3. In my example, I’m using blog-bucket01 to store backups.

Storage Savings & Encryption. Since in Amazon S3 you pay for what you use, it’s best that you use compression for backups. Let’s select the highest available level of compression to save costs.

Compression: Best

Click More options to see additional settings.

Reliability & Maintenance. If you select Run full data verification on schedule, full data verification will be automatically invoked on schedule for this Backup Repository. This is a time-consuming process and a Backup Repository is not be available for backup and recovery jobs when data verification is running. This option is disabled by default and it is recommended to leave this default option in most cases.

Scheduled Detach. The Detach this repository on schedule option is disabled by default and should be disabled in most cases when using Backup Repositories in Amazon S3.

Click Add to apply configuration and create a new Backup Repository in Amazon S3.

Creating and configuring a new Amazon S3 Backup Repository to back up data with NAKIVO Backup & Replication

Once the Amazon S3 Backup Repository is added, you can see this repository in the list of repositories used by NAKIVO Backup & Replication.

A new Amazon S3 Backup Repository is created

Creating a backup job

After adding your AWS account to the Inventory and creating a new Backup Repository in Amazon S3, you can create a backup job or a backup copy job to store your backups in Amazon S3. Let’s look at how to back up data to AWS object storage using the example of a VMware virtual machine. VMware vCenter or an ESXi host running a VM must be added to the Inventory before you can back up the VM.

On the home page of the web interface of NAKIVO Backup & Replication, click Create and in the menu that opens click VMware vSphere backup job.

Backup software Amazon S3 – creating a new backup job

A new backup job wizard for VMware vSphere opens.

1. Source. Select the virtual machine you want to back up. In this example, the name of the selected VM is Win-test2. Click Next at each step of the wizard to continue.

Selecting a VM to backup to Amazon S3 with NAKIVO Backup & Replication

2. Destination. In the drop-down menu select your Amazon S3 backup repository as the destination Backup Repository, I will use Amazon S3.

Choosing the Amazon S3 Backup Repository as data backup storage

3. Schedule. Select scheduling options to meet your needs.

Scheduling options for a backup job

4. Retention. Select retention settings that define how many recovery points to keep for the defined periods. NAKIVO Backup & Replication uses the GFS retention policy.

Amazon S3 backup configuration - retention settings for a backup job

5. Options. Define the job options such as a job name, Changed Block Tracking, network acceleration, encryption, skipping swap files, skipping unused blocks, and so on.

Click Finish & Run to save backup job settings and run the job.

Note: AWS charges for incoming/outgoing traffic generated during backup/recovery jobs and used storage space in a bucket.

Backup to Amazon S3 - configuring job options

You can see the backup job information and data transferring statistics on the home page of the web interface of NAKIVO Backup & Replication or by selecting the running backup job.

Amazon S3 backup – a virtual machine is backed up to Amazon S3

When the process of data backup to AWS object storage has completed, you can open the AWS web interface, open your bucket, and see the created objects related to the NAKIVO Backup & Replication Backup Repository. Don’t edit or delete these objects manually. It is not recommended that you keep objects that are not related to a Backup Repository in the same bucket where your backups are stored.

Backups are stored in the Backup Repository created in Amazon S3

Similarly, you can perform a backup copy job to store a copy of locally backed up data in the Amazon S3 Backup Repository in the cloud.

Advantages of Using NAKIVO Backup & Replication to Back Up Data to Amazon S3

As you can see, backup to Amazon S3 is configured like other backup jobs for VMware VMs, Hyper-V VMs, and physical machines. When you back up data to Amazon S3 with NAKIVO Backup & Replication, you get all the usual features that simplify administration and data protection activities.

  • Granular recovery allows you to recover particular files or directories from a backup without the need to recover the entire physical or virtual machine. You recover files of machines backed up with NAKIVO Backup & Replication similarly as you recover files by using Amazon file backup.
  • Flash VM boot allows you to boot a VM directly from a backup without full recovery of the virtual machine. Notice that fast internet connection with low latency is required. You can perform instant recovery of a physical machine to a VM.
  • Full recovery of a virtual machine allows you to recover a VM completely. Fault tolerant VMware VMs are supported.
  • Universal object recovery can be used to recover files and objects such as Active Directory objects (users, contacts, calendar items, etc.) You can perform instant file/object recovery to source.
  • Application-aware image-based backup allows you to back up and recover virtual machines at the host level completely and preserve data consistency.
  • Incremental backup is used to copy only changed data and as a result can save you time and storage space. Space saving is also achieved by using compression.
  • A high level of automation allows you to configure backup and replication jobs once and the product will perform all needed actions automatically. The Site Recovery feature can help you implement complex disaster recovery plans.

Conclusion

Backup to Amazon S3 significantly increases the probability of successful recovery of data during the disaster recovery process. If you’re applying the 3-2-1 backup rule, the chance of successful data recovery becomes even higher. NAKIVO Backup & Replication 9.4 has added the functionality to back up data directly to Amazon S3. You have to create a bucket in the interface of AWS, configure an AWS account and generate access keys. Everything else can be configured in NAKIVO Backup & Replication.

Backup to Amazon S3

Backup to Amazon S3 with NAKIVO Backup & Replication: A How-To Guide
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