any further backup nesesary in AWS?

J G
J G used Ask the Experts™
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I created an EC2 instance.  I created a lifecycle manager policy to create up to 3 snapshots of the instance Volumes, and create a new one every 24 hours.  

My question is, Do I have to do any more in terms of Backing up the VM?
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David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Keep in mind, taking snapshots won't produce a useful backup if any databases are involved.

When databases are involved, part of data lives in memory buffers + part of data lives on disk.

Many people find out the hard way, the only way to backup a database is one of...

1) Stop database + create some disk level snapshot or /var/lib/mysql (or where ever your raw files live)... or...

2) Use a real database backup tool, like mysqldump or whatever tool your database system provides.

This same consideration applies to any type of system where data lives on disk + in memory simultaneously.

If you're new to backing up complex systems... and having a backup that will actually restore to a running system again... best to talk with someone who works with complex system backup/restore scenarios every day.
J G

Author

Commented:
The VMs that have snapshots contain BAK files of the databases.  
Is this adequate?
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
No snapshot (with database server running) will produce a working database.

The database will always be corrupt.

When the database daemon starts, it will attempt to repair the damage.

1) If it's successful, you'll likely loose some data.

2) If it's unsuccessful, you'll likely loose all data in one or more tables.

Snapshots only produce restorable backups for static HTML sites. If any database or any other server is running where some state lives in memory, all these types of systems will be corrupt when snapshot is restored.
J G

Author

Commented:
So just to be clear.  I have a VM with a simple SQL database.  It is on a lifecycle backup schedule in AWS to create a snapshot 1x per day.  The snapshots are the exact same size as the volume.  

Your saying that if I try to restore the VM from a snapshot backup, the database won't work?  If that is the case, will the BAK files on the snapshot work to populate a new database instance on a restored vm?  The databases are being backed up locally everyday as well.  Would the alternative be to back the databases up to another file share instead of the Snapshot?

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