How to manage EBS Volumes Snapshots in AWS

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) Volumes are highly available and reliable storage volumes that can be attached to any running EC2 instance that is in the same Availability Zone. When we attach the EBS volumes to EC2 instances they act as physical drive disks that we can format and use to installa our operating system, our files and so on.
EBS Snapshost is one of the most useful tool offered by Amazon to make a copy of your volume. There are several reasons to do snapshots:

  • Point-in-time recovery of your volumes when you delete the data or volumes accidentally
  • Create an identical Volume in another Zone or Region
  • Create a Disaster Recovery environment in another Region
  • Remove the unused volumes for cost saving, but data needs to preserved for future use
  • Using the same kind of volumes for Dev and Staging environments
  • When AWS Zones or Regions are down

Amazon is providing various interfaces to create snapshot of a Volume like: Amazon AWS console, Command-line, APIs and SDKs. From AWS Console, you can create snapshots for any volume from either Volumes tab or from Snapshots tab.
Unfortunately, AWS doesn’t have the scheduling feature with already set times like: daily, hourly, weekly and etc.
You need to automate snapshots of volumes by yourself, using either command-line or APIs or SDKs. Here I am showing a script where you can automate the snapshot operations of volumes on regular intervals using AWS command-line tools.

A script to automate your Snapshots with EBS (Elastic Block Storage)

This script needs mainly 3 parameters:

  • Volumes-list: Get all the volumes list in a file called “volumes-list” line by line as: VolumeID:VolumeName
  • Retention Period: How many latest snapshots you want to keep for a volume. Beyond that, you can purge the volumes.
  • AWS Keys/ IAM Role: Use IAM role of EC2 Instance or AWS Keys. It would be good, if you use the IAM role for your EC2 instances to avoid the specifying keys, if not use the AWS Keys with EBS privileges and update them in the script.

Let’s see how it works:

  • Creation of the snapshot for each Volume reading it from the volume-list file.

aws ec2 create-snapshot –volume-id $VOL_ID –description “$DESCRIPTION” –region $REGION &>> $SNAP_CREATION

  • Describe the list of completed snapshots for each Volume by excluding AMI snapshots.

aws ec2 describe-snapshots –query Snapshots[*].[SnapshotId,VolumeId,Description,StartTime] –output text –filters “Name=status,Values=completed” “Name=volume-id,Values=$VOL_ID” | grep -v “CreateImage” > $SNAPSHOT_INFO

  • Delete the snapshots of a Volume which exceeds the Retention period time.

aws ec2 delete-snapshot –snapshot-id $SNAP_ID –region $REGION –output text
Here is the complete script  (Evernote) and sample volume-list file for your reference.
When you take the snapshots of your volumes, it would be a good idea to ignore the Auto Scaling instances volumes, because those instances are stateless. Remember that auto scaling machines will have an AMI to store their required config and data.
The sample script is to give you an idea of  we can do the snapshots management, but you can always extend it to meet your needs.

Written by

Praveen Kumar Muppala

I have strong experience on Multiple Unix/Linux flavours, LAMP Stack, Monitoring Systems, Database, NoSQL. I love to explore the new concepts/services in Cloud Computing World. I have written 4 certifications in different flavours of Linux/Unix.

Related Posts

— February 11, 2019

WaitCondition Controls the Pace of AWS CloudFormation Templates

AWS's WaitCondition can be used with CloudFormation templates to ensure required resources are running.As you may already be aware, AWS CloudFormation is used for infrastructure automation by allowing you to write JSON templates to automatically install, configure, and bootstrap your ...

Read more
  • AWS
— January 24, 2019

The 9 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud.As the market leader and most mature p...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS certifications
— November 28, 2018

Two New EC2 Instance Types Announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 – Monday Night Live

The announcements at re:Invent just keep on coming! Let’s look at what benefits these two new EC2 instance types offer and how these two new instances could be of benefit to you. If you're not too familiar with Amazon EC2, you might want to familiarize yourself by creating your first Am...

Read more
  • AWS
  • EC2
  • re:Invent 2018
— November 21, 2018

Google Cloud Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2018, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the first time. In t...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
Khash Nakhostin
— November 13, 2018

Understanding AWS VPC Egress Filtering Methods

In order to understand AWS VPC egress filtering methods, you first need to understand that security on AWS is governed by a shared responsibility model where both vendor and subscriber have various operational responsibilities. AWS assumes responsibility for the underlying infrastructur...

Read more
  • Aviatrix
  • AWS
  • VPC
— November 10, 2018

S3 FTP: Build a Reliable and Inexpensive FTP Server Using Amazon’s S3

Is it possible to create an S3 FTP file backup/transfer solution, minimizing associated file storage and capacity planning administration headache?FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is a fast and convenient way to transfer large files over the Internet. You might, at some point, have conf...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— October 18, 2018

Microservices Architecture: Advantages and Drawbacks

Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).Microservices have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The modular architectural style,...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Microservices
— October 2, 2018

What Are Best Practices for Tagging AWS Resources?

There are many use cases for tags, but what are the best practices for tagging AWS resources? In order for your organization to effectively manage resources (and your monthly AWS bill), you need to implement and adopt a thoughtful tagging strategy that makes sense for your business. The...

Read more
  • AWS
  • cost optimization
— September 26, 2018

How to Optimize Amazon S3 Performance

Amazon S3 is the most common storage options for many organizations, being object storage it is used for a wide variety of data types, from the smallest objects to huge datasets. All in all, Amazon S3 is a great service to store a wide scope of data types in a highly available and resil...

Read more
  • Amazon S3
  • AWS
— September 18, 2018

How to Optimize Cloud Costs with Spot Instances: New on Cloud Academy

One of the main promises of cloud computing is access to nearly endless capacity. However, it doesn’t come cheap. With the introduction of Spot Instances for Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) in 2009, spot instances have been a way for major cloud providers to sell sp...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • SpotInst
— August 23, 2018

What are the Benefits of Machine Learning in the Cloud?

A Comparison of Machine Learning Services on AWS, Azure, and Google CloudArtificial intelligence and machine learning are steadily making their way into enterprise applications in areas such as customer support, fraud detection, and business intelligence. There is every reason to beli...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Machine Learning
— August 17, 2018

How to Use AWS CLI

The AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) is for managing your AWS services from a terminal session on your own client, allowing you to control and configure multiple AWS services.So you’ve been using AWS for awhile and finally feel comfortable clicking your way through all the services....

Read more
  • AWS