Where does Cloud Storage fit in DR?
Where does Cloud Storage fit in DR?

With an on-premises data backup solution within your data center, it’s critical for your business to have a disaster recovery plan built into your business continuity plans. You need to have a plan in place should a disaster occur that affects your operation of the business. The same is true when you start to leverage the cloud for its storage capabilities for your backed-up data.

This course explains how cloud storage fits in with DR and the different considerations when preparing to design a solution to back up your on-premises data to AWS. It will explain how Amazon S3, AWS Snowball, and AWS Storage Gateway can all be used to help with the transfer and storage of your backup data.

You should not assume that just because you are backing data up to the cloud it will solve your every need: there are many points of consideration when planning a DR backup solution to the cloud, such as AWS. However, it does also provide opportunities that may not have been possible with a standard on-premises backup solution. It’s these points of interest that many enterprises are focusing on to gain a significant advantage when it comes to disaster recovery.

AWS has a number of different services available to help you architect the best solution for your needs. To allow you to set up the correct solution that works for you, you must first understand how each of these services can be of benefit to you.

To help you implement effective solutions, you must first have answers to the following:

  • What is your RTO (Recovery Time Objective)?
  • What is your RPO (Recovery Point Objective)?
  • How quickly do you need to retrieve your data?
  • How much data do you need to import/export?
  • What durability is required for your data?
  • How sensitive is your data?
  • What security mechanisms are required to protect your data?
  • Do you have any compliance controls that you need to abide by?

When you have answers to these questions, you will be able to start working towards an effective backup solution to create a cost-efficient, highly reliable, durable, and secure data backup storage solution.

Learning Objectives

  1. Gain an understanding of how your storage solution can affect your business continuity and DR plans.
  2. Obtain the knowledge to know when to use specific AWS storage solutions to your advantage between Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, AWS Snowball, and AWS Storage Gateway.
  3. Understand how each of these services can provide a DR solution to fit your specific needs.

Intended Audience

This course has been designed for:

  • Engineers who need to manage and maintain AWS storage services
  • Architects who are implementing effective data backup solutions from on-premises to AWS
  • Business continuity management managers
  • Anyone looking to prepare for the AWS Solutions Architect - Professional certification


As a prerequisite for this course, you should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • Business continuity
  • Disaster recovery
  • Data backup terms and methodologies
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon EC2
  • Elastic Block Store (EBS)

This course includes

7 lectures


If you have thoughts or suggestions for this course, please contact Cloud Academy at


Hello and welcome to this lecture, where I will quickly talk about how cloud storage plays an important part within your disaster recovery plans.

If you're unfortunate enough to encounter a disaster within your environment, that affects multiple tiers within your on-site infrastructure, it will more than likely result in data outage and/or data loss, and you'll need to invoke your DR plans to restore your data via your chosen backup mechanism.

The sooner your systems are operational and readily available to resume services, the better for you as a business and your customers.

Now herein lies the problem with traditional data backup solutions. The data you need might not be available to you, and this could be due to a variety of reasons.

Your backup data might be stored in the same location as your production data, and so the disaster, such as a fire or flood or worse, would have impacted your backup data too.

If using a tape backup method, then the tapes could be faulty, due to overuse, and the data become unreadable, or even lost in transit.

There may also be manual activity involved, from tape rotation to tape labeling, which may result in specific data not being backed up or not being able to find the right data.

There are also many other reasons of why the traditional data backup method can be ineffective, such as scalability.

As your infrastructure expands, so will your NAS or SAN and tape libraries. This can be very costly to maintain and implement.

Costs, implementing an effective backup solution can be a huge up-front capital expenditure cost to many companies.

And data availability, if your data is being stored off-site, the retrieval of your data could be impacted.

It's no secret that using cloud storage services can be considerably cheaper as a backup solution than that of your own on-premise solution. But cost aside, the speed in which you can launch an environment within AWS to replicate your on-premise solution, with easy access to production backup data, is of significant value to many organizations.

If you had your production environment running locally within your corporate data center, whereby your core data was being backed up and stored within AWS, you wouldn't have to worry about scalability. There is an almost infinite amount of storage available to you. There would be no huge up-front costs, where you had to buy a specific infrastructure or tape libraries, and your data will be protected by exceptional durability and availability combined. Couple this with strict security measures, and you have a cost-efficient, highly reliable, durable, and secure data backup storage solution.

Now let's imagine this production environment, in your local data center, experienced an outage. You could perform the following steps to quickly recover from the disaster.

You could launch a new environment with new instances, based on your own custom AMIs, complete with custom applications within a VPC. Then you could create EBS storage volumes, based on your backed up data, from within AWS, and attach these volumes to those instances. You now have your application servers up and running, with the latest production data. Couple this with some minor networking components, and you could then communicate with other sites you may have running.

So to highlight the main points of how cloud-based storage is effective when using DR, it is cost efficient, scalable, available and durable, secure, reliable, zero maintenance of hardware required, it's off-site storage, replication and automation is easily configured, it's readily accessible, and it's easy to test DR plans, using AWS infrastructure.

The following resources relate to topics covered and mentioned throughout this lecture. We have a course within the Solutions Architect - Professional Certification learning path that covers high availability, scalability, and business continuity, and also a blog that covers disaster recovery, when using AWS, so it's worth checking those out.

You can find all links mentioned within each lecture at the top of the transcript, on the landing page of this course.

That brings me to the end of this short lecture.

Coming up next, I want to highlight some of the considerations when planning a DR storage solution.




Where does Cloud Storage fit in DR?

Considerations when planning an AWS DR Storage Solution

Using Amazon S3 as a Data Backup Solution

Using AWS Snowball for Data Transfer

Using AWS Storage Gateway for on-premise data backup


About the Author
Learning Paths

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.