Easing Amazon EBS Snapshot Pain, for Free

It’s a major pain to manage snapshots in Amazon Web Services Elastic Block Storage (AWS EBS). It’s essentially a single command line with very limited capabilities. The result is that developers writing applications for AWS find themselves building tools to support things like snapshots instead of building their applications.

For many people, snapshots have moved from being a “nice to have” to being table stakes. What was once a tool for a very few people is now a part of the collective consciousness. It makes sense that modern developers would want to use snapshots for a quick way to make a “backup” before doing something else. (It’s not really a backup, of course, until you send it to another location.)

But saying that AWS has snapshot capabilities is like saying a hut in a third world country has water. Yes, it does. There is a stream nearby where one can get water, and there is a bucket to go get it. Web developers are expecting running water and sewers, and Amazon gave them a bucket.

There is no ability to schedule the creation or deletion of a snapshot, and nothing to tell you what kind of space different snapshots take. The lack of these features can create quite a mess for the typical Amazon customer. It’s relatively easy to run the command to create a snapshot, but not that easy to get rid of it. Next thing you know you get a bill for several thousand dollars from Amazon for the space that all of your snapshots are taking — most of which you could probably do without.

Developers are wasting their time creating and installing storage plumbing when they should be able to just assume it’s there. Thanks to Asigra’s new free AWS Snapshot Manager, this can finally be the case. All Amazon customers need to do is turn on an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) in the AWS marketplace and they gain all the snapshot management they need. It’s a web-based GUI that supports scheduling & reporting on snapshots, and moving those snapshots to other Amazon regions.

The license and support for this tool is free. Asigra hopes it will impress users with this tool so they will investigate what else Asigra can do for them. But if all they want is snapshot management in AWS, they can have it for free.

StorageSwiss Take

Snapshots are an incredible tool for data protection, but managing them is essential. Developers should not be in the business of building their own tools just to get their job done. Asigra’s Snapshot Manager for AWS should solve this problem – and the price isn’t bad either.

W. Curtis Preston (aka Mr. Backup) is an expert in backup & recovery systems; a space he has been working in since 1993. He has written three books on the subject, Backup & Recovery, Using SANs and NAS, and Unix Backup & Recovery. Mr. Preston is a writer and has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences around the world. Preston’s mission is to arm today’s IT managers with truly unbiased information about today’s storage industry and its products.

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