Data protection features of Virtual Data Centre

Introduction
EBS Protected storage tier
EBS Mirrored storage tier
Virtual machine snapshots
Volume snapshots
vTools backup service

 

Introduction

This document summarises the main tools and features of Interoute VDC that can be used to maintain backup and recovery procedures which protect against data loss and downtime.

Snapshots and vTools backups work in the same way (and for the same costs) for EBS magnetic disk and EBS SSD storage media, except that mirrored protection is not currently offered for EBS SSD.

EBS Protected storage tier

EBS Protected storage is typically used by customers to achieve scheduled data protection, at a predictable cost.

What does it do and what is protected? Snapshots are taken at the storage level (and not the VM operating system level) and they are not application aware. Only files in a closed state or not exclusively locked will be recoverable. Typically, running databases and other open file applications will not be protected.
When and how are snapshots taken? Snapshots are taken at regular intervals according to a snapshot schedule set by Interoute. The process is automated and is not controllable by customers.
What is the snapshot schedule for frequency and retention? Snapshots are taken every 4 hours, and these snapshots are kept for 2 days. One daily snapshot is retained for a week. A further snapshot is taken weekly and kept for a month.
How are snapshots restored? Snapshots can be restored by contacting the Interoute Customer Support Centre and raising a Request Ticket.
How granular is the restore? Restoring a snapshot will restore all recoverable data within the snapshot to the point when the snapshot was taken. There is no ability to restore individual files or folders.
What is the cost of a snapshot? The EBS Protected storage charge (per GByte of customer data) is inclusive of all snapshot data storage costs, so the costs are easy to understand.

EBS Mirrored storage tier

EBS Mirrored Storage is typically used by customers to achieve scheduled data protection, at a predictable cost. It is an enhanced version of EBS Protected storage which creates a duplicate copy of every snapshot in a geographically-separate VDC zone (data centre) location (the mirror pair zones have been decided by Interoute and are not choosable by customers).

All the features are as for EBS Protected storage above. The inclusive unit cost of storage is higher due to the additional storage and processing costs involved.

Virtual machine snapshots

VM snapshots are typically used by a customer as part of a planned works process, whereby the customer creates a snapshot before planned works and can use the VM snapshot (or a previously-taken VM snapshot) for the purpose of 'roll back' of the VM (operating system and/or applications).

Important

VM snapshots are not recommended for use in application data recovery. It is not recommended to retain 'roll back' VM snapshots for extended time periods.

 

 

What does it do and what is protected? VM Snapshots take a snapshot of the VM root disk and (optionally) the data in memory.
When and how are snapshots taken? Snapshots are taken manually by the customer, using either the VDC Control Centre (GUI) or the API.
What is the snapshot schedule for frequency and retention? Manual only, under customer control.
How are snapshots restored? Snapshots can be restored by the customer, using the 'revert to VM snapshot' function, either via the VDC Control Centre (GUI) or the API.
How granular is the restore? Restoring a snapshot will restore all recoverable data within the snapshot to the point when the snapshot was taken. There is no ability to restore individual files or folders.
What is the cost of a snapshot? A VM snapshot does not consume any space until there are changes in the disk that was 'copied'. Only the changes ('deltas') between the current content of the disk and the original state of the disk are stored in the snapshot. A snapshot with memory will initially consume space equal to the size of the memory.

Volume snapshots

Volume Snapshots are typically used by a customer to provide a rapid recovery mechanism for the most recent data content of a virtual machine. Due to their large storage requirements they are not cost-effective for storing multiple recovery points.

What does it do and what is protected? Snapshots of an entire rootdisk or datadisk are taken at the storage level (and not the VM operating system level) and they are not application aware. Only files in a closed state or not exclusively locked will be recoverable. Typically, running databases and other open file applications will not be protected.
When and how are snapshots taken? Volume snapshots can be taken manually by the customer, using either the VDC Control Centre (GUI) or the API. It is also possible to setup a automated recurring snapshot with a customer-defined schedule and a specified number of snapshots to be retained. For example, you could specify to retain only the last-taken snapshot, so that your current recovery snapshot is automatically updated according to the frequency you require.
What is the snapshot schedule for frequency and retention? Recurring snapshots are automated according to schedules controlled by the customer. Schedules are set for each individual storage volume.
How are snapshots restored? Snapshots can be restored by the customer, using either the VDC Control Centre (GUI) or the API. You should convert the snapshot to a volume and then attach the volume to a VM (which can be the original VM where the data originated, or any other VM).
How granular is the restore? Restoration is at file system level (using the volume created out of your snapshot), and you can restore down to the level of individual files.
What is the cost of a snapshot? Each volume snapshot consumes an amount of space equal to the original volume size. Because of this, volume snapshots are not a cost effective way of storing multiple data recovery points.

vTools backup service

vTools Backup provides backup functions for individual VMs. Backup is performed at the operating system level on the VM, hence it is different from the storage-level snapshots described above. You can request manual backups at any time, and set schedules for automatic, incremental backups. Any file or folder can be excluded from backup by use of a Windows Registry Key, or a Linux configuration file. For example, it would be typical to exclude many operating system files by specifying a folder path or set of paths.

vTools Backup is part of vTools, a suite of tools for monitoring and maintaining your VMs. There are no charges for the setup or management aspects of vTools Backup, however the use of the backup storage medium is charged on a per-gigabyte basis.

All backup and restore operations are customer-controlled through the vTools interface in My Services. Restoration is done at the level of individual files or folders.

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