Amazon boosts disaster recovery with snapshot feature addition

News Rene Millman Dec 19, 2012

AWS users can now move EBS storage volumes between Availability Zones

Amazon has unveiled a new snapshot feature that could drastically reduce cloud downtime.

Amazon announced its new Elastic Block Store (EBS) Snapshot Copy in a discussion forum. The feature allows users to copy EBS snapshots across AWS regions.

It said the new feature would make it “easier for you to leverage multiple AWS regions and accelerate your geographical expansion, data centre migration and disaster recovery.”

Users can access the feature by going into the AWS Management Console, selecting the snapshot to be copied, set the destination region and starting the copy.

The feature can also be accessed via an EC2 Command Line Interface or an EC2 API as described in the EBS Snapshot Copy page. 

The copied snapshot behaves the same as other snapshots in the destination region: it can be used to create new EBS volumes which can then be attached to an EC2 instance in the destination region.

Customers would only be charged for the data transferred to copy the snapshot and to store the copied snapshot at the destination region.

Amazon said it also plans to launch Amazon Machine Image (AMI) Copy as a follow-up to this feature, which will enable customers to copy both public and custom-created AMIs across regions.

The news comes after various problems AWS has encountered of late. The firm experienced a number of outages this year.

In October, the firm’s North Virginia data centre had technical difficulties twice in one week. It also had network connectivity issues preventing users from accessing the data centre.

In June, violent storms knocked out Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram, while in April, another cluster had problems which led to some customers leaving the service.

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