Many Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers who use Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), a highly available and durable file storage service, choose to implement a backup solution to be able to recover from unintended changes or deletions to their file systems

AWS offers an easy-to-deploy EFS-to-EFS backup solution that automatically creates incremental backups of an Amazon EFS file system on a customer-defined schedule.

This webpage provides best practices for implementing automated backup and recovery actions on resources, as well as an overview of the EFS-to-EFS backup solution's design and functionality.


When running infrastructure on the cloud, automate backups for data recovery whenever possible. Automated actions are more reliable than manual processes, helping to improve data protection and recoverability. For optimal reliability and cost savings, consider these AWS best practices:

  • Use a rigorous performance testing and optimization process to choose a solution or configuration that optimizes the consumption of burst credits.
  • Carefully consider your backup frequency and retention settings to avoid incurring unnecessary charges.
  • Grant least-privilege access to individuals or systems that perform automated actions on resources.
  • To help ensure consistent backups, do not perform writes while an Amazon EFS file system is being backed up.

AWS offers an easy-to-deploy solution that allows you to automatically back up Amazon EFS file systems. The diagram below presents the components and functionality you can build using the EFS-to-EFS backup solution implementation guide and accompanying AWS CloudFormation template.

efs-to-efs-backup-architecture
  1. An Amazon CloudWatch event runs on an interval you define during initial configuration. This event invokes the solution’s orchestrator AWS Lambda function.
  2. The Lambda function launches an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance, creates an ID for the backup, and stores details on the backup Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) file system in an Amazon DynamoDB table.
  3. The Amazon EC2 instance mounts the source and backup Amazon EFS file systems and initiates the backup.
  4. When the backup process completes, the instance updates the backup activity details in the DynamoDB table and sends logs to an Amazon S3 bucket. Then, the instance is terminated.
  5. If the backup is unsuccessful, Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) sends a notification to subscribed email addresses. You can also choose to be notified if the backup is successful.
Deploy Solution
Implementation Guide

What you'll accomplish:

Deploy the EFS-to-EFS backup solution using AWS CloudFormation. The CloudFormation template will automatically launch and configure the components necessary to automatically back up Amazon EFS file systems.

Automatically back up Amazon EFS file systems on a defined schedule. The EFS-to-EFS backup solution offers the flexibility to back up an entire file system, or part of a file system.

What you'll need before starting:

An AWS account: You will need an AWS account to begin provisioning resources. Sign up for AWS.

A source Amazon EFS file system: You will need a source file system with mount targets in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud with at least two subnets in different Availability Zones. For more information, see the implementation guide.

Skill level: This solution is intended for IT infrastructure and DevOps professionals who have practical experience with automation, Amazon EFS, and architecting on the AWS Cloud.

Q: Will the EFS-to-EFS backup solution consume burst credits?

Yes. This solution will consume burst credits. However, you can change the default Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance size depending on how much throughput you need for the solution's file system. For more information, see the implementation guide.

Q: Can I back up multiple file systems?

Yes. You can launch multiple deployments of the solution to back up multiple file systems. We recommend at least one solution stack per file system.

Q: Can I back up part of a file system?

Yes. You can launch multiple deployments of the solution with different source prefixes that point to different locations in your file system. We also recommend multiple deployments for customers who want to back up large file systems to avoid hitting throughput limits.

Q: How do I restore my file system with an automated backup?

This solution includes an AWS CloudFormation template that automatically restores your Amazon EFS file system from a solution-created backup.

Q: Can I deploy the EFS-to-EFS backup solution in any AWS Region?

You can deploy the EFS-to-EFS backup solution AWS CloudFormation template only in AWS Regions where Amazon EFS is available (see AWS service offerings by region).

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