Snapshot. A time machine for your system

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Perhaps, everyone at least once wanted to go back in time for about an hour before the moment when everything went wrong and fix it. Sounds like sci-fi. But what if we tell you about a magic pill that can solve this problem? Our cloud has its time machine, and it is called a snapshot. In other words, the system state at a specific point in time.

Chief, it is all gone

Imagine a normal working day, no complaints about the system operation. And then the "X" moment comes. A merciless virus destroys, attacks, or just encrypts data. It may take decades to decode, and the information will be worthless by then.

Some encryption viruses offer to pay to restore information (for example, $ 100 in bitcoins). We strongly discourage this questionable method; it is unpleasant and does not give any guarantees. Also, this is blackmail, in which you can lose both money and data.

So, if your provider does not make snapshots, the situation can be not favorable. In the best-case scenario, you can reinstall the system yourself or request a new machine to get rid of the compromised one and restore your data from backups. Additionally, you will have to configure all your software from scratch. Maybe by that time, we will be on Mars :) In the worst-case scenario, the system is broken down, all the data is lost, the chance to restore it is too small, you do not have snapshots and backups, and the provider keeps out of your problems.

Drama is canceled

But if you entrust your IT infrastructure to the right provider who regularly creates system snapshots, you can avoid a disaster. After another attack, do not worry about anything. Use snapshots to restore your machine's disk to the at the time of the last snapshot. That is all. You can safely carry on working and not be afraid of any attacks.

System snapshot is an image of a virtual machine disk, i.e. of the entire system with software and data saved on it, at a certain point in time. It is required in order to return the system to its original working state in case of any critical changes.

How snapshots work

When creating a snapshot, a virtual machine is on a pause. The pause can last from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the disk size and the amount of data that has changed since the last snapshot creation. After this, the virtual machine resumes its operation, and the snapshot is copied from the main to the backup storage. This lasts from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the disk size. During this time, the virtual machine is running in normal operation. Then the snapshot is deleted from the main storage, which also means pausing, but it takes less time than when it was created. When the snapshot is deleted from the main storage, the virtual machine resumes working until the next snapshot. 

In Tucha, snapshots are created predominantly during non-business hours (from 20:00 to 06:00). But if this is the hottest time for your business, you can always change the time interval. A snapshot creation queue is determined according to the following factors: infrastructure load and the relevance of the latest snapshots.

Note that the system can only create one snapshot at a certain point in time. Therefore, it is desirable not to set a specific snapshot creation time, so that the system does not overlook your machine. The recommended interval is at least 3 hours.

An important option of system snapshots are tags: noremove and nosnapshot. If you set the noremove label, a snapshot will not be automatically deleted, modified, or overwritten. Also, a virtual machine or its disk may be marked with the nosnapshot tag. In this case, automatic snapshots will not be created until the tag is deleted.

How long does it take to restore work from a snapshot? The only factor that affects duration is disk size. Depending on its size, the procedure takes from 15 to 90 minutes.

The cost of TuchaFlex+ and TuchaBit services includes 2 last system snapshots. If you need more, you can order additional snapshots according to your needs.

Snapshots versus Backups

Some people think that backups are enough. But in this case, you only create copies of certain files. And when they are restored, the system state will not change. Backups will not help in a situation with a virus that encrypts system files, closes access to a database, or restricts the functionality of your software. But the image deployed on a new machine will fix everything in a moment. If, of course, you protected yourself and created snapshots before the virus attacked the system files.

System snapshots and backups are tools that work best together. For example, if you restore data from a snapshot created on Monday, you can also restore the missing files but from a backup created on Tuesday.

Conclusions

When you choose a cloud provider, it is extremely important to check whether the provider provides system snapshots at the stage of consulting with managers. Not all companies provide their clients with such opportunity since its implementation requires additional investments into infrastructure. We have decided that the safety and availability of customer data are worth it.

To learn more about our cloud solutions and experience all the benefits of the cloud as soon as possible, please contact us. You are welcome 24×7.

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