A Quick-Start Guide to AWS High Availability and Its 3 Dimensions

on Amazon Business, AWS, Data Management Tools, Data Replication, Tutorials • April 27th, 2022 • Write for Hevo

AWS High Availability- Featured Image

Fault tolerance is now considered a must, not a feature, according to the general consensus. Businesses must now run their apps or services 24×7, in order to meet customer and stakeholder expectations. Failure to do so results in unavailability, which frustrates customers. This leads to a loss of customer satisfaction, which eventually leads to a loss of revenue. 

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become a ubiquitous cloud platform with more than 200 fully-featured services like AWS EC2, AWS Lambda, S3, DynamoDB, and RDS and million-plus active users. The AWS platform is unique in building fault-tolerant business applications since AWS high availability delivers features that let you build these fault-tolerant applications with little interaction and minimal investment.

This guide takes you through the concepts of AWS high availability. We discuss the fundaments of AWS, AWS high availability architecture, advantages, as well as a detailed analysis of AWS computing, database, and storage dimensions.

Table of Contents

What is Amazon AWS?

AWS Logo: AWS High Availability | Hevo Data
Image Source: AWS

Cloud-based services have proven a decade-long exponential growth, and AWS has been the center of percussion for many SMEs and enterprises. Undoubtedly, the world’s best, most comprehensive, and most broadly adopted platform, AWS has become a consistent market leader in low-cost agile software development and faster innovation on the cloud. 

AWS features a variety of services to build and run virtually any type of application without any upfront costs or ongoing commitments. It offers pay-as-you-go pricing where you only get to pay for the individual services that you require, and only as long as you need. The services included in the Amazon Web Services Portfolio are split across multiple categories like:

  1. Data Management & Data Transfer
  2. Compute & Networking
  3. Storage
  4. Automation and Orchestration
  5. Operations and Management
  6. Visualization Tools
  7. Security and Compliance

For more details about the AWS components and services, visit their official website here- AWS Solution Components

AWS is widely employed by a slew of organizations, like Adobe, Airbnb, ESPN, Mcdonald’s, NASA, Netflix, and many more. The services provided by AWS are utilized for a wide range of applications and computing processes, including:

  1. Website Hosting
  2. Social Networking
  3. Academic Computing
  4. Media Sharing
  5. Application Hosting
  6. Backup, Storage, and Disaster Recovery
  7. Media Distribution & Content Delivery
  8. Developing & Testing Environments
  9. Search Engines

Key Features of AWS

  • Best-in-Class Functionality: With over 200 services and a myriad of embedded features, Amazon Web Services dominates the cloud computing industry by a yawning gap. To mention a few offerings, AWS includes computing and storage technologies, and databases–for emerging technologies, such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, Data Lakes and Analytics, and the Internet of Things.
  • Proven Operational Expertise: Over the last 15 years, AWS has amassed unmatched experience, maturity, reliability, and security that works all together to provide the best user experience and services for a wide range of user requirements and businesses use-cases. 
  • Cloud-Computing Leadership: Amazon Web Services has been accoladed as the leader in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure & Platform Services (CIPS). Picking AWS as your cloud partner will definitely serve you well in the long run.
  • Faster Pace of Innovation: AWS is an inexpensive, easily deployable service package that organizations throughout the world use irrespective of their business model and size. Amazon is widely known for its accelerated pace of innovation and seamless service delivery to its end customers.
  • Largest Community of Customers and Partners: Amazon Web Services boasts of millions of active customers and thousands of partners across every industry like healthcare, restaurant chains, news, media streaming services, sports agencies, social networking, etc. Choosing to use AWS ensures an unmatched level of peer support to help you solve your queries. 

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What Is High Availability?

High Availability: AWS High Availability | Hevo Data
Image Source: AVI Networks

No business wants failures in its operational systems. Failures create downtime, which is a period of time when your system is not available for use or is unresponsive. Downtime hampers business output and performance. For big corporations, each minute of downtime costs thousands of dollars. Into the bargain, they bring unnecessary maintenance costs, which are sometimes too costly to implement.

High availability (HA) is a system’s ability to function even when some components fail. High availability guarantees continuous operability of systems for desirably long periods of time. A solid requirement for enterprises, high availability protects businesses against the risks brought by a system outage. 

High availability for systems is represented through a sequence of “9’s”. A 100% availability translates to 0 minutes of downtime in a year, which is practically infeasible and an ideal benchmark. A three-nines availability, represented as 99.9%, allows 8 hours and 46 minutes of downtime per year. A four nine availability, 99.99%, allows 52 minutes and 36 seconds downtime per year, and a five-nine availability, which is the accepted standard for emergency response systems and mission-critical operations, provides about 5 minutes and 15 seconds of downtime per year.

Advantages of Using AWS High Availability for Web Applications

AWS high availability for web applications provides you with the following benefits:

  • A completely secured network that uses a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to prevent common web exploits.
  • AWS HA has provisions like Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) technologies to help businesses resume operations with minimal disruption.
  • For cases where instant hardware failure may arise or are about to arise, AWS Auto Scaling automatically detects this and launches a new instance.
  • AWS HA provides metrics on the cloud to closely monitor the application based on the number of users using the application or the memory consumed by the particular instance.
  • The deployment of new features or updates may be done without causing any problems for present users.

AWS Regions and High Availability Zones

  • Amazon hosts its web services across multiple locations, with each AWS location consisting of multiple availability zones and availability ranging from 99.9% to 99.999%. 
  • Each AWS Region runs in complete autonomy. This ensures the greatest level of fault tolerance and stability for user and application workloads. 
  • All AWS Availability Zones (AZs) are configured to operate in such a way that they are able to provide inexpensive, low latency network connectivity to other Availability Zones in the same region as well. These are connected to multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and different power grids.
  • Your application(s) can be safeguarded against failure in a single data center by deploying EC2 instances in various Availability Zones.
  • It is important to run independent application stacks in more than one Availability Zone, either in the same region or in another region, so that if one zone fails, the application in the other zone can continue to run. 

To know about Amazon Regions and Availability Zones in your area, visit Regions and AZs.

AWS Services Used to Achieve High Availability

AWS delivers high availability through a scalable, load-balanced cluster or an active-standby pair, among other approaches. The majority of Amazon Web Services are designed to be fault-tolerant and have high availability. The following list includes some of them:

  • Amazon S3
  • SimpleDB
  • Amazon Relational Database (RDS)
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
  • Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • Amazon Machine Engine (AMI)

AWS Fault-Tolerant and High Availability Architecture

Here’s a high-level diagram of how different AWS services combine together to provide a fault-tolerant and high availability architecture on the cloud.

AWS High Availability Architecture: AWS High Availability | Hevo Data
Image Source: Jayendra Patil

What Makes Hevo ETL Platform the Best-in-Class Offering For Your AWS Data Sources

Inherent to AWS are the services offered that can be seamlessly integrated using AWS Glue or other AWS Data Pipeline solution. But these Data Pipeline solutions are only good when your data resides in the AWS infrastructure only. Migrating or integrating third-party SaaS applications or databases can prove difficult and can generate complexity or compartmentalization in your business workflows.

Hevo ETL has been designed from the ground up to meet all user requirements. Using Hevo’s No-code Automation Platform, you can easily create Data Pipelines without having to worry about maintenance or infrastructure costs. Our ETL runs on the cloud, delivering exceptional data security and zero data loss migration capabilities.

Check out the features which make Hevo ETL, the best product for your AWS Applications ETL needs.

  • Blazing Fast Setup: Hevo comes with a No-code and highly intuitive interface that allows you to create a Data Pipeline in minutes with only a few clicks. Moreover, you don’t need any extensive training to use Hevo; even non-data professionals can set up their own Data Pipelines seamlessly.
  • Built To Scale: As the number of your AWS Data Sources and the volume of your data grows, Hevo scales horizontally, handling millions of records per minute with very little latency. This ensures the long-term viability of your business.
  • Ample Connectors: Hevo’s fault-tolerant Data Pipeline offers you a secure option to unify data from 100+ Sources like Amazon S3, AWS Elasticsearch, Amazon RDS (including 40+ Sources), and store it in Amazon Redshift or any other Data Warehouse of your choice.
  • Analysis Ready Data: Hevo houses an in-built functionality for data formatting and transformation that can automatically prepare your data for analysis in minutes.
  • Smooth Schema Mapping: Hevo takes away the tedious task of schema management and automatically detects the schema of incoming data to map it to the destination schema.
  • Live Support: Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.
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AWS High Availability: Compute, Databases, and Storage

AWS offers emergency response systems and high availability resilient systems in the cloud to best cater to user needs. It comes across three different dimensions:

  1. Compute: Compute dimension contains AWS services like Amazon EC2 and AWS Lambda that provide AWS HA features such as load balancing, auto-scaling, and provisioning across Amazon Availability Zones (AZ).
  2. SQL Databases: Amazon RDS and other managed SQL databases provide RDS high availability options for automatically deploying databases with a standby replica in a different Availability Zone.
  3. Storage Services: Amazon storage services, such as S3, EFS, and EBS, provide built-in high availability options. S3 and EFS automatically store data across different Availability Zones, while EBS enables the deployment of snapshots to different Availability Zones.

In the sections that follow, we’ll look more closely at the aforementioned dimensions and how AWS high availability may be applied to them.

AWS High Availability for EC2 Instances

Amazon EC2 lets you achieve a reasonably good level of high availability and resilience by using an Elastic Load Balancer, Auto Scaled AWS Environment, and Availability Zones built into the database cluster. The description of these components is as follows:

  • Elastic Load Balancing allows you to launch several EC2 instances and spread traffic judiciously between them.
  • Availability Zones allow you to distribute EC2 instances across many locations, reducing the risk of a single point of failure.
  • Auto Scaling detects load increase and dynamically adds new instances.

To reap the benefits of high availability in Amazon EC2, it is recommended that you run EC2 instances in multiple Availability Zones (AZs). In case one of these zones becomes unavailable due to natural circumstances or power outage, Elastic Load Balancer can reroute traffic to operational AZ. At the same time, Auto Scaling automatically increases the number of instances to meet your high traffic demands. This can be understood from the figure displayed below.

AWS Compute High Availability: AWS High Availability | Hevo Data
Image Source: Cloud Central NetApp

AWS High Availability for SQL Databases on Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service is a collection of Managed Relational Database Services (RDBMS) running on the cloud. This functionality creates a fast & consistent input & output performance, and AWS RDS high availability for different database engines like MySQL, AWS Aurora, Oracle Database, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server. 

To achieve RDS high availability, Amazon supports two easy-to-use options.

  • Amazon RDS Multi-AZ Deployments: In Multi-AZ deployments, Amazon RDS automatically generates a primary DB instance and synchronously replicates the data to a standby instance in a separate Availability Zone. This deployment is applicable for MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQL Server database (DB) instances.

    In the event of an infrastructure failure, Amazon RDS automatically switches to the backup database instance. Your application may restart the database function without the requirement for human administrative intervention because the endpoint for your DB instance stays the same after a failover.
  • Multi-AZ Failover For Amazon Aurora Cluster: By duplicating your data six times across three Availability Zones, Amazon Aurora for PostgreSQL and MySQL engines boost availability. This implies that a failure of an Availability Zone in your DB cluster will result in no data loss and just a temporary service outage.

    You also have the option of running one or more Replicas in an Amazon Aurora DB cluster. RDS automatically promotes an existing Aurora Replica to be the new primary instance and changes the server endpoint if the primary instance in the DB cluster fails, so your application may continue to run without any manual involvement.

    When a problem is identified and no Replicas have been deployed, RDS will immediately generate a new replacement DB instance for you, hence delivering AWS RDS high availability for all your needs.
AWS Databases High Availability: AWS High Availability | Hevo Data
Image Source: Amazon AWS

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AWS High Availability for Storage Services

The last dimension of our AWS high availability guide is storage services. Amazon Storage Services comprise reliable, scalable, and secure cloud storage services like Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), Amazon FSx, and Amazon Elastic Book Store (EBS).

  • Amazon Simple Storage Services (S3) is an AWS Object Storage Solution offering secure, durable, and scalable object storage for IT teams and developers. Amazon S3’s standard storage offers 99.99% availability for object storage with 99.999999999% durability.
  • Amazon Elastic File Storage (EFS) provides a managed file storage solution for NFS file systems on Linux. EFS offers a Service Level Agreement of four-nine availability (99.99%), otherwise between 10-100% of the service fee is discounted.
  • Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) is a block storage service that is designed to work with Amazon EC2 instances and is highly scalable and high-performing. At any size, it can manage high-throughput and transaction-intensive applications. You can create an EBS volume in another Availability Zone and attach it to additional instances in that Availability Zone. You may also take snapshots and restore them in a different Availability Zone within the same area.
  • Amazon FSx is a feature-rich, high-performance file system in the cloud. Amazon FSx protects your data against component failure by automatically replicating it inside or across AWS Availability Zones, continually monitoring for hardware faults, and immediately replacing infrastructure components or switching to a stand-by file server in the case of a failure.

Conclusion

To recapitulate, this blog introduced you to the fault-tolerant systems of AWS. You learned about the diverse array of AWS services in three different dimensions: compute, database, and storage. These solutions help you to avoid degradation and points of failure. AWS high availability and low-cost implementations involve minimal human intervention and low up-front financial investments, which makes AWS the best option for building your fault-tolerant software systems.

Just like Amazon Web Services provides services and infrastructure to build reliable, fault-tolerant, and highly available systems in the cloud, Hevo Data provides No-Code Automation and Data Pipeline creation tools to build your own fault-tolerant, reliable, and zero-data loss Data Pipelines in the cloud. 

Hevo Data is a comprehensive ETL platform that allows you to migrate data from 100+ Data Sources like Amazon S3, Amazon Relational Database Services like Amazon RDS on PostgreSQL, Amazon RDS on MySQL, Oracle on Amazon RDS, MySQL Amazon Aurora, and many more. Our connector inventory now includes 40+ Free Data Sources from which you may obtain and move data without incurring any costs.

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Hevo can connect your frequently used applications to Data Warehouses like Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Google BigQuery, Firebolt, or even Database Destinations like PostgreSQL, MySQL, or MS SQL Server in a matter of minutes. Using Hevo requires little to no training, and you will be able to set up your Data Pipelines without any help from your engineering teams. 

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Have any questions on AWS high availability components? Do let us know in the comment section below. Also, share any other AWS high availability services or features you’d want us to cover. We’d be happy to know your opinions.

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