Working with backups - Amazon FSx for Windows File Server
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Working with backups

With Amazon FSx, backups are file-system-consistent, highly durable, and incremental. Each backup contains all of the information that is necessary to create a new file system, effectively restoring a point-in-time snapshot of the file system. To ensure file system consistency, Amazon FSx uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) in Microsoft Windows. To ensure high durability, Amazon FSx stores backups in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Amazon FSx backups are incremental, whether they are generated using the automatic daily backup or the user-initiated backup feature. This means that only the data on the file system that has changed after your most recent backup is saved. This minimizes the time required to create the backup and saves on storage costs by not duplicating data.

At some point during the backup process, storage I/O may be suspended briefly, typically for a few seconds. Because the VSS service needs to flush any cached writes to disk before resuming I/O, the duration of the pause may be longer if your workload has a large amount of write operations per second (DataWriteOperations). Most end users and applications will experience this I/O suspension as a brief I/O pause. Your applications may have different sensitivity to timeout settings depending on how they are configured.

Creating regular backups for your file system is a best practice that complements the replication that Amazon FSx for Windows File Server performs for your file system. Amazon FSx backups help support your backup retention and compliance needs. Working with Amazon FSx backups is easy, whether it's creating backups, copying a backup, restoring a file system from a backup, or deleting a backup. Note that in order to view usage for a single file system backup, you will need to enable tags for that specific backup and enable tag-based billing reporting.

Working with automatic daily backups

By default, Amazon FSx takes an automatic daily backup of your file system. These automatic daily backups occur during the daily backup window that was established when you created the file system. When you choose your daily backup window, we recommend that you choose a convenient time of the day. This time ideally is outside of the normal operating hours for the applications that use the file system.

Automatic daily backups are kept for a certain period of time, known as a retention period. When you create a file system in the Amazon FSx console, the default automatic daily backup retention period is 30 days. The default retention period is different in the Amazon FSx API and CLI. You can set the retention period to be between 0–90 days. Setting the retention period to 0 (zero) days turns off automatic daily backups. Automatic daily backups are deleted when the file system is deleted.


Setting the retention period to 0 days means that your file system is never automatically backed up. We highly recommend that you use automatic daily backups for file systems that have any level of critical functionality associated with them.

You can use the Amazon CLI or one of the Amazon SDKs to change the backup window and backup retention period for your file systems. Use the UpdateFileSystem API operation or the update-file-system CLI command. For more information, see Walkthrough 3: Update an existing file system.

Working with user-initiated backups

With Amazon FSx, you can manually take backups of your file systems at any time. You can do so using the Amazon FSx console, API, or the Amazon Command Line Interface (Amazon CLI). Your user-initiated backups of Amazon FSx file systems never expire, and they are available for as long as you want to keep them. User-initiated backups are retained even after you delete the file system that was backed up. You can delete user-initiated backups only by using the Amazon FSx console, API, or CLI. They are never automatically deleted by Amazon FSx. For more information, see Deleting backups.

If a backup is initiated while the file system is being modified (such as during an update to throughput capacity, or during file system maintenance), the backup request is queued and will resume when the activity is complete.

Creating user-initiated backups

The following procedure guides you through how to create a user-initiated backup in the Amazon FSx console for an existing file system.

To create a user-initiated file system backup
  1. Open the Amazon FSx console at

  2. From the console dashboard, choose the name of the file system that you want to back up.

  3. From Actions, choose Create backup.

  4. In the Create backup dialog box that opens, provide a name for your backup. Backup names can be a maximum of 256 Unicode characters, including letters, white space, numbers, and the special characters . + - = _ : /

  5. Choose Create backup.

You have now created your file system backup. You can find a table of all your backups in the Amazon FSx console by choosing Backups in the left side navigation. You can search for the name you gave your backup, and the table filters to only show matching results.

When you create a user-initiated backup as this procedure described, it has the type USER_INITIATED, and it has the CREATING status until it is fully available.

Using Amazon Backup with Amazon FSx

Amazon Backup is a simple and cost-effective way to protect your data by backing up your Amazon FSx file systems. Amazon Backup is a unified backup service designed to simplify the creation, copying, restoration, and deletion of backups, while providing improved reporting and auditing. Amazon Backup makes it easier to develop a centralized backup strategy for legal, regulatory, and professional compliance. Amazon Backup also makes protecting your Amazon storage volumes, databases, and file systems simpler by providing a central place where you can do the following:

  • Configure and audit the Amazon resources that you want to back up.

  • Automate backup scheduling.

  • Set retention policies.

  • Copy backups across Amazon Regions and across Amazon accounts.

  • Monitor all recent backup, copy, and restore activity.

Amazon Backup uses the built-in backup functionality of Amazon FSx. Backups taken from the Amazon Backup console have the same level of file system consistency and performance, and the same restore options as backups taken through the Amazon FSx console. Backups taken from Amazon Backup are incremental relative to any other Amazon FSx backups you take, either user-initiated or automatic.

If you use Amazon Backup to manage these backups, you gain additional functionality, such as unlimited retention options and the ability to create scheduled backups as frequently as every hour. In addition, Amazon Backup retains your immutable backups even after the source file system is deleted. This protects against accidental or malicious deletion.

Backups taken by Amazon Backup are considered user-initiated backups, and they count toward the user-initiated backup quota for Amazon FSx. You can see and restore backups taken by Amazon Backup in the Amazon FSx console, CLI, and API. However, you can't delete backups taken by Amazon Backup in the Amazon FSx console, CLI, or API. For more information about how to use Amazon Backup to back up your Amazon FSx file systems, see Working with Amazon FSx File Systems in the Amazon Backup Developer Guide.

Copying backups

You can use Amazon FSx to manually copy backups within the same Amazon account to another Amazon Region (cross-Region copies) or within the same Amazon Region (in-Region copies). You can make cross-Region copies only within the same Amazon partition. You can create user-initiated backup copies using the Amazon FSx console, Amazon CLI, or API. When you create a user-initiated backup copy, it has the type USER_INITIATED.

You can also use Amazon Backup to copy backups across Amazon Regions and across Amazon accounts. Amazon Backup is a fully managed backup management service that provides a central interface for policy-based backup plans. With its cross-account management, you can automatically use backup policies to apply backup plans across the accounts within your organization.

Cross-Region backup copies are particularly valuable for cross-Region disaster recovery. You take backups and copy them to another Amazon Region so that in the event of a disaster in the primary Amazon Region, you can restore from backup and recover availability quickly in the other Amazon Region. You can also use backup copies to clone your file dataset to another Amazon Region or within the same Amazon Region. You make backup copies within the same Amazon account (cross-Region or in-Region) by using the Amazon FSx console, Amazon CLI, or Amazon FSx API. You can also use Amazon Backup to perform backup copies, either on-demand or policy-based.

Cross-account backup copies are valuable for meeting your regulatory compliance requirements to copy backups to an isolated account. They also provide an additional layer of data protection to help prevent accidental or malicious deletion of backups, loss of credentials, or compromise of Amazon KMS keys. Cross-account backups support fan-in (copy backups from multiple primary accounts to one isolated backup copy account) and fan-out (copy backups from one primary account to multiple isolated backup copy accounts).

You can make cross-account backup copies by using Amazon Backup with Amazon Organizations support. Account boundaries for cross-account copies are defined by Amazon Organizations policies. For more information about using Amazon Backup to make cross-account backup copies, see Creating backup copies across Amazon Web Services accounts in the Amazon Backup Developer Guide.

Backup copy limitations

The following are some limitations when you copy backups:

  • Cross-Region backup copies are supported only between any two commercial Amazon Regions, between the China (Beijing) and China (Ningxia) Regions, and between the Amazon GovCloud (US-East) and Amazon GovCloud (US-West) Regions, but not across those sets of Regions.

  • Cross-Region backup copies are not supported in opt-in Regions.

  • You can make in-Region backup copies within any Amazon Region.

  • The source backup must have a status of AVAILABLE before you can copy it.

  • You cannot delete a source backup if it is being copied. There might be a short delay between when the destination backup becomes available and when you are allowed to delete the source backup. You should keep this delay in mind if you retry deleting a source backup.

  • You can have up to five backup copy requests in progress to a single destination Amazon Region per account.

Permissions for cross-Region backup copies

You use an IAM policy statement to grant permissions to perform a backup copy operation. To communicate with the source Amazon Region to request a cross-Region backup copy, the requester (IAM role or IAM user) must have access to the source backup and the source Amazon Region.

You use the policy to grant permissions to the CopyBackup action for the backup copy operation. You specify the action in the policy's Action field, and you specify the resource value in the policy's Resource field, as in the following example.

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": "fsx:CopyBackup", "Resource": "arn:aws:fsx:*:111111111111:backup/*" } ] }

For more information on IAM policies, see Policies and permissions in IAM in the IAM User Guide.

Full and incremental copies

When you copy a backup to a different destination Amazon Region or destination Amazon account from the source backup, the first copy is a full backup copy, even if you use the same KMS key to encrypt both source and destination copies of the backup.

After the first backup copy, all subsequent backup copies to the same destination Region within the same Amazon account are incremental, provided that you haven't deleted all previously-copied backups in that Region and have been using the same Amazon KMS key. If either condition isn't met, the copy operation results in a full (not incremental) backup copy.

  1. Open the Amazon FSx console at

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Backups.

  3. In the Backups table, choose the backup that you want to copy, and then choose Copy backup.

  4. In the Settings section, do the following:

    • In the Destination Region list, choose a destination Amazon Region to copy the backup to. The destination can be in another Amazon Region (cross-Region copy) or within the same Amazon Region (in-Region copy).

    • (Optional) Select Copy Tags to copy tags from the source backup to the destination backup. If you select Copy Tags and also add tags at step 6, all the tags are merged.

  5. For Encryption, choose the Amazon KMS encryption key to encrypt the copied backup.

  6. For Tags - optional, enter a key and value to add tags for your copied backup. If you add tags here and also selected Copy Tags at step 4, all the tags are merged.

  7. Choose Copy backup.

Your backup is copied within the same Amazon account to the selected Amazon Region.

  • Use the copy-backup CLI command or the CopyBackup API operation to copy a backup within the same Amazon account, either across an Amazon Region or within an Amazon Region.

    The following command copies a backup with an ID of backup-0abc123456789cba7 from the us-east-1 Region.

    aws fsx copy-backup \ --source-backup-id backup-0abc123456789cba7 \ --source-region us-east-1

    The response shows the description of the copied backup.

    You can view your backups on the Amazon FSx console or programmatically using the describe-backups CLI command or the DescribeBackups API operation.

Restoring backups

You can use an available backup to create a new file system, effectively restoring a point-in-time snapshot of another file system. You can restore a backup using the console, Amazon CLI, or one of the Amazon SDKs. Restoring a backup to a new file system takes the same amount of time as creating a new file system. The data restored from the backup is lazy-loaded onto the file system, during which time you will experience slightly higher latency.

To ensure that users can continue to access the restored file system, make sure that the Active Directory domain associated with the restored file system is the same as that of the original file system, or is trusted by the AD domain of the original file system. For more information about Active Directory, see Working with Microsoft Active Directory in FSx for Windows File Server.

The following procedure guides you through how to restore a backup using the console to create a new file system.


You can only restore your backup to a file system of the same deployment type and storage capacity as the original. You can increase your restored file system's storage capacity after it becomes available. For more information, see Managing storage capacity.

To restore a file system from a backup
  1. Open the Amazon FSx console at

  2. From the console dashboard, choose Backups from the left side navigation.

  3. Choose the backup that you want to restore from the Backups table, and then choose Restore backup.

    Doing so opens the file system creation wizard. This wizard is identical to the standard file system creation wizard, except the Deployment type and Storage capacity are already set and can't be changed. However, you can change the throughput capacity, associated VPC, and other settings, and storage type. The storage type is set to SSD by default, but you can change it to HDD under the following conditions:

    • The file system deployment type is Multi-AZ or Single-AZ 2.

    • The storage capacity is at least 2,000 GiB.

  4. Complete the wizard as you do when you create a new file system.

  5. Choose Review and create.

  6. Review the settings you chose for your Amazon FSx file system, and then choose Create file system.

You have restored from a backup, and a new file system is now being created. When its status changes to AVAILABLE, you can use the file system as normal.

Deleting backups

Deleting a backup is a permanent, unrecoverable action. Any data in a deleted backup is also deleted. Do not delete a backup unless you're sure you won't need that backup again in the future. You can't delete backups taken by Amazon Backup, which have type Amazon Backup, in the Amazon FSx console, CLI, or API.

To delete a backup
  1. Open the Amazon FSx console at

  2. From the console dashboard, choose Backups from the left side navigation.

  3. Choose the backup that you want to delete from the Backups table, and then choose Delete backup.

  4. In the Delete backups dialog box that opens, confirm that the ID of the backup identifies the backup that you want to delete.

  5. Confirm that the check box is checked for the backup that you want to delete.

  6. Choose Delete backups.

Your backup and all included data are now permanently and unrecoverably deleted.

Size of backups

Backups size is determined using the used storage in the file system, rather than the total provisioned storage capacity. The size of your backups will depend on the used storage capacity as well as the amount of data churn on your file system. Depending on how your data is distributed across the file system’s storage volumes and how often it changes, your total backup usage may be greater or less than your used storage capacity. When you delete a backup, only the data unique to that backup is removed. With Amazon FSx the storage efficiency savings of deduplication and compression apply not only to your primary SSD/HDD storage, but also to backups.

In order to provide file-system-consistent, durable, and incremental backups, Amazon FSx backs up data at the block level. The data on the file system's storage volumes may be stored across multiple blocks depending on the pattern that they were written or over-written in. As a result, the total size of backup usage may not match the exact size of the files and directories on the file system.

Your overall backup usage and cost can be found in the Amazon Billing Dashboard or Amazon Cost Management Console. To calculate the size and cost of individual file system backups, you can tag individual backups and enable tag-based billing reporting.