Backups for Amazon EC2

You can perform backups automatically based on the configuration for a hypervisor or VM group, or manually for a VM group or a specific instance.

The first backup of an instance is always a full backup. By default, all subsequent backups are incremental, capturing any changes to instance data since the last backup.

You can recover instance data, even when the most recent backup was incremental.


If an instance fails to back up during an IntelliSnap backup of a VM group, the backup job is marked as completed with errors.

Changed Block Tracking (CBT) Based Backups

CBT-based backups have better performance for Amazon EC2 instances. You can use CBT with streaming backups and with the backup copy operation of IntelliSnap backups. By default, CBT is enabled when you create a new VM group. You can enable CBT for existing VM groups.

For more information about CBT for Amazon, see Changed Block Tracking for AWS.

Job Statuses for Backup Copy Operations

For Feature Release 19 and more recent feature releases, when an IntelliSnap backup includes multiple VMs, if a backup copy job for a specific VM cannot be completed, the backup copy job goes to pending and then retries the backup copy operation, up to the maximum number of job attempts that is configured for the Job Manager. (By default, the number of job attempts is 10.)

Any backup copy jobs that do not complete successfully after the maximum number of attempts are marked as Completed with Errors. If backup copy jobs for any VMs do not complete successfully after the maximum number of attempts, the associated IntelliSnap backup job is marked as Completed with Errors.

For service packs prior to Feature Release 19, if a backup copy operation was successful for any VM in an IntelliSnap backup job, the IntelliSnap backup job was marked as Completed with Errors if backup copy operations were unsuccessful for other VMs that were part of the IntelliSnap backup job, and any unsuccessful backup copy operations for the remaining VMs were not retried.

What Gets Backed Up

  • Amazon EC2 instances (whether they are turned on or turned off)

  • Instance EBS volumes

  • Volumes using default or custom encryption

What Does Not Get Backed Up

  • AMIs

  • Instance store volumes

  • Volumes that have an AWS Marketplace product code


A streaming backup or backup copy of an instance skips volumes that have an AWS Marketplace product code. If all the volumes for an instance have AWS Marketplace product codes, then the backup operation skips the entire instance. A backup operation that is performed using IntelliSnap does include volumes that have AWS Marketplace product codes.