The bulk of our recent development has delivered various virtual server platforms across Amazons superb EC2, which, on the back of last months outage has prompted an extra level of awareness for built in resilience.
Multi-zoned load balancing for web boxes is easily catered for using standard AWS tools, but what of SQL? Especially for a client budget restricted to the non-replicative self-contained simplicity of MS SQL Express (It's free for a reason).
Obviously your default SQL backups should be pre-configured as a matter of course (to S3), but as extra cover for potential outages, and to feed into your SLA, it's useful to have procedure(s) in place to get things back up and running should the worst happen. AWS provide a range of options covering AMI (Machine instance) replication and/or EBS volume snapshotting, both of which should be part of any cloud scenario, however as yet it offers no simple service for automation. The solution? How about an EBS Volume for SQL data attached to your main SQL Server and configured for hourly (?) snapshots using AutoSnappy.
AutoSnappy is a CRON based online subscription model which enables you to configure an extensive and comprehensively resilient volume snapshotting schedule from intervals of 1 minute upwards to day, hour, week and month. Pruning and monitoring are set using the same format with retention chosen as you see fit (For example you may wish to keep the last 20 newest shapshots). It's a great service, powerful in its simplicity whilst concurrently invaluable for the cover it provides.
So, the bottom line - cost. What price for such cloud resilience? How much would you pay to sleep at night knowing you could restore your virtual database platform in minutes rather than days (Or months?).
AutoSnappy is a ludicrously meagre $3 per month, which you have to agree, is most definitely a no brainer to end all no brainers. Sign up here - https://www.autosnappy.com/