Restore testing - AWS Backup

Restore testing

Restore testing, a feature offered by AWS Backup, provides automated and periodic evaluation of restore viability, as well as the ability to monitor restore job duration times.


First, you create a restore testing plan where you provide a name for your plan, the frequency for your restore tests, and the target start time. Then, you assign the resources you want to include in your plan. You then choose to include specific or random recovery points in your test. AWS Backup backup intelligently infers the metadata that will be needed for your restore job to be successful.

When the scheduled time in your plan arrives, AWS Backup starts restore jobs based on your plan and monitors the time taken to complete the restore.

After the restore test plan completes its run, you can use the results to show compliance for organizational or governance requirements such as the successful completion of restore test scenarios or the restore job completion time.

Optionally, you can use Restore testing validation to confirm the restore test results.

Once the optional validation completes or the validation window closes, AWS Backup deletes the resources involved with the restore test, and the resources will be deleted in accordance with service SLAs.

At the end of the testing process, you can view the results and the completion time of the tests.

Restore testing compared with restore process

Restore testing runs restore jobs in the same way as on-demand restores and uses the same recovery points (backups) as an on-demand restore. You will see calls to StartRestoreJob in CloudTrail (if opted-in) for each job started by restore testing

However, there are a few differences between the operation of a schedule restore test and an on-demand restore operation:

Restore Testing Restore


Recommended best practice is to designate an account to be used for restore tests

You can restore resources from an account

AWS Backup Audit Manager

Can turn on a control to confirm if a restore test meets specified restore objectives


Periodically as part of a scheduled plan.

On demand


Available in all commercial Regions in which AWS Backup operates except Israel (Tel Aviv)

Not available AWS GovCloud (US-East), AWS GovCloud (US-West), China (Beijing), and China (Ningxia).

Available in all commercial Regions in which AWS Backup operates


The resource types you can assign to your testing plan include: Aurora, Amazon DocumentDB, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon EBS, Amazon EC2, Amazon EFS, Amazon FSx (Lustre, ONTAP, OpenZFS, Windows), Amazon Neptune, Amazon RDS, and Amazon S3.

All resources can be restored.


Once the restore testing job is completed, the restored resource is deleted after the Restore testing validation window finishes.

Once the restore job is completed, the restored version of the resource remains.


For resource types which support tag on restore, testing applies tags on restore.

Tags are optional for supported resources.

Restore testing management

You can create, view, update, or delete a restore testing plan in the AWS Backup console.

You can use AWS CLI to programmatically carry out operations for restore testing plans. Each CLI is specific to the AWS service in which it originates. Commands should be prepended with aws backup.

Data deletion

When a restore test is finished, AWS Backup begins deleting the resources involved in the test. This deletion is not instantaneous. Each resource has an underlying configuration that determines how those resources are stored and lifecycled. For example, if Amazon S3 buckets are part of the restore test, lifecycle rules are added to the bucket. It can take up to several days for the rules to execute and for the bucket and its objects to be fully deleted, but charges will only occur for these resources until the day when the lifecycle rule initiates (by default this is 1 days). Speed of deletion will depend upon the resource type.

Resources that are part of a restore testing plan contain a tag called awsbackup-restore-test. If a user removes this tag, AWS Backup cannot delete the resource at the end of the testing period and the user will have to delete it manually instead.

To check why resources may not have been deleted as expected, you can search through failed jobs in the console or use the command line interface to call the API request DescribeRestoreJob to retrieve deletion status messages.

Backup plans (non-restore testing plans) ignore resources created by restore testing (those with tag awsbackup-restore-test or a name starting with awsbackup-restore-test).

Cost control

Restore testing has a cost per restore test. Depending on what resources are included in your restore testing plan, the restore jobs that are part of the plan may also have a cost. See AWS Backup Pricing for full details.

When you set up a restore testing plan for the first time, you may find it beneficial to include a minimum number of resource types and protected resources to familiarize yourself with the feature, the process, and the average costs involved. You can update a plan after its creation to add more resource types and protected resources.

Create a restore testing plan

A restore testing plan has two parts: plan creation and assigning resources.

When you use the console, these parts are sequential. In the first part, you set the name, frequency, and start times. During the second part you assign resources to your testing plan.

When using AWS CLI and API, first use create-restore-testing-plan. After you receive a successful response and the plan has been created, then use create-restore-testing-selection, for each resource type to include in your plan.

When you create a restore testing plan, we create a service-linked role for you. For more information, see Using roles for restore testing.

Part I: Create a restore testing plan using the console
  1. Open the AWS Backup console at

  2. In the left-hand navigation, locate Restore testing and select it.

  3. Choose create restore testing plan.

  4. General

    1. Name: Type in a name for your new restore testing plan. The name cannot be changed after creation. The name must consist of only alphanumeric characters and underscores.

    2. Test frequency: Choose the frequency at which the restore tests will run.

    3. Start Time: Set the time (in hour and minute) you prefer the test to begin. You can also set the local time zone in which you want the restore testing plan to operate.

    4. Start within: This value (in hours) is the period of time in which the restore test is designated to begin. AWS Backup makes a best effort to commence all designated restore jobs during the start within time and randomizes start times within this period.

  5. Recovery point selection: Here you set the source vaults, the recovery point range, and selection criteria for which recovery points (backups) you want to be part of the plan.

    1. Source vaults: Choose whether to include all available vaults or just specific vaults to help filter which recovery points can be in your plan. If you choose specific vaults, select from the drop down menu the vaults you wish to include.

    2. Eligible recovery points: Specify the time frame from which recovery points will be selected. You can select 1 to 365 days, 1 to 52 weeks, 1 to 12 months, or 1 year.

    3. Selection criteria: Once your date range of recovery points is specified, you can choose whether to include the latest one or one at random in your plan. You may wish to choose a random one to gauge the general health of recovery points at more regular frequency in case a restore to an older version is ever warranted.

    4. Point-in-time recovery points: If your plan includes resources that have continuous backup (point-in-time-restore/PITR) points, you can check this box to have your testing plan include continuous backups as eligible recovery points (see Feature availability by resource for which resources types have this feature).

  6. (optional) Tags added to restore testing plan: You can choose to add up to 50 tags to your restore testing plan. Each tag must be added separately. To add a new tag, select Add new tag.

Part II: Assign resources to the plan using the console

In this section, you choose the resources you have backed up to include in your restore testing plan. You will choose the name of the resource assignment, choose the role you use for the restore test, and set the retention period before cleanup. Then, you will select the resource type, select the scope, and optionally refine your selection with tags.


To navigate back to the restore testing plan to which you want to add resources, you can go to the AWS Backup console, select Restore testing, then find your preferred testing plan and select it.

  1. General

    1. Resource assignment name: Input a name for this resource assignment using a string of alphanumeric characters and underscores, with no white spaces.

    2. Restore IAM role: The test must use an Identity and Access Management (IAM) role you designate. You can choose the AWS Backup default role or a different one. If the AWS Backup default does not yet exist as you finish this process, AWS Backup will create it for you automatically with the necessary permissions. The IAM role you choose for restore testing must contain the permissions found in AWSBackupServicePolicyForRestores.

    3. Retention period before cleanup: During a restore test, backup data is temporarily restored. By default, this data is deleted after the test is complete. You have the option to delay deletion of this data if you wish to run validation on the restore.

      If you plan to run validation, select retain for a specific number of hours and input a value from 1 to 168 hours, inclusive. Note that validation can be run programmatically but not from the AWS Backup console.

  2. Protected resources:

    1. Select resource type: Select which resource types and the scope of which backups of those types to include in the resource testing plan. Each plan can contain multiple resource types, but each type of resource must be assigned to the plan individually.

    2. Resource selection scope: Once the type is chosen, select if you want to include all available protected resources of that type or if you want to include specific protected resources only.

    3. (optional) Refine resource selection using tags: If your backups have tags, you can filter by tags to select specific protected resources. Enter the tag key, the condition for this key to be or not to be included, and the value for the key. Then, select the Add tags button.

      Tags on protected resources are evaluated by checking the tags on the latest recovery point within the backup vault containing the protected resource.

  3. Restore parameters: Certain resources require specifying parameters in preparation for a restore job. In most cases, AWS Backup will infer the values based on the stored backup.

    It is recommended in most cases to maintain these parameters; however, you can change the values by choosing a different selection from the dropdown menu. Examples where changing the values may be optimal can include overriding encryption keys, Amazon FSx settings where data cannot be inferred, and creation of subnets.

    For example, if an RDS database is one of the resource types you assign to your restore testing plan, parameters such as availability zone, database name, database instance class, and VPC security group will appear with inferred values you can change if applicable.


The CLI command CreateRestoreTestingPlan is used to make a restore testing plan.

The testing plan must contain:

  • RestoreTestingPlan, which must contain a unique RestoreTestingPlanName

  • ScheduleExpression cron expression

  • RecoveryPointSelection

    Though named similarly, this is NOT the same as RestoreTestingSelection.

    RecoveryPointSelection has five parameters (three required and two optional). The values you specify determine which recovery point is included in the restore test. You must indicate with Algorithm if you want the latest recovery point within your SelectionWindowDays or if you want a random recovery point, and you must indicate through IncludeVaults from which vaults the recovery points can be chosen.

A selection can have one or more protected resource ARNs or can have one or more conditions, but it cannot have not both.

You can also include:

Use CLI command create-restore-testing-plan.

Once the plan has been created successfully, you need to assign resources to it using create-restore-testing-selection.

This consists of RestoreTestingSelectionName, ProtectedResourceType, and one of the following:

  • ProtectedResourceArns

  • ProtectedResourceConditions

Each protected resource type can have one single value. A restore testing selection can include a wildcard value ("*") for ProtectedResourceArns along with ProtectedResourceConditions. Alternatively, you can include up to 30 specific protected resource ARNs in ProtectedResourceArns.

Recovery point determination

Each time a testing plan runs (according to the frequency and start time you specified), one eligible recovery point per protected resource in selection is restored by the restore test. If no recovery points for a resource meet the recovery point selection criteria, that resource will not be included in the test.

A recovery point for a protected resource in a testing selection is eligible if meets the criteria for the specified time frame and included vaults in the restore testing plan.

A protected resource is selected if the resource testing selection includes the resource type and if either of the following conditions are true:

  • The resource ARN is specified in that selection; or,

  • The tag conditions on that selection match the tags on the latest recovery point for the resource

Update a restore testing plan

You can update parts of your restore testing plan and the resource selections within it through the console or AWS CLI.

Update restore testing plans and selections in the console

When you view the restore testing plan details page in the console, you can edit (update) many of the settings of your plan. To do this,

  1. Open the AWS Backup console at

  2. In the left-hand navigation, locate Restore testing and select it.

  3. Select the Edit button.

  4. Adjust the frequency, the start time, and the time the test will begin within which the test will begin after the chosen start time.

  5. Save your changes.

Update restore testing plans and selections through AWS CLI

Requests UpdateRestoreTestingPlan and UpdateRestoreTestingSelection can be used to send partial updates to a specified plan or selection. The names cannot be changed, but you can update other parameters. Include only parameters you wish to change in each request.

Before sending an update request, use GetRestoreTestingPlan and GetRestoreTestingSelection to determine if your RestoreTestingSelection contains specific ARNs or if it uses the wildcard and conditions.

If your restore testing selection has specified ARNs (instead of wildcard) and you wish to change it to a wildcard with conditions, the update request must include both the ARN wildcard and the conditions. A selection can have either protected resource ARNs or use the wildcard with conditions, but it cannot have both.

View existing restore testing plans

View details about an existing restore testing plan and assigned resources in the console
  1. Open the AWS Backup console at

  2. Select Restore testing from the left-hand navigation. The display shows your restore testing plans. The plans are displayed by default by last runtime.

  3. Select the link from a plan to see its details, including a summary of the plan, its name, frequency, start time, and start within value.

You can also view the protected resources within this plan, the restore testing jobs from the most recent 30 days included in this plan, and any tags you can created to be part of this testing plan.


Get details about an existing restore testing plan and testing selection using the command line

View restore testing jobs

View existing restore testing jobs in the console

Restore testing jobs are included on the restore jobs page.

  1. Open the AWS Backup console at

  2. Navigate to Jobs page.

    Alternatively, you can select Restore testing, then select a restore testing plan to see its details and the jobs associated with the plan.

  3. Select the Restore jobs tab.

    On this page, you can view the status, restore time, restore type, resource ID, resource type, restore testing plan to which the job belongs, the creation time, and the recovery point ID of the restore job.

    Jobs included in a restore testing plan have the restore type Test.

Restore testing jobs have several status categories:

  • A status type that requires attention is underlined; hover over the status to see additional details if they are available.

  • A validation status will display if Restore testing validation has been initiated on the test (not available within the console).

  • Deletion status notes the status of the data generated by a restore test. There are three possible deletion statuses: Successful, Deleting, and Failed.

    If a restore test job deletion failed, you will need to remove the resource manually since the restore testing flow could not complete it automatically. Often, a failed deletion is triggered if the tag awsbackup-restore-test is removed from the resource.

View existing restore testing jobs from the command line

Delete a restore testing plan

Delete restore testing plan in the console
  1. Go to View existing restore testing plans to see your current restore testing plans.

  2. On the restore testing plan details page, delete a plan by selecting Delete.

  3. After you select delete, a pop-up confirmation screen will appear to ensure you want to delete your plan. On this screen, the name of your specific restore testing plan will be displayed in bold. To proceed, type in the exact case-sensitive name of the testing plan, including any underscores, dashes, and periods.

    If the option for Delete restore testing plan is not selectable, re-enter the name until it matches the displayed name. Once it is an exact match, the option to delete the restore testing plan will become selectable.

Delete restore testing plan through the command line

The CLI command DeleteRestoreTestingSelection can be used to delete a restore testing selection. Include RestoreTestingPlanName and RestoreTestingSelectionName in the request.

All testing selections associated with a testing plan need to be deleted before you delete the testing plan. Once all testing selections have been deleted, you can use the API request DeleteRestoreTestingPlan to delete a restore testing plan. You need to include RestoreTestingPlanName.

Audit restore testing

Restore testing integrations with AWS Backup Audit manager to help you evaluate if a restored resource completed within your target restore time.

For more information, see Restore time for resources meet target control in AWS Backup Audit Manager controls and remediation.

Restore testing quotas and parameters

  • 100 restore testing plans

  • 50 tags can be added to each restore testing plan

  • 30 selections per plan

  • 30 protected resource ARNs per selection

  • 30 protected resource conditions per selection (including those within both StringEquals and StringNotEquals)

  • 30 vault selectors per selection

  • Max selection window days: 365 days

  • Start window hours: Min: 1 hour; Max: 168 hours (7 days)

  • Max plan name length: 50 characters

  • Max selection name length: 50 characters

Additional information regarding limits can be viewed at AWS Backup quotas.

Restore testing failure troubleshooting

If you have restore testing jobs with a restore status of Failed, the following reasons can help you determine the cause and remedy.

Error message(s) can be viewed in the AWS Backup console in the job status details page or by using the CLI commands list-restore-jobs-by-protected-resource or list-restore-jobs.

  1. Error: No default VPC for this user. GroupName is only supported for EC2-Classic and default VPC.

    Solution 1: Update your restore testing selection and override the parameter SubnetId. The AWS Backup console displays this parameter as "Subnet".

    Solution 2: Recreate the default VPC.

    Resource types affected: Amazon EC2

  2. Error: No subnets found for the default VPC [vpc]. Please specify a subnet.

    Solution 1: Update your restore testing selection and override the SubnetId restore parameter. The AWS Backup console displays this parameter as "Subnet".

    Solution 2: Create a default subnet in the default VPC.

    Resource types affected: Amazon EC2

  3. Error: No default subnet detected in VPC. Please contact AWS Support to recreate default Subnets.

    Solution 1: Update your restore testing selection and override the DBSubnetGroupName restore parameter. The AWS Backup console displays this parameter as Subnet group.

    Solution 2: Create a default subnet in the default VPC.

    Resource types affected: Amazon Aurora, Amazon DocumentDB, Amazon RDS, Neptune

  4. Error: IAM Role cannot be assumed by AWS Backup.

    Solution: The restore role must be assumable by AWS Backup. Either update the role's trust policy in IAM to allow it to be assumed by "" or update your restore testing selection to use a role that is assumable by AWS Backup.

    Resource types affected: all

  5. Error: Access denied to KMS key. or The specified AWS KMS key ARN does not exist, is not enabled or you do not have permissions to access it.

    Solution: Verify the following:

    1. The restore role has access to the AWS KMS key used to encrypt your backups and, if applicable, the KMS key used to encrypt the restored resource.

    2. The resource policies on the above KMS key(s) allow the restore role to access them.

    If the above conditions are not yet met, configure the restore role and the resource policies for appropriate access. Then, run the restore testing job again.

    Resource types affected: all

  6. Errors: User ARN is not authorized to perform action on resource because no identity based policy allows the action. or Access denied performing s3:CreateBucket on awsbackup-restore-test-xxxxxx.

    Solution: The restore role does not have adequate permissions. Update the permissions in IAM for the restore role.

    Resource types affected: all

  7. Errors: User ARN is not authorized to perform action on resource because no resource-based policy allows the action. or User ARN is not authorized to perform action on resource with an explicit deny in a resource based policy.

    Solution: The restore role does not have adequate access to the resource specified in the message. Update the resource policy on the resource mentioned.

    Resource types affected: all