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December 21, 2006

My new backup solution using Amazon S3

Posted in: News

I, like most people, am sloppy in my backup procedures. Every now and then I created a tar archive of the important stuff and burned it to a DVD for safekeeping. But the time in between those backups was usually more than six months. I was looking for a cheap solution that would solve all my problems. Buying extra external harddisks came to mind but as it is now they would mostly be used to store more movies.

Untill I found out earlier this week about the solution Alex King (of wordpress fame) came up with for his backups. The Amazon Simple Storage Service or Amazon S3 for short. It’s like a very cheap online disk using the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. So it looks like it will be there for some time. It’s cheap as well, $0.15 per GB/Month and $0.20 per GB of traffic. Someone else has done the math for us and it looks like it is cheaper than buying external disks. At least it will be more reliable. The only downside is the speed at which I can up or download information.

The only thing I didn’t like about Alex’s setup was the use of JungleDisk. While doing some googling I found other solutions that could help me in my accomplish a simple off-site backup solution. I really liked the s3sync.rb solution as it resembles the rsync command which I know how to use. The only problem was that it used the language Ruby which was a big unknown to me. I’ve heard and read about Ruby on rails for some time now but never had the urge to try it out. But I was willing to give it a go.

I’ve got it all working and documented now so you can use this service as well. Currently I’m backing up like never before. The first time I ran the backup it took forever, but then after that first time only the new or altered files would be uploaded saving a lot of time and bandwidth. I’m currently backing up all my websites and the virtual maildirs on my server on a daily basis. This is about 200 MB of information which will cost my about $0.02 a Month to store plus say $0.15 for data transfer fees. Which means that I will have a full secure online backup which I can access from anywhere all the time for say $0.25 a Month !

Next up I’m going to write some scripts to upload my iPhoto stuff as well.

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