Tools for backing stuff up

2008 January 6
by Karen

A while back I posted about using Amazon S3 to backup my data. I promised a follow-up post evaluating how it was all working. So here is my summary. It took me the better part of 2 months to get all my files uploaded to S3, but consider I was on the road most of Oct/Nov. So the time I could use to upload things was compressed. In the end I uploaded 110 GB of stuff. If I had to do it over again I’d try to do the upload on a faster connection, my Comcast bandwidth just doesn’t cut it when I’m uploading 2-3 GB at a time. The way I chose to deal with this was to kick off upload twice a day: before I went to sleep, and before I went to work. This meant that my household could use the Internet connection for other stuff (read- surfing) in the evening and I wasn’t tempted to obsessively watch the upload.

As far as cost, my biggest monthly bill so far was $7.00. But I just finished uploading over the holiday so we will see what January and February bills are like. They should be around $15.00. But time will tell.

Overall S3 works great as a backup once you get your stuff there. I also like the added bonus that I can get to my files, if I need to, from any computer that I’ve loaded JungleDisk on (the license allows you to load it on multiple machines). This came in handy a couple times when putting the finishing touches on the book.

That being said, JungleDisk and S3 aren’t the most effective way to get things from point A to B via the net. For that I use Box.net, which is IMHO, worth every penny of the annual subscription. I can use this to share files with others, like co-author Jason; or store them for myself in preparation for a road trip. Beats a USB flash drive which I have the tendency to lose.

Also, I purchased a  1 TB external hard drive that using my Airport Extreme I’ve networked. I’m in the processing of backing up all my spouse’s stuff there. The great thing about it is it is small and easily fits on the shelf in the closet in the office.

Having effective backups is extremely important when a considerable portion of your life (photos, music, movies, banking, books, etc) is electronic. The price of storage has come down considerably and there are many online backup options as well as a nice group of external hard drives ranging for 320 GB to 1 TB that are worth investing in to keep your stuff safe.

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