Thursday, March 07, 2013

Amazon Glacier

My friend John Walker pointed me in the direction of a very inexpensive, very reliable computer backup service.  Most of the online backup services, like Carbonite or Norton, are designed for regular updates and run about $50-100 per year.  Amazon provides several different backup alternatives, but the one that was interesting to me as a phtographer is called Glacier.

Glacier is sold as a very inexpensive archival system. The idea is that you are backing things up that you probably won't need to get (barring some catastrophe), and if you do, it isn't a big hurry.  This is a perfect description of my 100+ GB of photos.  The great thing is that Glacier is incredibly cheap.

To start, you can read all about the service here.  You pay a small price to upload your files and then a tiny monthly fee to keep them there.  For my 100 GB, my upload fee will be about $1.  My monthly bill, at $.01 per GB, will be another $1.  For this, you get extremely reliable, secure backup.

The downsides are few.  First, you need a tool to do the uploads.  FastGlacier provides a free one with a priced upgrade if you want.  There are others.  Just do a quick Google on "Amazon Glacier Tools".  The second problem is that uploading tens or hundreds of gigabytes of data takes time.  Our Internet connection provides 15-30 Mb downloads, but only 1 Mb uploads.  I was thinking that I would just let it run for a few days and be done with it, but I quickly learned that the traffic interfered with our VoIP phone calls and our Netflix streaming.  Now uploads are a nighttime thing.

I like online backups because they provide a secure place to keep you data that doesn't get damaged if your house burns to the ground, floods, or anything similar.  Too many people either don't backup at all or backup and put it in their desk drawer. Too easy to lose everything!
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