Monday, March 10, 2008


JungleDisk - Reliable online storage powered by Amazon S3 ™

I have searched for years for a backup system that would work for me. I bet I'm not that unusual in my "requirements" -- these are not particularly difficult ones and some of them relate to my behaviors, which again, I believe are not very unusual (at least with regards to backing up my computer data...)

For me, to be useful, a backup system has to be:
  1. Automatic: This is why I am looking for a "system" rather than just doing it myself every time I create something new a valuable.

  2. Reliable: What's the purpose of using a backup system if it isn't reliable. I think many people have a false sense of security with their backup systems because they rarely try to recover files.

  3. Easy -- both to backup and recover: The backup system ought to be as "easy" as using the file management capabilities of the operating system -- and hopefully just an extension of that OS.

  4. Inexpensive: Even though I know that my data is very valuable, somehow I still think the backup system ought to be inexpensive.

  5. Done in the background: Again, even though it is important, backing up files doesn't seem like it ought to interfere with my use of the computer. I wish some virus protection systems would exhibit the same characteristics.

  6. Cross-platform: Although I have one principal computer I use, my family and I make use of several laptops, both PCs and Macs, as well as several servers. All of these machines should be backed up, not just my primary PC.
After stumbling along for many years, I have finally found a system that does all of this: JungleDisk. There are two really good parts of this system: The multiplatform client program that implements the logic of when and what to backup, and the backend storage component (Amazon's S3) which is a very inexpensive storage system charged for by the high integrity billing system of Amazon.

The net effect is that for the first time, I now have my pictures backed up properly -- in fact so well that as I travel, take pictures and download them to my laptop, to my delight these pictures are backed up to the Amazon file storage while I sleep. And, did I mention inexpensive? After the initial upload to the file server when I am charged for network bandwidth (not very much), all of my pictures from 2007 and 2008 (42Gbytes) are now being backed up for about $6.50/month which seems pretty good to me.

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