Sgamen Personal Tech

Data Backup Online - Jungle Disk

Over the past few months the Jungle Disk service has been mentioned in several of the tech podcasts I listen to (Buzz Out Load, Security Now) and I finally took some time yesterday to go and check it out.

I have to say, this seems like a great solution to the problem anyone who uses a digital camera is likely facing - where to backup all those valuable pictures.

A few years ago I tackled this problem by building a Linux server and putting in two 150GB hard drives that were mirrored. I used a SAMBA mount to make it so that all of my Windows based PCs would be able to read/write pictures and then the data would end up on both hard drives. That way the likelihood that both drives would fail at once is very low and we shouldn't lose our pictures that way. But this doesn't solve the problem of the house flooding or burning down.

To try and make us feel better about that we sent an external USB hard drive with my wife's parents who live in a different state that us. So they have our picture archive from 2000-2007, but we are now 3 months into 2008 and have another few hundred megabytes of pictures that we have taken of our family we just would hate to lose.

Jungle Disk seems like a good AND affordable answer. Jungle Disk is a software program that is a front end utilizing the Amazon S3 data storage service. Jungle Disk is only $20 and can be used on as many of your own computers as you want. Amazon S3 service has to be subscribed to independently and only costs $0.15 per gigabyte. Yep, that is fifteen cents! So, for my 63+ GB of pictures it is only going to cost me about $9.45 per month. From what I have seen this is by far the cheapest online data backup option out there.

There are other fees associated with the bandwidth used to put pictures up on the S3 servers as well as accessing the pictures, so setting up the backup is going to be more than the $9.45, but once that is done then the Jungle Disk software will do incremental backups (only have to send the new files that are added to my hard drives) and I think it is likely we will have our pictures backed up to servers on the Internet for about $10 a month.

I just signed up for the service yesterday, so I can't report exactly how well it works, but I can tell you the basics. Once you purchase Jungle Disk (purchase link on the site above) then you download a 1MB client for Windows and do the install. It sends you off to Amazon's site to sign up for an S3 account, and after you provide some of the information about your new S3 subscription then it maps a local drive on your computer to the data storage out on S3.

From there you can schedule a backup to be done of a specific directory, and even schedule it to happen every hour, every 6 hours, every day, etc.

So far my experience has been great. I have three years of photos that have gone up to the S3 data storage over the Internet in the past 12 hours or so.


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