Subscribe to
NSLog(); Header Image

Backing Up to Amazon S3

I've heard of people using Amazon S3 to backup their home computers, and I've looked into doing this a few times… but isn't it incredibly expensive?

I just checked and I have 1050 GB I'd like to back up to another location (beyond the one on-site and one off-site location I have now).

Storage is 15 cents per gigabyte, so that's $157.50. Data transfer is $0.10 per GB, so that's another $105 for the first backup and, say, $5 any time I want to perform another backup.

So I'm looking at $260 for the first month and another $160+ every month I keep my data on S3?

Or have I brain farted somewhere, somehow?

11 Responses to "Backing Up to Amazon S3"

  1. I'm using Mozy for online backup. I have 140 GB currently backed up and it costs me about $50 a year (unlimited). They limit upload speed to 1 MB, which I can't reach anyway.

    There's a few other services like carbonite that do the same. Have you checked on all these?

  2. I only back up about 180GB and pay something like $14-20 a month. To me, its worth paying that much, sure I could buy a few 1TB drives every months for that price, but they are huge fucking hassle that I don't want to deal with.

    I would pay this much for the pure convienance alone. To top it off, I can never trust local disks as much as I could ever trust Amazon's infrastructure, and they--to me at least--seem the least likely online storage service to be swept out of existence in a matter of months.

    My personal strategy:

    * time machine backup of whole drive to a 1TB drive on my Airport Extreme
    * JungleDisk online backup of my whole home directory to encrypted S3
    * Blackblaze online backup of my whole home directory

  3. Just going through the same calcs, my numbers came out similar to yours. Mozy seems like better value, but found numerous horror stories about the restore process. A backup you can't restore isn't very useful.

  4. I'm using Backblaze- it takes a bit different approach than most backup solutions. It doesn't give you much control in the way of backups: it just does everything (excluding a few folders, primarily Applications and /dev).

    It costs $5 a month and is unlimited use. You browse your backups online and can either select files for download to restore, or pay them to send you DVD(s) or a USB hard-drive overnight; you don't even have to return the hard-drive.

    P.S.- If you really need to backup disallowed folders on Backblaze, just slap a symbolic link to Applications in your home folder.

  5. I suspect their definition of "backup their home computers" is different from yours 😉

  6. Horror stories? What horror stories? I've had to recover individual files with no problems. I figured if I had to recover all the data at once I would need to send them a hard drive.

  7. If you want to backup your media you are much better off doing it with hard drives and moving them back and forth to work rather than trying to do anything over the internet. Those backup places are designed for 10s of gigabytes. Not real storage backup.

    1. [quote comment="52556"]If you want to backup your media you are much better off doing it with hard drives and moving them back and forth to work rather than trying to do anything over the internet.[/quote]

      FWIW, I work from home, and most of the people who back up to S3 (that I've seen) are in similar situations: geeks with a lot of data.

  8. I have a lot of valuable data on my Linux servers. I find it worth it doing backups remotely. The common problem is lack of rigor and discipline in doing it regularly.

    Hence my setup -
    * CentOS server - cron job to backup applications (zimbra) into /backup/zimbra.
    * SecoBackup - to do backup /backup directory to Amazon S3 - daily backups. (SecoBackup does compressed backups, I get about 4x reduction in size, so my 23GB zimbra goes down to about 5GB - nice savings - it also makes backup go faster).

    I use Mozy for my home PC, though I am considering centralizing everything on Amazon S3 (using the window's version of SecoBackup).

    I have also been experimenting Jungle Disk. It appears that they dont support compression causing my backups to bloat up. Otherwise, I might consider it also.

    The nice thing about my setup is that I have set it up for sceduled backup, so its fully automatic - no more "oops I forgot" syndrome.

  9. I use it just to back up my photos and a few other miscellaneous files. (It's my only off-site backup.) Total is about 120 GB. My bill is now around $12/month which I consider worthwhile for having a backup copy of images which I consider irreplaceable. And like Clint, I consider Amazon pretty reliable.

    If you back up as much as you have to back up, it certainly is pricey. I've thought of moving the data to another service, but aside from my greater confidence in Amazon versus the alternatives, it took me a couple of months to do an initial backup given my restricted upload speeds and my desire not to get on my then-ISP's (Comcast's) bad side.

  10. Mozy is the way to go... I think for unlimited backup its only like $5 per month, a lot less than amazon's S3.