A couple of months ago, I was reading about Amazon S3 a developer geared online storage solution at Paul Stamatiou’s blog. Amazon S3 is a very cheap internet based storage facility that can be used in a wide variety of ways. While I have not tapped into all that the S3 service has to offer, I wanted to spread the word a bit on how I use it as an online backup/storage service.
Why I Choose Amazon S3
Online backup services are really starting to become a big business opportunity, there are a wide range of online backup services that charge flat monthly fee’s, and provide both Windows and Mac support. I did a good bit of research on these other companies, and finally decided to sign up for a service called Mozy. This is a online backup service that provides a very user-friendly cross platform application to allow people to control their auto backups.
While Mozy is a nice, and easy to use, I found it to not be very useful. Mozy only allows you to store files that currently exist on your computer. This means that if you want to backup a large archive of pictures to your Mozy account, you can do this. The problem is though, you have to still keep these file on your computer locally. If you delete the files from your computer it will be deleted from the Mozy server. While this is fine for some stuff like my websites development directory, I also want the option to store files on the server and remove them from my hard drive.
With more and more people switching to laptops these days, small amounts of local storage space on computers is starting to become more of an issue. More and more, people are turning to the internet to store information that is not used on a daily basis.
Amazon S3 & Jungle Disk
What really makes Amazon S3 standout is the openness to use the space as you wish. While S3 is geared towards the technologically advanced developer types, a wide range of tools and applications have been developed to make it more user-friendly for basic computer users.
I have been using Amazon S3 with Jungle Disk, which is a Mac OS X based backup up application. Jungle Disk is like the Mozy client, but has more customization options and openness to how you can use the space you pay for. Jungle Disk allows you to setup you own Amazon S3 account, or use theirs which comes setup with the app. Once you have your S3 account setup with the software, you can add auto backup jobs with a ton of different customization options. One of these options gives you the ability to keep previous versions of files, and keep files that have been deleted. With Jungle Disk, you also have the option to drag and drop content to your S3 through a virtual drive in OS X’s Finder.
Like I said earlier, I have only been using Amazon S3 for a little while, and I have not even come close to tapping into all that the Amazon S3 can do. While I am very happy with it so far, I would like to dig deeper and explore other ways I can use it to save space and money. My next mission is to better understand how I can use Amazon S3 to optimize my website content by hosting some content on Amazon’s S3 server instead of my MediaTemple (dv) server.
Do you use Amazon S3? If so, how do you use it? Do you have a specific S3 application you recommend?