A mental sigh of relief

Working in IT, one of the things that is often on my mind is backing up my data. It’s often on my mind, but I seldom do anything about it. A few years ago, K and I bought an external USB drive to which we occasionally sync our desktop. That made me a bit more comfortable, we’re now covered if the drive crashes. Of course, I then started worrying about a fire in the house. Since my external drive is sitting on top of the computer itself, anything that destroys the one will likely destroy the other.

At work, I was recently on the “storage advisory team.” Sounds more grandiose than it was – we were basically a bunch of folks on a death march project to make recommendations for things dealing with data storage. One of the projects we were tasked with was data backup and recovery. None of the outsourced solutions we looked at were going to support linux, but the project did increase my backup anxiety.

Last week, I finally did something about it. I signed up for Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) and downloaded a copy of s3sync. I took the USB drive up to the office (for the fast networking) and backed everything up to S3. This weekend, I tested the backup service by backing up the home computer – essentially, anything that had changed since last weekend. Overall, it went well. The original upload took maybe 8 hours for 17GB. The updates took about 1 hour, but that is in part because of all the deletion requests needed (I cleaned up quite a bit) and my slow desktop hard drive.

This isn’t something I would have recommended on the storage team, but it’s effective and cheap. Rather than being ~$20/month for 17GB, it cost ~$2.60 to upload the data and will cost ~$2.50/month to store it. Plus, I think I can stop worrying about backups 🙂

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