The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.In my June 3, 2013, article, What I Use Now for Backups at http://goo.gl/nNXVoQ, I wrote:
I have experimented with all sorts of online backup services. I now back up all of my documents, family photos, and much more to Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier. I don't back up the operating system or the programs. After all, I can always get new operating systems and new programs. All I back up off-site is the important things: my pictures, my documents, and the other things I created. I like Amazon's backup services ( S3 and Glacier) but am reluctant to recommend them for others. They are quite difficult to get set up and working if you haven't spent your life supporting computer systems of all sorts of operating systems, as I have. However, I struggled through it and it works well for me now. Best of all, it automatically backs things up while I am sleeping. Maybe I'll write an article someday: "The Easy Way to Perform Backups to Amazon S3 and Amazon Glacier." All I have to do is first figure out what the easy way is.This is the article I promised.
This is Part #1 of a two-part series. Part #1 will explain how one online backup service operates and will provide prices. Part #2 will discuss the various software options available for Windows and Macintosh users.
Everyone needs to backup important data that is stored on your computer's hard drive. In fact, everyone should have at least two copies of every backed up file. One copy should be stored near the computer for convenience, and the second (and possibly even more) copies should be stored “off site,” where they will be safe from a major disaster in your home, such as fire, flood, bust water pipe, hurricane, or accidental deletion. Luckily, there are many options to choose from.
Mozy, Backblaze, CrashPlan, Carbonite, Dropbox, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Acronis, SafeSync, Copy.com, and other online services will back up your data to the cloud. Many of these services even provide a limited amount of backup space free of charge, typically 2 gigabytes to as much as 15 gigabytes. Free storage space obviously is a great bargain, and I strongly advise you to take advantage of it if the size limitation fits your needs. However, what do you do if you need even more space? What if you need 50 gigabytes or perhaps 500 gigabytes or even more?
The answer is that you pay money to one of the backup companies. Indeed, that is an excellent solution if you wish to back up 50 gigabytes or so. The prices charged by most online backup services are still modest for 50 gigabytes of space. However, as you purchase more and more space, the prices escalate quickly. Even larger amounts of storage space are available, but they will cost more.
One thing that irritates me with many online storage services is that you must purchase "blocks" of space in advance, whether you use all the space or not. For instance, if you need to back up 12 gigabytes of data, you must purchase a 50-gigabyte "block" of storage space. That means you are using 12 gigabytes while you are paying for 38 gigabytes of storage space that you are not yet using! Prices vary, but $50 to $100 a year is not an unusual price for purchasing 50 or 100 gigabytes of storage space on most any of the online backup services.
Luckily, there is one well-known and very reliable storage space provider that charges a lot less. The same company always charges for exactly the amount of space that you are using at the moment; there is no need to purchase "blocks" of space that will remain only partially used. If you need 12.675 gigabytes of storage space, you pay for exactly 12.675 gigabytes, no more. You are never charged for “empty space.”
I presently have more than 500 gigabytes of data backed up to this cloud-based service, and the monthly price is a fraction of that of the other companies. It costs about $5.00 (U.S. dollars) per month to store more than a half terabyte in safe and secure data centers. Should I need to restore one or more files, I can do so easily.
The service I find most cost-effective is one of several cloud-based offerings from Amazon.com. For this article, I will focus on two of Amazon's services that store files for paying customers: Amazon Simple Storage Service (usually called Amazon S3) and Amazon Glacier. Both of these services are offered by Amazon Web Services, or AWS.
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