Got files on your Mac or PC? How do you back up critical files? CD? DVD? Extra hard drive?
How about using Amazon to back up critical files? Jungle Disk lets you connect a Mac or PC to Amazon’s inexpensive backup service.
Amazon? Shirley, you jest. Hey, I’m Jeffrey. Remember? Here’s why there might be an Amazon in your backup plans for the Mac and PC.
Amazon has web services. They’re called Amazon Web Services. Creativity probably ended with adoption of the name “Amazon.” I digress.
One component of Amazon’s web services which may assist Mac users is Amazon Simple Storage Service, also known as Amazon S3.
How does that help you backup your Mac or PC? Amazon S3 is storage. Simple storage. Storage so simple, so massive, so inexpensive that you can, according to Amazon, “…store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web.”
Whoa. Those are heady words, but Amazon may have the technological muscle to pull it off. The benefit is cheap and fast file storage for you.
In simple terms Amazon S3 stores your files, whatever data you want, on multiple servers scattered all over the world. Using BitTorrent technology, Amazon is able to speed up the download process by aggregating many servers from different locations.
What’s it cost to store files on Amazon S3? It’s remarkably inexpensive, relative to .Mac and other storage services. Per month, you’ll pay only 15-cents US per gigabyte of storage used, and 20-cents per gigabyte of data transferred.
50 gigabytes of storage would cost a mere $7.50 per month. That means your critical backup files are stored and encrypted (all over the world) and available from any computer at any time.
Where does Jungle Disk come in to the equation? Basically, you need a way to access Amazon’s servers so you can transfer files from your Mac or PC to Amazon and then back again.
The free Jungle Disk application, Mac or Windows, makes it almost drag and drop simple; minus the drag and drop, so it’s simple.
First, you’ll need to set up and Amazon S3 account. Then you’ll need an access key and a secret key which you enter into Jungle Disk’s first tab.
That’s the second step. Jungle Disk’s tabs include configurations, encryption options, and automating the backup process. That’s about it. You’re charged through your Amazon S3 account for what you use, both storage and data transfer.
What you get is an online backup service that’s fast, reliable, and inexpensive. As a comparison, storing four gigabytes of data on Apple’s .Mac would cost you $16.66 a month (including the .Mac account, of course). On Amazon, the cost would be 15-cents per gigabyte per month; a substantial savings.
Is this the future of data storage for Mac and Windows users? Hard drives, on a per gigabyte basis, have never been less expensive. Future mass storage devices are likely to drive prices down even further.
Think of storage this way: 1 gigabyte will hold about 250 songs in iTunes, or from 500 to 1,500 digital photos in iPhoto, or nearly 10,000 Microsoft Word documents, or an hour of a QuickTime video.
This is a storage service, not a web service whereby you could click on a link in a browser and watch a video download from Amazon in Safari or Firefox.
In my newspaper ad wanderings this past weekend, CompUSA had a one terabyte external Firewire and USB hard drive for $445. That’s less than 45-cents per gigabyte. Amazon’s price is 15-cents per gigabyte, plus the transfer fee, so it’s comparable.
We may well see online storage as a simple, easy-to-use backup for home users and businesses in the future. After all, everyone wants you to spend money by the month on something, so why not data storage?
What do you think? Is this an attractive alternative to your current backup solution? Is it aimed more at business or home use, or beneficial for both? Are you willing to give it a try? Share your perspective in the Comments section below.