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CoolTechStuff: Amazon Glacier

By Larry Mortimer, AIA

Have you heard of the 3-2-1 rule for computer backups? If not, it goes like this: Keep 3 copies of anything you care about, in 2 different formats, and 1 copy off-site. An external backup drive, even with a second mirror image drive will not meet this criteria. In the event of a fire or earthquake, you’ll probably need to recover from an off-site backup, and Amazon Glacier is an inexpensive way to do it.

CoolTechWhat Does It Do: Amazon Glacier is an extremely low cost service that provides secure, reliable online storage for data archiving and backup. Glacier is optimized for data you don’t access often (i.e. long-term storage of photos and videos, archived project files, etc.). It’s not designed to regularly retrieve files or constantly move them on and off the servers.

System Requirements: System independent, works with Windows, Macintosh, Linux and other operating systems.

What does it cost: $0.01 per gigabyte per month, third party Client App (free to $39.99).

How Does It Work: There are the six steps to setting up Glacier:
1. Open an account with Amazon Web Services
2. Create a security access key for your Glacier account
3. Create a vault in Glacier
4. Download and install an Amazon Glacier Client App
5. Connect your Glacier Client App to your account
6. Set up the Client App to automate your backups
Some possible Client Apps are, Fast Glacier (Windows – free), Cloud Berry Explorer (Windows – free to $39.99), and Arq (Mac – $39.99)

CoolTech 2Pros: Low cost, a penny a gigabyte per month. You only pay for the storage you use. No size limits, very reliable, and data can be encrypted before it leaves your computer.

Cons: Setup not very user friendly, and needs a third party Client App (one time purchase). Retrieving files takes 3 to 5 hours.

CoolTech 3Conclusion: Set up may require some professional help, but once it’s up and running it’s cheap cheap cheap. Glacier is not a replacement for your local backup drive, think of it as your Get Out of Jail Free Card when everything else has failed.

More Information At: http://aws.amazon.com/glacier/
For Client Apps See: http://fastglacier.com, http://www.cloudberrylab.com/managed-online-backup-
service-Amazon-s3-azure.aspx, and http://www.haystacksoftware.com/arq/

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