Amazon Web Services
In my iPhoto application I now have over 6,000 photos. Some I’ve taken with my Canon digital camera, but the majority I’ve scanned from negatives and added to iPhoto. With over 120 rolls of 36 exposure film to scan that little task took quite a while. But that was back in 2004.
My backup drive is a LaCie firewire drive that’s partitioned. One section is for a full iMac backup using SuperDuper!, the other, at the moment just contains a Time Machine backup. Just as a little aside, I was thinking of getting a Drobo and having loads of backups across lots of discs, but I’ve since gone off the idea.
So, the worry has been “What if my Mac and backup drive are destroyed by fire, power surge or are stolen?” I don’t have an offsite backup. I did think of just burning the photos to a couple of DVDs and putting the discs either in the garage or in my Dad’s safe, but that isn’t exactly ‘hi-tech’ for this day and age.
Reading around the internet I decided to try Amazon S3 (that’s Simple Storage Service) a part of Amazon Web Services. You are basically charged a per GB fee for storage per month, per GB transfer in and out in a month and for PUT, LIST and GET requests. It sounds more complicated than it is but at the moment my bill for the month is running at $1.73. Which with the dollar/pound exchange rate is very little indeed. That is after uploading nearly 11 GB of photos. The actual transfer in fee took the most of the total at $1.08.
To get my photo folder to S3 I used a set of Ruby based programs called S3Sync. I have been using rsync to download backups from my web-server, so I knew what to expect. After setting up a web services account with Amazon I added S3 to my set of connections in Transmit. It was this I used to create my first ‘buckets’ (a folder by any other name) on S3. This was fine, copying files and folders just like normal FTP. The only snag being that Transmit won’t, at the moment, let you delete any buckets that you’ve created. It just doesn’t happen. It even struggles deleting folders. I sent Panic an email and haven’t heard back, so I presume they know about it and are working on a fix for the next release. The only way to delete buckets, that I’ve found, is to install the S3 Organizer for Firefox, this works like a charm.
The majority of the tinkering took place last Thursday. Since then my iMac has been awake, during the day at least, and securely transferring photos to S3. It’s worked so well that I’ve set-up another bucket to take backups from my web-server directly to S3. I used to use the rsync command that I mentioned to download them to my iMac but from now on I don’t think I’ll bother.
So far the whole Amazon Web Services and S3 experience has been quite enjoyable. I just have to think of other uses for it.