Karmona's Pragmatic Blog

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Karmona's Pragmatic Blog

Backup your Life with Amazon S3

February 1st, 2009 by Moti Karmona | מוטי קרמונה · 10 Comments

Head in the CloudsS3 (Simple Storage Device ) Overview

“Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, fast, inexpensive data storage infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. The service aims to maximize benefits of scale and to pass those benefits on to developers.” (http://aws.amazon.com/s3/)

What can I do with this S3 thingy?

Many things… but I will focus on a pragmatic and more common use case – You can use S3 as the ultimate network drive to share your music collection, backup your documents or to store your blog images (a.k.a. CDN for the masses) etc.

Is it free???

Almost…   $0.15 per Giga (+ you can estimate your monthly bill using the AWS Monthly Calculator)

Amazon S3 Pricing

How do I start?

To use Amazon S3 service, you’ll simply need to open an Amazon account and register to the S3.

Interesting tools to simplify your S3 experience:

  • Amazon S3 Firefox Organizer – Simple Firefox add-on that provides an FTP like interface (Windows Explorer) to upload and manage files on S3 – “S3Fox Organizer helps you organize/manage/store your files on Amazon S3. It is easy to install and use as it is integrated into the browser…”
  • DropBox – New Amazon-S3-backed-storage service (thanks to Shlomo for the introduction) – Very simple to use and with 2GB storage limit on the default (free) account and paid upgrade to 50GB of space for $9.99 / month which is not that much above the $7.5 they need to pay to Amazon (before optimizations ;)

P.S. If you liked DropBox you might also like many others

Tags: Disruptive Technology · Simplicity · Tools

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1  Tzvika // Feb 1, 2009 at 9:32 am

    no time to read the fine print – what do they promise to pay if the data is ever unavailable for any length of time?

  • 2  Moti Karmona // Feb 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Excellent question Tzvika ;)

    As far as I know:

    1. There is no known case of data loss that was not caused by user or tool error (this is more than enough for me)

    2. Amazon’s SLA for S3 doesn’t mention data loss, just the minimum amount of time they guarantee that the service will be available per year… (I wish they will change this)

  • 3  Ofer Egozi // Feb 1, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Interestingly, I just read this before your post: “Where’s your data?” (Dave Winer). The last paragraph there is an excellent prologue to your post…
    But why should it be safer, than, say, putting it all up on Gmail? just because it’s paid? not sure that’s enough, unless there is a very specific SLA.

  • 4  Moti Karmona // Feb 1, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    GMail is great solution although I don’t like the contextual adsense around my emails and the email interface for file backup but than again you can always use GDisk to make it even more explicit (http://gdisk.sourceforge.net/)

    I think “you” should back up your life all over the place (GMail, S3, DVD etc.) unless you want to find out one day the Google think that your data is a malware site… ;) or you become the sad statistics of the first S3 data loss :)

  • 5  Rod // Feb 1, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    my 2c for what its worth.

    GMail is fine to keep a copy of a few files once in a while.

    But when say you are backing up a 100GB Linux server, you need a commercial grade program for online backup, like secobackup and a storage service that scales and is highly reliable, like amazon s3 .

    I would also look at Skydrive, if it ever flies :)

  • 6  Ofer Egozi // Feb 5, 2009 at 1:33 am

    I can’t help but wonder if you wrote this before or after reading about what happened to Ma.gnolia. I happened to read about it just now, incredible. It’s also interesting that FriendFeed is officially considered a method of recovery…

  • 7  Moti Karmona // Feb 5, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Wow, amazing indeed!

    According to what you posted, it seems like they will better implement the “recovery from Delicious” feature…

  • 8  lostpacket // Apr 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    *** lostpacket comment was censored due to vandalism ***

  • 9  Moti Karmona // Apr 24, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Dear Itamar Lavender (a.k.a. lostpacket),

    I am really glad you enjoyed my blog and appreciate your refreshing honest opinions.

    No hard feelings, :)

    — Moti

    p.s. using a static IP (beepindex.com | isn’t the best way to hide browser identity… ;)

  • 10  TomC // Jun 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm


    Thanks for the link.. one person followed it and my ‘daily report’ showed it

    The CloudFront – Content Delivery Network is making S3 very effective for media



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