Sunday, June 26, 2011

Backup Backup Backup

For quite a few years I've been using Windows Home Server to centrally store all the household documents, music, videos, etc. To keep it backed up I have three hard drives that I copy the files onto, making a mirror of what is on the server. I have been keeping one backup on me, but recently I decided that wasn't enough. What if I was home and some disaster struck and all my hard drives and the server were destroyed. Well I'd be out of luck!
So I decided with all the hulla-ballo about the Cloud I would try saving the more important files there. So, being the cheapskate that I am I didn't want to spend a lot of money.
I figured that I would classify my files into 3 categories:
  1. The files that I must absolutely, positively have no matter what,
  2. The files that I have purchased or are important (MP3s, photos), but if they were lost, it would be tragedy, but not the end of the world,
  3. The files that I have that have no monetary value (recorded TV shows) that could be lost without much "pain"
Thus my plan became to continue doing my normal backup routine with my physical hard drives, backing up the #1 files to a safe cloud, and backup #2 to the "less safe" cloud.
In looking around at backup solutions for Windows Home Server I decided on CloudBerry's product CloudBerry Back for Windows Home Server 2011. I also picked Amazon's S3 cloud storage to be the repository for the #1 files. I figured I had about 5 GBs worth of files that I would store there. CloudBerry works great, and I'll write about it another time.
For the #2 files, well I have about 60GB worth of those, so I thought, being the cheapskate that I am, to store those in another location. Well, I already use Picasa, and I went ahead and purchased 20GB of storage from Google for $5 per year which is pretty cheap. Okay, check those off the list. Next, the MP3s. Well I do use an Android phone and use Amazon's Cloud Player, so in looking into their service I discovered if I bought an album I could get 20GB for a year for free. Check! However, that isn't quite enough, so at some point I'm going to upgrade it to the 50GB of storage for $50/year.
As for the #3 files, I'll just continue the normal backup routine.
Well my DSL connection doesn't have the quickest of upload speeds, around 600 kbps so it took about 1 1/2 weeks to get all the #1 files and the photos uploaded to the cloud. I was working on the MP3s but when I realized I wouldn't have enough room I stopped figuring I'll get to those at a later time.
In CloudBerry I setup two different backup schedules for two distinct sets of files. Each happens once a week, I really don't update those files that often, so once a week works. The advantage with CloudBerry is once it is setup it is automatic and I don't really have to do anything but pay my Amazon storage bill.
With Picasa and Amazon's Cloud storage I do have to do those operations manually, but that's not too bad.
So far after doing the initial upload to Amazon S3 I've been charged 50 cents. So it will be interesting to see exactly how much I end up spending per month. I'm budgeting around $5/month and I think it will be, but I want to let it operate a couple months before making any final pronouncements.
I'll be back with updates in the future.

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