Just How Cheap is Cloud Backup?

I believe in the Computer Backup Rule of Three as written about by Scott Hanselman.  There are a million ways to backup your system, and I’m not going to get into exactly how I back up my family’s precious photos, videos and music. Instead, I am going to share something that recently made the frugal me very happy.

I’ve had a Microsoft Windows Home Server (now discontinued) for a couple of years. Basically it’s a mini server that keeps all our PCs backed up, acts as a file share, and does a bunch of other stuff for us. It’s home to all our shared documents, music, photos and videos. It’s probably the thing I’d grab if the house were on fire (after the family is safe, of course!). So the order would be (1) family (2) server (3) my Taylor guitar. And this remote control. That’s all I need.

I’ve been backing up our files to “the cloud” for a couple of years. I wanted an offsite backup, and I’m too lazy to find somewhere outside the home to swap a hard drive full of all our precious files every week or two.

I use a product from CloudBerry Lab that is a backup add-in for the Windows Home Server. All it does is copy files that we keep on the server up to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3). That’s my offsite backup. Let Amazon take all my money.

I’ve been backing up 160GB of files this way, and paying Amazon’s going rate of around $20/month for the privilege. There are probably cheaper ways to stuff 160GB into the cloud, but this was easy and it just works.

Then Amazon introduced Amazon Glacier.

Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup. In order to keep costs low, Amazon Glacier is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable. With Amazon Glacier, customers can reliably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, a significant savings compared to on-premises solutions.

I migrated all our files to Glacier, and what was previously a $20/month charge is now … wait for it … $1.60/month.

What else can I back up?!

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Larry Silverman

Larry Silverman is a father and husband, software developer, small-business owner, DIY tinkerer, occasional musician, continuous learner, free thinker, despiser of yard work and comma abuser.

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