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Using Amazon Glacier or S3 as an Online Backup Server

By Eric Geier (Send Email)
Posted May 5, 2015

Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-priced cloud storage solution — as low as one cent per gigabyte (GB), in fact — that is designed for long-term file and data backups with infrequent retrievals or removals. It's great for manually archiving data or maybe even serving as online backup for your PCs, especially if you also back up to a local drive.

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Just keep in mind, there are additional fees If you’re looking for a storage solution for frequent utilization, in which case you'll likely want to consider another Amazon Web Service: the Simple Storage Service (S3), pricing for which starts at three cents per GB.

Amazon, however, may not always be the best storage option. For instance, if you want a quick and easy online PC backup solution, consider another company that’s designed for PC backup. When backing up large amounts of data, such as half a terabyte (TB) or more, unlimited backup offerings from other companies like CrashPlan or Backblaze may be cheaper to utilize than even Amazon Glacier.

If you do choose one of the Amazon storage offerings, you can use a client program similar to an FTP client to upload, download, synchronize and back up your data. Here are several different clients to consider that support Amazon and other cloud services:

Fast Glacier: A multipurpose Windows client for Amazon Glacier that is free for personal use, and commercial licensing for it starts at $39.95. Fast Glacier supports manual uploads/downloads, syncing, and automated backup functionality. It features pause/resume for uploads, pre-upload compression and encryption, and download limiting to control data retrieval costs.

CrossFTP: An FTP-style client that supports FTP, Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier and Google storage client for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. In addition to their free basic edition, they offer a Pro edition for $24.99 and an Enterprise edition for $39.99 that adds support for SFTP, WebDav, pre-upload encryption, syncing, scheduling and other features.

Duplicati: A free and open source backup client for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux that supports many different cloud and remote file services, including Amazon Glacier and S3, Windows Live SkyDrive, Google Drive (Google Docs), Rackspace Cloud Files, WebDAV, SSH and FTP. Duplicati supports incremental updates, encryption and signing using GNU Privacy Guard, and scheduling capabilities.

Simple Amazon Glacier Uploader: A simple Java-based cross-platform client that offers a GUI for the Glacier command-line tools. This likely isn’t a client you’ll want to use all the time, but it is good to keep on a flash drive for quick and simple access from any computer or OS.

Syncovery: A commercial file synchronization and backup software tool that is priced at $59.90 for the fully functioning edition, which runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Syncovery supports traditional FTP-like protocols and many cloud-based services, including those from Amazon S3, Microsoft, Rackspace, Google, DropBox and Box.com. It’s a feature-rich solution supporting syncing, automated scheduled backups, compression and encryption, and many other functionalities.

CloudBerry: CloudBerry offers a large line of commercial backup product solutions designed for different types of machines or applications, such as desktop PCs ($29.99), servers ($79.99) and bare metal backups ($119.99). CloudBerry sells products for specific servers and applications as well, such as MS SQL servers ($149.99) and MS Exchange servers ($229.99). They even offer solutions for IT or managed service providers (MSPs). Their products support backing up to Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Openstack cloud storage services and are feature-rich solutions.

Eric Geier is a freelance tech writer -- keep up with his writings on Facebook. He's also the founder of NoWiresSecurity, a cloud-based Wi-Fi security service, and On Spot Techs, an on-site RF site surveying and other computer services company.

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