Friday, June 05, 2009
Western Digital Drives Suck, For Us Anyway
I figured out the failing backup situation. Turns out that the WD MyBook drive (500GB) crashed. It's only a few months old, so I'm pissed. I don't think we lost anything (unlike the previous WD 250GB MyBook drive that we had, which was a holder of our stuff, but we didn't have a backup of it). Turns out we're not alone. The drives are (were) hooked up to a desktop system in the basement that's only used to hold backups from the laptops around the house and for TivoToGo. Screw having local drives to back everything up. We'll just start using the Internet.
Based on a mention from jkOnTheRun, I looked up JungleDisk. It's an interesting product that leverages Amazon's amazing backup offerings. As I researched, I found that Amazon has this incredible set of infrastructure solutions, one of which is the "Amazon Simple Storage Solution" aka "Amazon S3." The S3 solution provides an unlimited storage area (they say that some of their accounts have terabytes of information stored there) that is fully encrypted and uses redundant storage so no data would be lost. (They're serious about the encryption: During the setup process, they caution that if the user loses the encryption password, the data will be readable by no one.)
The costs are beyond reasonable. It only costs 17 cents per GB stored, plus a few pennies for each GB uploaded or downloaded. We figure that the bill will be about $6 per month -- to back up our computers -- ALL the computers in the house. This is great for us because we don't have to worry about setting up some sort of redundancy for these drives that keep crashing, and we don't have to fret when a drive crashes and we have to figure out what we've lost. We can even shutdown the basement computer and put TivoToGo on our laptops.
The front end is where JungleDisk comes into play. They provide a piece of software that sits in the system tray (like SecondCopy does, which is the software we use to back up the laptops to the basement computer) and kicks off a backup on a schedule that we set up for each computer. The best part of all this is that we only need one account to back up all the computers; each computer doesn't need its own account. Nice!
I opened an account with JungleDisk and started using this solution the other day. It's been easy to use and works very much like SecondCopy. We get a daily e-mail report of which computer backed up which files, how long it took, and how much was uploaded to the server. Even better, we can access our files from anywhere using JungleDisk's web interface, an option we didn't have before!
Thanks James and Kevin for pointing this out!