All excited about my recent experience backing up some critical files to Amazon S3, I asked Adam Tow if he’d considered using S3 for his photo backups. Adam and I have talked about backup strategies a number of times over the years, so I was curious to get his thoughts on the S3 option.
For me, S3 is a no-brainer. My most critical files are in my source code repository. Weighing in at ~1.5GB, this costs a whopping $.22/month or so at S3.
However Adam’s a photographer. His photo backups are in the 500GB range now. That’s $75/month at S3. Over the course of a year, that adds up to some real coin (probably breaking $1000 including transfer fees). With hard drives as cheap as they are, Adam’s use of NAS boxes makes a lot of sense.
Sure Amazon is likely more reliable, but the local storage is faster, yada-yada-yada.
So the next question is: where is the tipping point, price-wise? My guess is that once you cross the 100GB barrier ($~200/year) and definitely by the time you get into the 200GB range (~$400/year), S3 starts to look like less of a bargain compared to backing up to local hard drives.
I agree, but I use smugmug to display and backup my pictures and they use S3 which helps me feel more secure about the safety of my data. Smugmug provides unlimited storage (some limits on bandwidth) for $35/year. Not only would it cost me more to use S3, I would have to come up with a separate solution for viewing them.
Lots of debate raging among my friends re: this topic. We’ve also found http://www.mediamax.com which offers 25GB free and 50GB is only $45/year. Their model is to get you to share your media a lot and charge you for bandwidth.
What we all agree on is that some sort of “net disk” is great for disaster recovery. We should all be using local disk backup for normal mistakes and/or hardware failure.
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