50 days with Amazon Glacier backup

Amazon Glacier and Arq 3 combined allow for off-site computer backup solution. In November I posted about my first impressions backing up with Amazon Glacier client Arq 3 .  Nearly 2 months in it seems like a good time for an update of my continuing thoughts on this off-site data backup solution.  You can read more about the service and my initial setup of the software in my previous post off-site backup with Amazon Glacier .

Glacier is just like it sounds: S-L-O-W.  The process of uploading my initial complete backup is still in process and has been for 50 days, almost continuously.  There are of course lots of factors including my household internet upload speed.  And it is a lot of data, 165GB to date according to Arq.  Although I could have simply pointed Arq at my hard drive to back it all up, I chose to pick and choose what I thought was most critical and incrementally add to my backup.  Based on the time it has taken I strongly recommend this approach – get the important data backed up first!

Testing your backup is critical.  I initiated a file restoration of a backed up 6MB file, which Arq reported I could expect the file to be delivered in 4 hrs.  The file arrived as promised within minutes of the 4 hours.

Glacier being slow cannot be fairly considered a criticism as it is advertised as exactly that: Glacier.  What Amazon is offering is low cost data storage.  To date I have spent less than $10 in fees, the majority being upload transfer charges. For instance for the month of December while populating my backup:

81.266 GB $0.81 ($0.010 per GB / month)
76,613 Requests $3.83 ($0.050 per 1,000 requests)

All-in-all I am very happy with the Arq 3 and Amazon Glacier redundant catastrophic backup solution.  I’ll continue to run Time Machine as a quick access local backup.

If you missed it I encourage you to read my first post, off-site backup with Amazon Glacier , where you will find my initial impressions during setup and the first few days with Arq 3 .

More info on Amazon Glacier

Down­load Arq 3

More Information:
Amazon Glacier: Back Up All Your Data for Pennies a Month
22 Aug 2012 00:17:05 Z
In the press release Amazon also says that Glacier data is intended to last, as in “centuries”. While there’s an obvious use case for enterprise web services and any digital archiving project, Glacier could also be used as a cheap way to create an …

New Arq 3 Taps Amazon Glacier for Backup Nirvana
08 Nov 2012 17:26:54 Z
It’s hard to think of a cheaper, better way to create and store an offsite backup of your files. Back when Glacier first launched we speculated that it would be a perfect fit for a backup utility like the OS X backup app Arq.

(image via Flickr by kaet44)



6 responses to “50 days with Amazon Glacier backup”

  1. clayton says:

    have you ever heard of rsync.net?

    very good
    uses incremental backups and can resume disconnected transmissions

    if you want to save money you can set up your own rsync server using an old tower and save some bucks that way as well.


  2. Al says:

    Unless you keep your computer on 24/7 anyway, the hidden cost based on what you’re saying is that your computer has to always be on and consuming power in order to upload continuously like that.

  3. stephen b says:

    Yes Al, there is the additional cost to consider of keeping a computer up and running longer. Over time this has become less of an issue as once the initial backup was done supplemental backups ran more quickly. ARQ does not need to be left running as you can have it work only when you are using the computer. Having said that, if my computer was stolen and I lost my recent data because I was concerned about a few dollars of electricity….(I will have to educate myself on how many dollars!!)

  4. Vasco says:

    Arq 3 uploads at 256kb/s tops!!! I have an internet connection of more than 5MB/s. Other apps let you do parallel uploading but not this one. For that reason I quit using Arq. It doesn’t make any sense to be backing up gigabytes at a 256kb/s.
    Unless you don’t mind running your PC 24/7 waiting more than 20 days for uploading 500gb

  5. Ankit says:

    Vasco, if arq is slow what do you recommend ?

  6. Stefan says:

    @Vasco, Arq 4 is faster. It maxes out my ISP’s upload speed of 20 megabits/second to Amazon.

    Also, Arq 4 can back up to SFTP so you could back up to any SFTP server online or on your local network (e.g. a Synology NAS).

    (I’m the creator of Arq)

    – Stefan

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