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Amazon S3 Backups

by Eric Wikman on June 29, 2012

3 minute read

Last year I wrote a blog post about all the different methods that we use to backup our servers.  We have always had a policy of using three backup methodologies (backup plans in case our backup plan fails). This week a client asked us to set up a fourth backup for their instance that would store a copy of their CRM at their office.

We were more than happy to implement a fourth backup method, but the idea of storing it at their office posed a couple of issues.  One issue is that most data centers have better physical security than office spaces, so some security would be compromised if we did that.  Another issue is that they would need to purchase new hardware and spend many hours getting it all set up on their side.

We proposed to them that they sign up for their own Amazon S3 account and then we would send the backups to Amazon S3.  Then they can download the backups from S3 whenever they want to.  The client loved that idea so we implemented it.

If used properly, Amazon S3 is a very secure place to store files. This client has the need for their data to be stored very securely.  We chose to use GnuPG to encrypt the data before it is sent to Amazon.  The connection used between use and Amazon is also encrypted, so the transport of the file is encrypted so that no one could snoop on even the filename of the archived copies.

This particular client has opted for us to do a nightly backup.  We do a full backup every 8 days and an incremental backup the other 7 days.  We keep the last 3 full backup sets, which means that there will typically be between 17 and 24 days of backups available.  We can very easily adjust that to whatever a client wants.

The best part is the price.  Amazon offers new customers 5 GB of storage space for free for the first 12 months.  This client’s instance is currently smaller than that, so they won’t have to pay anything for the storage for the next year.  When they are past their free trial, the price remains unbelievably inexpensive.  Amazon charges about 13 cents per GB of storage space per month, so for about a $1 a month you get 8 GB of storage space. W-Systems is not charging extra fees for the additional backup method.

For more information about Amazon S3 Backups, contact us today.

Since this article was originally posted our backup policy has changed. For updated information on our cloud hosting, click here