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    Add-In Review: Jungle Disk for Windows Home Server


    Dave

    Add-In Review:  Jungle Disk for Windows Home Server

     

    by:  David McCabe

     

    It doesn't matter how many backups you have of your data if they all reside at the same location.  Enter Off-Site backups.   The Jungle Disk Windows Home Server Edition BETA allows you to automatically backup your Windows Home Server shared folders to Amazon.com's S3 Storage Service.

     

    Jungle Disk Features

     

     

    This Add-In has won second place in the Code2Fame challenge.

     

    I started this review process by visiting. http://www.jungledisk.com/ and downloading the Windows Home Server client. This software is in beta and is free but will have a cost associated once it is out of beta. Data storage is not free during the beta period.

     

    After installing the Add-In you need to activate an account.

     

    From the add-in you will need to click Backup Settings and get an Amazon S3 Account. Upon clicking this Amazon immediately recognized my business account and allowed me to verify it. Otherwise you will enter your details here to get a new account.  If you have an Amazon account you will not have to sign up for a separate account.

     

    The next screen you see will be the fee table.

     

    Storage Costs

     

    Amazon Simple Storage Service

    Pricing

     

    United States

     

    Storage

    $0.15 per GB-Month of storage used

    Data Transfer

    $0.100 per GB - all data transfer in

    $0.170 per GB - first 10 TB / month data transfer out

    $0.130 per GB - next 40 TB / month data transfer out

    $0.110 per GB - next 100 TB / month data transfer out

    $0.100 per GB - data transfer out / month over 150 TB

    Requests

    $0.01 per 1,000 PUT, POST, or LIST requests

    $0.01 per 10,000 GET and all other requests*

     

    *There is no charge for delete requests

     

    Europe

     

    Storage

    $0.18 per GB-Month of storage used

    Data Transfer

    $0.100 per GB - all data transfer in

    $0.170 per GB - first 10 TB / month data transfer out

    $0.130 per GB - next 40 TB / month data transfer out

    $0.110 per GB - next 100 TB / month data transfer out

    $0.100 per GB - data transfer out / month over 150 TB

    Requests

    $0.012 per 1,000 PUT, POST, or LIST requests

    $0.012 per 10,000 GET and all other requests*

     

    *There is no charge for delete requests

     

    Data transfer "in" and "out" refers to transfer into and out of Amazon S3.

    Data transferred between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3, is free of charge (i.e., $0.00 per GB),

    except data transferred between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3-Europe, which will be charged at regular rates.

    Storage and bandwidth size includes all file overhead.

     

    The next screen you will see in the sign-up process will be the typical Amazon Sign in screen and lastly a verification of you Jungle Disk order. Here you will accept the agreement and your billing date will be established. My screen stated, “You will be charged for your usage of this web service and any applicable taxes on the next billing date, September 1, 2008.”

     

    After accepting I was taken to a Thank you page where I was told I would receive an e-mail confirmation.

     

    I checked my inbox to find two e-mails from Amazon. The first email informs me that I need an access key. It gives a link to a web-site to “obtain” the access key. Upon clicking you will  see the key and the hidden secret key. These two keys should be copied and pasted into the Jungle Disk WHS Add-In under Backup Settings.

     

    You use your Access Identifiers to identify yourself as the sender of a request to an AWS web service. Access identifiers are also used to authenticate requests to AWS. For services that require authenticated requests, where you need to prove that you are authorized to make the request, you must sign the request by including a "signature" in the request. A request signature is calculated using the pair of public / private Access Identifiers.

     

    The Second e-mail:

     

    Greetings from Amazon Web Services,

    Thank you for signing up for Amazon Simple Storage Service. You now have immediate access to Amazon Simple Storage Service and can build innovative and entrepreneurial applications using this and other AWS web services.

     

    This sounds like you could build your own WHS Add-In. It also gives you a link to check your usage and billing. Since Jungle Disk is a part of Amazon Web Services the e-mails are what you would receive had you signed up for AWS and they are not specifically geared towards the WHS user. Amazon S3 is the storage service of AWS.

     

    Configuring a Backup Scenario

     

    Settings

     

    My account is ready to go so I am going to choose some data to backup. I go to Backup Settings in the Add-In and it opens the Settings panel of your WHS. It’s here where you will choose the backup Start and End time, as well as the Shares you want to backup. There is no way to further drill down to folder level. You backup the whole Share or nothing. You can also limit the bandwidth as well as set the deleted file removal period from here. A setting I didn’t test is the encryption setting which allows you to encrypt each file before backing up.

     

    I cleared most of the check boxes on the directories to backup limiting it to a test directory. The main status page changed from not configured to Idle. You really have to be organized with your shared folders so I recommend organizing before getting started with this Add-In.

     

    Settings

     

    I would like to see some sort of usage tab in the Add-in. I would like to know my billing and usage estimated from the add-in instead of having to login to Amazon and look. Even though the account web-site offers very detailed information about your usage it still would be nice to have a summary.

     

    I started out with 45.6 MB in 13 files. A very simple test that performed easily during my backup window.

     

    I transferred more data to the directory for another backup. 1.50GB, 452 files total. Including a few sub folders. That night during the backup I reached the end time so the backup stopped and will again resume in 24 hours. The status will tell you, “Max backup time reached.”

     

    My test folder is finally backed up. I have a slow upload speed on my DSL so it took a few days to backup my files. I also have my backup windows set very narrowly to backup at 3AM to 8AM and upload speed limited to 128kbs. Both of these options are in the Backup Settings tab.

     

    On September 1st I was enjoying a Labor Day Parade with my family and I received an email on my phone telling me my Amazon billing statement was ready. I thought this to be handy. The total was even on the email with a link to more detailed information.

     

    Billing

     

    My activity has so far cost me 21 Cents. In the graphic you can see there is a one cent charge for a GET request. I don’t recall performing a GET since I haven’t started the restore portion of this test. It’s just a penny but it would be nice to know how it got on the bill. I am wondering if simply clicking the Restore button in the Add-In has caused the GET. I don’t recall if and when I clicked but if I was seriously wondering when I could look at a detailed log in my account settings.

     

    Restore Test of 12 Files, 45.4MB. I deleted these files from my test directory and then clicked Restore Files from the Add-In. One handy option was the option to show files that are not present locally. My 12 files were the only ones present. Uncheck this box and you can see your whole backup. I hi-lighted all the files and clicked a box and all files were chosen. That is nice to see as well. I simply click Restore files and my files showed up as fast as I could download them.

     

    Restore

     

    Restore Status

     

    Data Protection

     

    - Your data is fully encrypted prior to leaving your Home Server machine using AES-256

    - Checksums of your data are verified during the upload process to eliminate the chance of corruption

    - Amazon stores your data on multiple servers across the country to protect against data loss

    - Multiple file versions are stored, allowing you to restore older copies in case of local corruption

     

    Jungle Disk Features

     

    Cost Breakdowns

     

    A quick look at my data and what the costs associated would be with according to the Jungle Disk's cost table of .15 per GB storage,  .10 per GB uploaded. This doesn’t include the minimal Get and Put fees. My photos, videos, and HD camcorder files are 138GB That would equate to a $13.80 upload fee and a $20.70 monthly charge for the first month.  Subsequent months would only be $20.70 as long as you don't upload or download anything else.  Annual cost would be $241.50 which is a bit pricey.

     

    What if I wanted to backup all my data? Jungle Disk Annual Cost - $397.10 + $24.10 to transfer it = $421.20 Yikes!

     

    The beta WHS Add-In has no fee associated and I didn’t see any hints as to what Its cost may be in the future. For reference, the desktop version of Jungle Disk is a $20 one time fee that includes lifetime upgrades.

     

    Conclusion on Jungle Disk

     

    I spoke with Dave Wright of Jungle Disk and he looked at the math on my backup scenario and it checked out. He also said that “We are planning on updating the add-in, but don't have a specific schedule at this time.”  He also tells me they are planning to allow more control in the future as to what folders you are able to backup.

     

    Jungle Dave also said that there are no restrictions as to what type of data you backup. More importantly, your account will not be deleted if you backup business documents.

     

    Pro’s

     

    Strength of Amazon.com. No worries of your data disappearing.

     

    Ease of Use.

     

    Truly unlimited storage. No “reasonable usage” clause.

     

    Con’s

     

    This add-in has been quiet since an updated release in December 2007.

     

    Client will eventually have a cost associated once out of beta.

     

    Can only backup at the Share level.

     

    No usage information in the Add-In.

     

    Pricey

     

    Although I list more Con’s, the Add-In was very easy to use and I feel comfortable in letting Amazon store my precious files.  Should anything ever happen in my home and I lose all my files I doubt I would feel the service is "pricey."

     

    Copyright:  David McCabe, Connexx, LLC. 2008

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    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    I'm using the jungledisk addin and so far it seems to work great. I've set it up to backup my Photos share. I have approx 11Gb of data and the price for this amount of data is not too bad. Backup of all my data would be insane at this point, I have too much data. I feel that the service is good for what it is. I'm trust my whs shares with duplication on and the PC backups. With this addition I can make sure that my photos are kept safe even if the house should burn to the ground. What would be neat for WHS would be a add-in like buddybackup http://www.databarracks.com/buddybackup/. I haven't used that service, but the idea is that you hook up with some friends and let each other backup to each other. That way the storage cost and transfer fees would be gone if you have a flatrate internet connection. I would love to see a JungleDisk P2P solution.

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