Tip of the Day

Balancing peace of mind and S3 cloud backup storage costs

As you know, one of the key features offered by reevert is the ability to be connected to an Amazon S3 account and perform cloud backups.

Amazon S3 is one of the most reliable (11 9’s of reliability) and affordable cloud storage solutions available on the market. Additionally, storing frequently accessible data will not cost you more than $0.03 / GB / month. They also offer less-frequently accessible data storage and Glacier, which only costs $0.01 / GB / month. We will talk about Glacier later on.

Although the goal of this article is not to show you how to get your appliance connected to S3, but I will do a quick overview for new users.

First thing you need is an Amazon AWS account - if you don’t have one, sign up; it is free. Login, go to S3 section, create a bucket, and configure an access key for it using IAM.

Paste the access key information and type your bucket name through the “S3 Integration” section of the admin panel and you are good to go.

The whole process is fairly easy and you can find instructions that go into further detail here.

S3 Integration Panel - reevertS3 Integration Panel

Once the appliance is connected to S3, you can either define automatic upload schedules or perform manual uploads if needed.

You will notice two new green buttons will appear on “Shares and Snapshots” panel which will let you upload to or restore backups from your S3 bucket.

Shares with S3 Upload options - reevertS3 upload and Restore buttons

Going back to our original topic, the main question was how to balance peace of mind - making sure you have enough off-site backups  - and your S3 storage costs.

There are several several answers to this question:

Define a cloud storage policy: This would be the most important answer. You need to determine how many off-site backup retentions will be best to keep on S3.

S3 storage costs are really affordable. However, if you keep too much data (more than what would be necessary in case of a total disaster), that cost can add up.

Amazon makes this really easy to do. A simple bucket policy can save you from doing any manual work. It can automatically delete older backups or it can move them to a different - and cheaper - storage class such as Glacier, which only costs $0.01 / GB / month.

We have a section in our documentation that explains how to define S3 bucket policies.

Too often may be too much: Always remember off-site backups are last resort solutions. If you need to quickly recover deleted files and folders, you will be using your appliances local snapshots rather than restoring from your cloud backups.

Depending on how critical your data is, how many daily changes you have, or how much data loss your firm can tolerate in case of an absolute disaster, your automatic upload cloud backup  schedules will be different.

Use incremental backups: Your reevert appliance lets you perform a full or combination of full and incremental off-site backups. If you have a fast upload link, you may think about doing full daily backups. That may be possible depending on how much data you have and how fast your upload speed is; however, it can cost you some money later on.

However if you use an incremental option such as Weekly Full + Daily incremental, full data sets will be uploaded only once a week. This actually has two benefits. First of all, all bulky uploads will happen during weekends when the number of employees working are reduced, and secondly, it can potentially save you a lot of money down the line.

Utilize incremental backups - reevertUtilize incremental backups

Separate your archival and live data: Your firm may have huge amount of archival data that does not change and is only there for referral purposes.

We recommend creating separate shares for your archival data. Archival data does not need very frequent uploads. You can define once a month automatic uploads or even perform manual uploads when something is added.

On a side note, your appliance will perform data compression prior to uploading any data chunks to S3. This ensures your data sets will be using as little storage space as possible.

Following these guidelines will help you maximize your cloud backup efficiency by keeping a decent amount of off-site backups and controlling Amazon S3 storage costs.

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