If you are a user of Amazon Web Services’ S3 storage service, you have probably come across CloudBerry Explorer, which is a tool for managing your S3 data.
Well, now the team from that product have taken the next step and have a new product in Beta called CloudBerry Online Backup which, not surprisingly, acts as a front-end for Amazon S3.
I personally am a big fan of Amazon S3. Even if you are nervous about storing your data “in the cloud” with some startup company, in the case of S3, its pretty unlikely that Amazon is going anywhere any time soon.
Currently, CloudBerry Backup is Windows-only, and of course an Amazon S3 account is required.
Installing CloudBerry Backup is pretty simple. Once you do you are greeted with a welcome screen.
It has easy to access buttons for doing a Backup and a Restore, and helpfully comes with Backup Plans (what you set up to tell CloudBerry what to backup when) already defined for My Pictures, My Documents, and My Internet Bookmarks.
When you first install, you will be asked to set up your Amazon account.
If you don’t already have an account, they have a link to set one up. I know some less technical users might have a hard time wrapping their head around this step, but with S3 there isn’t really a way around it (that I can think of). CloudBerry does a good job in helping the user along and pointing them where they need to go.
Setting Up Backup
Setting up the backup is pretty easy. They use a wizard system to take you step by step.
The first step is a tree where you can choose the directories you want to back up.
Next you can choose whether you want to backup all files or just certain types (or exclude certain types).
The next step will be good for privacy-conscious people. You can choose to compress or encrypt your files on upload. They have a ton of different options for encryption, which are too many to list here but suffice it to say there are a lot.
You also have the option to purge files (if you choose). You can purge versions of files older than a certain number of days, or only keep the last x versions of a file.
Finally, of course, you can choose the schedule that the backup runs on.
Running The Backup
When you run a backup, you get a progress report (of course), and then once it is done you can check the history, either for all backups, or for each backup plan.
Restoring is also done via a wizard. You can bring back the latest version of a file, or bring it back to a certain point in time (great feature), or of course you can also choose it manually.
Of course, this is a Beta, and CloudBerry is still working on some new features. The first is to create a virtual disk so that your S3 backup looks like a drive on your computer.
They will also be adding estimates for storage costs. This is a great idea. One of the problems with using S3 as backup is you really don’t know for sure how much your backup is going to cost. Sure you can sit there and use Amazon’s calculator, but who wants to do that? If CloudBerry can estimate before uploading, that would be great.
They’ll also be expanding to support Azure and Sun Cloud storage. This is a smart move to not be tied to one provider and give people choice.
So, if you want to check out the CloudBerry Online Backup beta, go here. Anyone else using Amazon S3 for their backup?