I wanted some off-site backup to go with my unprotected backup of my computer. I haven’t got the money to afford a redundant storage and backup so this is where the idea came from. Yes it would be slow to move the GBs of data I have / need / want to backup but once it’s up it won’t take as much to upload unless I need to perform a recover.
I had chosen JungleDisk because it was one of the first consumer backup solution using Amazon S3. Currently Dropbox is an alternative which also uses Amazon as the back end but I stuck with JungleDisk
Amazon S3 stands for “Simple Storage Solution” and is only for developers and not meant to be used by consumers. This is where JungleDisk steps in as a software house and provides an interface between the end user and Amazon S3.
S3 has a limit of 5GB per “object” and stores things in “buckets”. Each bucket is treated as one entity by Amazon. Amazon has a global infrastructure and allows you to move your data between US and EU currently. The EU servers are new to S3 and lacks some of the features offered by the US servers however you are bound to get better throughput with the EU (if you are in the EU).
The purchase was fairly easy. It involved buying the JungleDisk software and then setting up an Amazon S3 account. The annoying thing about S3 was that you had to have an American Amazon account. This some what confused me and I tried to log in over and over again. Once registration was complete and a small download later I was up and running.
JungleDisk supports the WebDAV protocol so it can be mounted as a network drive on any OS that supports it which includes the major ones (Windows, Mac, Linux). This allows users to drag and drop files visually like a normal hard disk. Each basket is mounted separately so you can have a mixture of backup baskets as well as sharing baskets where files can be shared between different OS / computers without tampering with backup baskets.
The desktop client is the main portal to your buckets. It needs your Amazon S3 API key as well as your JungleDisk account details. You can create, manage and delete your buckets using the desktop client. You can also mount the buckets as a drive from the client.
JungleDisk / Amazon S3 supports encryption. You give it a password and you can set your files to be encrypted as well as the file names. Like anything to do with encryption you have to be careful not to forget your password. Encryption is on a bucket by bucket basis so each bucket can have different level of encryption on each bucket from none to file and file name encryption. Also each password can be different for each bucket.
The desktop application has a very exhaustive management of back versioning. These include:
You can set multiple automatic backup jobs for each basket. This includes scheduling backups at specific times, what to back up and backup options.
Uploading files shows an overall progress bar of the basket as well as the current file(s) progress. Each file can be cancelled individually when they are being uploaded.
JungleDisk desktop software has multitudes of settings. There is the ability to limit the amount of bandwidth used and set the time when they are enforced. It only allows one enforcing schedule so you cannot set different times on different days of the week. Also you cannot set multiple bandwidth limiting measures through the day like between 12:00 – 13:00 and 14:00-15:00.
A major problem with the interface is the way it adds all your connected baskets in the menubar. If you have multitudes of baskets connected like I have, then you could either have a very wide window or a menubar which spans two rows or more.
It does lack some integration features with Amazon like how much data is currently on S3 or how much bandwith / estimated current. This has to be done by visiting the S3 website. Whilst this breaks the process flow it does seem like a generic backup / WebDav client.
With version 1.2 of JungleDisk you can access your files through a web interface. The web client is very basic but it does the job. It even allows upload of files. It could use some improvements to make it easier to use as well as a makeup brush.