Ship Your Hard Drive to Amazon for Offsite Backup

Written by Amit Agarwal on Aug 21, 2012

Online backup services like Mozy, Carbonite, etc. are some good & inexpensive choices for storing your photos, home videos, music files, personal documents and other important computer files on to a remote location. Amazon S3 too can be used for automatic backup via Jungle Disk.

The only problem with these web based services is that they aren’t really handy for storing very large amounts of data since all files for backup have to be transferred via the Internet first and that can be a serious bottleneck. For instance, it can take around 10 days to transfer 100GB of data over a T1 Internet connection.

Let Amazon Backup your Hard Disk
amazon cloud backup

Imagine if you are a professional photographer or someone who frequently shoots video, chances are that you have stored all your life’s work on a couple of external hard drives but moving data from these local storage devices to a remote location over the web isn’t a practical option.

Now Amazon has a simple “offsite backup” solution for you in the form of AWS Import Export that doesn’t even require you to have a fast Internet connection.

You just have to ship your physical hard drive to Amazon via snail mail, they will upload data from the drive onto their servers and will then return the drive to you via snail mail again. Once the files are uploaded onto the Amazon cloud, you should be able to access them from any S3 client.

Amazon charges $80 per storage device (so it makes sense to ship them data in large hard drives instead of multiple low-capacity storage devices) and around $2.5 per hour for data loading (i.e., from your hard drive to Amazon servers). So if you ship them a USB stick with 100 GB of data, it will cost you around $85.

You can send Amazon as many storage devices (USB or SATA) as you want with any amount of data but just make sure that the proper connectors or cables for the external drives are included in the shipping package.

Going forward, if your local copy of data goes bad, you can retrieve all the data from Amazon S3 via the web or, if the amount is large, Amazon can transfer the data to a portable storage device and deliver it to your home.

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