Online Storage with JungleDisk

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Most of us know we should backup our files, but even when we do it's usually not a fully thought out process and consists of dumping files to a CD/DVD or another hard drive in our homes. That's fine for most recovery situations, but what happens if you have a fire, flood, or your backup media also fails (this has happenned to me before).

Enter online storage. Amazon's S3™ service is an inexpensive way to store data online and JungleDisk makes it easy. At its heart JungleDisk is a WebDAV server that enables easy access to Amazon's servers. The beauty of it is that you can access the files easily through your existing file manager. No more clucky web interfaces or inability to use a favorite backup program.

While Linux is the focus here, many of you have other systems that still need to be backed up that are running a different OS. JungleDisk has versions for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, so you can still use the same solution.

Pricing
Because Amazon's service isn't free I included a some pricing data from JungleDisk's website. Only a couple of examples are listed, but other tiers exist. For unlimited storage the cost will be 15 cents per gigabyte per month.

Data Stored Monthly Transfer Amazon S3™
250MB 25MB $0.05
20GB 2GB $3.40

Security
As with any online activity, security is an important consideration. Encryption is available using an Amazon AWS secret key or a custom key. You can also choose to not encrypt files.

How-to Access
The current version of JungleDisk uses a WebDAV server that must be accessed from the localhost. No web access is available at this time.

If you are a Konqueror user connecting to your online storage can be done through the webdav kioslave. Simply enter "webdav://localhost:2667/" in the address bar and your ready to start transferring files.

For Gnome users it's almost as easy. Choose "Connect to Server" from the "Places" menu and select the "WebDAV (HTTP)" service type. Enter "localhost" for the server and "2667" for the port.

If neither of these options appeal to you and you prefer a mounted drive, all you need to type is "mount.davfs http://localhost:2667 /mnt/MOUNTPOINT -o nolocks".

rsync users are also in luck. JungleDisk does support it and they recommend using the --inplace and --size-only flags to ensure proper operation.

Conclusion
JungleDisk offers a compelling solution for online backup that's easy to use and at roughly 15 cents per gigabyte per month, it won't break the bank. I've focused on backup as the key usage for online storage, but it's not the only one. Sharing files with friends and family and transfering files between home and work are other possibilities. I've even heard of enterprising websites using Amazon's service to store high bandwidth files instead of hosting them on their owns sites. Whatever your need, JungleDisk is an intriguing program that's worth watching.

Alternative online storage and media sharing service

Check out http://www.myotherdrive.com. This site gives each user a free 5GB online drive. The user can upload/download files to this drive in bulk (not one-at-a-time like so many other sites do). Also, each file can be up to 2GB (not 2MB) - many sites limit the size of individual files to 5MB or so.

You can use the site for more than just online storage and backup. Use it to share media files (videos, music, photos, etc.) with your friends and family. The site includes a viewer to view 'image' type files (JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP) as well as text files. It even offers the ability to rotate image files right on the site.

The site will soon offer the ability for the user to tag their files with keywords and provide content search, so others can find them (of course, only the files that are publicly shared!) This feature, coupled with the upcoming media player, will be a superset of the functionality of 'fad' type sites like YouTube.

Oh yeah, the site is free!