Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Backing up your backup on Amazon Glacier

You would know the value of their digital assets. More so, you would also know the value of backing up your digital assets.

There are various threats to your digital assets, each with different risks* and impacts.Hardware failure is the most imminent, followed by accidental software actions.

The way most people do backup is to make multiple copies of their data on external hard drives and or DVDs, or perhaps tape drives, in this order of possibility since this is the order of ease of use. Which would work good against hardware failures and accidents, These however would not save the data in case of physical crisis: fire, flood, theft etc. Physical threats (fire, flood and theft etc), however lower their risk may be, still have a risk.

Some people do backup on the cloud, making zips and uploading it to their free email accounts. And now there is a plethora of cloud storage. Though cloud storage may work, but given the ever increasing amount of data, this can be prohibitively expensive (or perceived as prohibitively expensive) for most of the people.

Amazon has come up with Glacier, a cold storage. A storage which is inexpensive to maintain. However, it is both time and cost prohibitive to retrieve large amount of backup from Amazon within a very short time. So it is not intended for primary backup.

A strategy I would suggest would be to keep using your primary backup the way it is, perhaps on site, and then use Amazon Glacier for offsite backup. Just to safeguard against any physical risk*.




* Note: I am a little confused in the use the word "risk" in this article. There seem to be a disagreement on the definition of risk in general use. I am not sure if "risk" is the threat, probability, or the undesirable situation. Google says, "A situation involving exposure to danger", Wikipedia states "Risk is the potential that a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) will lead to a loss (an undesirable outcome)", while also pointing to the ISO 31000 (2009) /ISO Guide 73:2002 definition of risk as the "effect of uncertainty on objectives". So please bear with me.

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