Toolie Travel Blog

A million-mile flyer talks about the life of a business traveler.

Newsletter: Cloud Computing for Business Travelers, Part 3

In July and August, I wrote two newsletters about Cloud Computing for Business Travelers. At that time I mentioned that Cloudberry Lab, my favorite vendor for Amazon S3 tools, would be releasing their Cloudberry Drive application in a few weeks.  Well it's fresh off the shelf, happily installed on my hard drive, and I am delighted.

There are so many benefits to having a cloud drive mounted as a local drive that I scarcely know where to start.  But before I get into that, let me remind you why I have embraced cloud storage in the first place.

I am a content producer; my intellectual property is the lifeblood of my business.  I'm also the system administrator in our household.  When the domain controller goes down, or a hard drive fails, I'm the one under the desk replacing the hardware.  I've had two very large, very significant hard drives fail on me in the last year; one may be unrecoverable, the other still has a fighting chance.  I'm just waiting to assemble the $300-$550 EACH that it will probably cost me to recover that data.

I don't think I spent more than $100 each on these hard drives, but it's going to cost me 3-5 times that much to get the data back.  You never know when a hard drive is going to fail for sure, but the last few I've had failed right on schedule -- immediately AFTER their warranties expired.

Imagine Hard Drives That Never Die

I was listening to a YouTube presentation about Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3), and the speaker talked about the "durability" of S3.  They claim "Eleven 9's" of durability, which means that if you stored 100,000 objects (documents, photos, etc.) with them you'd lose one object every 1 million years.  Suddenly I realized how foolish I've been to rely completely on spinning hard drives to safeguard my data.  I could back up to DVD, but when you have over 3.0 Terabytes (3,072 gigabytes) of data, it is an unrealistic task.

Amazon S3 uses both spinning hard drives and solid state drives (no moving parts), but they make enough copies of your data within their network that the chances of them losing your data are too small to even contemplate.  Some people balk at the idea of perpetually paying for data storage, but in truth you are doing that now.  It's just that you're accustomed to paying money up front for a hard drive instead of paying a little each month.  But as you can see, the cost of that hard drive is going to be even greater for me than either the initial cost or the recovery costs because of lost revenue from that intellectual property.  So this is why I rejoice over the arrival of Cloudberry Drive.

Cloudberry Drive Makes It Easy

Cloudberry makes it incredibly easy to get set up.  I installed the software, created a new bucket in Amazon S3, entered my Access Key and Secret Key from Amazon S3 into Cloudberry Drive, and mounted the drive.  Now I have a hard drive of unlimited size that is vastly more durable than even the newest solid state drives, because Amazon makes backup copies for me.  And I would gladly pay more than the 12.5 cents per gigabyte per month that I pay Amazon S3 simply because I know I don't have to worry about losing that data.

One of the main reasons why I chose Cloudberry Drive over other cloud storage is that it presents me with the same view of my S3 bucket data as their other tools. If I mount a bucket as a drive and then look at the bucket using Cloudberry's S3 Explorer PRO, I see exactly the same files. I don't need a fancy interface, I just want to see and work with my files, and Cloudberry drive does that for me.

You can even mount multiple drives from differing Amazon accounts if needed.  I have Cloudberry Drive installed at work so that I can access files I've posted from home.  But even when I'm home, I don't have to move files between computers, I can just drop files into Cloudberry Drive and access them from the another computer that has the same bucket mounted as a drive.  It's a huge time-saver as well as peace of mind for my intellectual property.  And as a business traveler, it's the fastest easiest way to park an accessible copy of my presentations and documents if something goes wrong while I am on the road.
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