Jungle Disk & Amazon S3 - first thoughts

Over the past week I have been testing the latest version of Jungle Disk, working alongside Amazon S3. I have never used either before, but the small price-point of Amazon S3 was very attractive to at least see if the service is a viable solution for me.

In simple terms, Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is a storage solution 'in the cloud'. I am starting to dislike the 'in the cloud' term, but we are all stuck with it. It equates to uploading and storing your files on a server at Amazon HQ, hidden away behind some security wall. The S3 service is pretty complicated and you need to use an application (either built by yourself or pre-made) to give you a GUI and some way of getting your files uploaded. One such solution is Jungle Disk.

The application is available for Mac, Windows and Linux, so everyone is catered for. You can get a 30-day trial download, or pay $20 for all three platform versions, with unlimited free upgrades, plus the ability to install on as many computers that you own. This is fantastic value for money. Setting up the software is really easy. It asks for your Amazon S3 log-in details and hidden key. Once logged in, you can set up your first upload. This again is really straightforward, simply ticking boxes for what you want to include or exclude. You can schedule automatic backups, or click the 'start' button manually. You get a nice progress bar, so you always know how far your backup has progressed.

My only niggle was user error. I had forgotten to uncheck some larger files, such as my email database. So this large file had been included in the backup. Not a massive problem, there is a 'cancel' button that effects just the individual file (rather than the whole backup). The button is very responsive and worked straight away. Subsequent backups check the Amazon server and look for changed files only, so in my first test, only the initial backup was just under 2GB. The great thing is, that I checked my Amazon account today and it cost me 18pence so far. The monthly charge will be slightly less than this, but as you can see, this is fantastic VFM. I will keep you updated and bring you more news about the Jungle Disk application further down the line.