CloudBerry Online Backup and Amazon S3 – a smart solution for backing up your data to the cloud

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post comparing Backblaze and Mozy, which has been one of the more popular posts on this blog. Today I’m writing about a product called CloudBerry Online Backup, and using CloudBerry with Amazon Simple Storage Service, better known as Amazon S3.

So what is CloudBerry?  And what’s Amazon S3 for that matter?

CloudBerry is a software application that you install on your computer (Windows only) that allows you to backup your data to, and recover your data from, your account in the part of the cloud that is Amazon S3. Amazon S3 is a great way to store and manage large amounts of data in the cloud, but it is severely lacking in the User-friendly Interface category. CloudBerry is how you interact with your data at Amazon, and it is also a powerful backup application with lots of cool features, which you can read more about at this product page on their website. You can read more about Amazon S3 at Amazon’s product description page.

The Welcome Page for CloudBerry Online Backup

Do I really need another backup service?

When it comes to your data, especially business data, redundancy in your backup plan is your friend. I’m still using Backblaze on two different computers, and for $50 per year per computer I still will, but CloudBerry has some advantages over Backblaze, and it adds breadth to your overall data protection plan.

A key difference between CloudBerry and Backblaze is the quick availability of your data. To retrieve your data from Backblaze you need to ask for it, and then extract the zip file they send you, or if you need larger amounts of data, you wait for the DVD or USB drive that they send you in the mail, and which you have to pay extra for.

CloudBerry operates on a Windows Explorer-like directory structure, and recovering one or all of your files is a matter of firing up the desktop application, navigating to your files at Amazon S3, and restoring them to your computer.

Setting up your Amazon S3 account

If you don’t already have an S3 account, CloudBerry has put together a detailed blog post showing you how to do this. It’s a couple years old as of this writing, but it should tell you more or less what you need to know.

Installing and Setting up CloudBerry

Getting started with CloudBerry is a matter of downloading the setup zip file and installing it like you would most any other software. CloudBerry comes with three predefined backup plans, and there is a helpful wizard to assist you in setting up other specific plans. The screenshot below shows a custom plan that I created and the three predefined plans.

CloudBerry backup plans

What does it cost?

In this case there are two costs involved – the CloudBerry application which is currently $29.99, and whatever Amazon S3 charges you to use their space and bandwidth, which isn’t very much. My first month’s bill from Amazon which included around 26 GB of data that I uploaded with CloudBerry came to about six dollars ($6.00). I’m expecting this to decrease in future months because the bandwidth won’t be nearly as much. By the way, that 26 GB took around 21 hours to upload to Amazon, which I thought was pretty good. Amazon S3 pricing is explained on this page at Amazon’s website, along with a calculator to help you estimate your storage costs.

What’s the bottom line?

Like I said earlier, I’m going to keep using Backblaze because it’s an inexpensive, set-it-and-forget-it service that would be good to have available as a disaster recovery option. I’m also using CloudBerry now, because CloudBerry is all that as well as real-time access to your data that is reasonably priced, works really well, and has tons of features. Some of those features include automated scheduling, file compression and encryption, file versioning, file selection filtering by type, file purging, email notifications, and Amazon bucket creation from within CloudBerry.

CloudBerry gives you a 15-day free trial to test drive the software and see how you like it. I think you’ll find that it’s a solid addition to a well-rounded data backup and recovery plan.