The sys admin’s daily grind: S3QL

Horror Pictures

Article from Issue 133/2011
Author(s):

Sys admin Charly has been an enthusiastic amateur photographer for many years. Recently, he started worrying about something happening to his rapidly expanding photo collection. Can the cloud save the day?

When I bought my first digital camera 10 years ago, backup wasn’t an issue. The 2Mpx point-and-shoot box created JPGs so small I could back up my photo gallery to a couple of CDs. Today, I use raw format, and I can easily have 10 or 20GB of material on the card when I get back from a Sunday outing. Even though not all of this ends up in my collection, I still have a fairly substantial amount of material to deal with. My works of art are stored on a small NAS box at home. But, I would additionally like to back them up somewhere outside my flood-endangered home. I was thinking of a cloud storage service like Amazon’s S3, and I would like to encrypt my photos when I store them.

While I was shopping around for a tool to do this for me, I stumbled across the S3QL filesystem [1]. S3QL splits my data into small blocks, encrypts the blocks, fires them off into the cloud, and stores them in an S3 bucket (Figure 1). “Bucket” is Amazon-speak for a leased storage slot.

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