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JHC Technology is a Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned, Small Business based in the Washington, DC Metro area. Our primary focus is to offer customized solutions and IT consulting to our Commercial and Government clients. Our experts have a broad experience delivering and managing Microsoft Enterprise applications and Cloud and Virtualization Solutions, as well as mobilizing Enterprise data.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIY, Cloud Style

Unless you’re actively working in the cloud technology space, you’re probably relying on those that are to provide you the cloud services you’ve come to depend on.  One of the biggest pieces of the move to cloud is the use of the cloud for backing up your data.  I know many people that either utilize their own external storage drives or pay a yearly/monthly subscription to backup info to an online vendor.

While an external drive is good, it’s not always there when you need it, and while an online vendor is an easy choice, what do you really know about them?  Can you trust the storage?  Can you trust that they’ll be in business?  Can you trust that they won’t make a mistake and delete your files?

For me, I decided that I wasn’t going to pay for an external drive, and there’s no reason for me to utilize an online vendor.  With Amazon Web Services and the free tier, I pay next to nothing for my small backup account.  This post will walk through the ease of using AWS’s Simple Storage Service (S3) to back up your own information and cut out the expensive hardware and expensive middle man.

If you haven’t done so already, create an AWS account by going to http://aws.amazon.com and clicking “Sign Up”.
  1. Once you have your account created, go to the AWS Management Console.  Select S3.  
  2. From the S3 Dashboard, select Create Bucket.  (Note:  an S3 Bucket is simply a container for your files.  Within Buckets you can have Folders to help organize information.)  
  3. Once you’ve created the bucket, you will be prompted to enter a name.  Keep in mind that this name is not simply unique to your account, which means you won’t be able to go generic.  You may have to enter a couple of names to find one that works.  I ended up with “demo-test-1” as my bucket name, as an FYI.  As you can note, you also get to select the region in which to store your data.  
  4. Once you’ve named your Bucket, click Create (You can also set up logging for the bucket, if you’d like).
  5. You will now have your bucket listed on the S3 dashboard.  
  6. Access the bucket by clicking the Bucket name.
  7. You can create folders by clicking on the Actions dropdown and selecting Create Folder.  Simply type the folder name in the line that appears.
  8. To upload a file or files, click Actions, then select Upload.  
  9. You will then be prompted to select your files.  Click Start Upload when finished selecting your files.  

By default, the S3 bucket is accessible only to the user account that created the bucket.  In order to make the bucket available to others, permissions will have to be assigned via AWS Identity and Access Management users or through other permissions that open availability to the public.

Matt Jordan is the Cloud Services Manager for JHC Technology.  He can be reached at mjordan@jhctechology.com, @matt_jhc, or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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