Nick DeNardis

User experience, code, higher education, analytics and accessibility.

Save the Environment - Ditch the home server

Jungle Disk (opens new window)Most technical people I know have at least one server in their house to share files and or keep backups of their important stuff. Mine is on 24/7, it takes quite a bit of time to manage and I always worry if my data is really secure. It happens to sit in my basement in the same house my main computer, if there were a disaster all the data would be gone with everything else.

AmazonS3 (opens new window) is by far the best thing to happen to small time data management, well even large scale data management. And a software application JungleDisk (opens new window) that seamlessly connects your computer, Windows, OSX, Linux directly to the storage service.

A server running 24/7 uses a lot of energy. Lets say on average a mid range computer without monitor uses 152 watts of power. That is almost twice the amount of energy a TV needs. So doing a rough estimate of the math,
((Watts * Hours * Days) / 1000 kwh) * 1.4 kWh Rate = Cost per Year.
((152 * 24 * 365)/1000) * 0.14 = $186.41 per Year.
Now that is a lot of money not including the hardware and the time it takes to maintain the software and configuration.

I have JungleDisk setup two ways, a bucket for “files” which is my documents that I need to get to often and I use it like a Documents folder. And another “backup” bucket which I use for automatic backup each night of my whole system.

I have ~20 gigs stored on the drives and it only costs me ~2.50 a month for the storage, so $30.00 per Year. 1/3rd the cost, no maintenance time, and no initial cost for the hardware or setup. Not to mention your data is now in a secure 24/7 location and your helping to save the environment.

Since Amazon has so much storage it can efficiently handle the distribution across its systems. It can use a greater percentage of each of the drives producing a smaller cost (wattage wise) per gigabyte stored. This cost savings would not be able to be achieved if everyone had a house with a personal file server using 152 watts of power and only using 30% or so of the actual space on the drive.

I encourage everyone to try it out. Amazon has no setup fee or no minimum amount to spend per month, in fact my first few months only cost me $0.02 each. In the spirit of saving the environment I am announcing that I am turning off my home file server as of today. No more 24/7 usage and a definite relief on me and the environment.

For other ways to save the environment, check out today’s major initiative named Blog Action Day (opens new window).