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Last post Author Topic: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage  (Read 34731 times)

justice

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Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« on: June 17, 2008, 05:28:20 AM »
Basic Info
App Name JungleDisk
App URL http://www.jungledisk.com/
App Version Reviewed Current Beta Version: Jungle Disk 2.0 Beta 4 [1.99d] (Released May 30, 2008) + optional Jungle Disk Plus service
Test System Specs OS Name   Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Enterprise Service Pack 1 Build 6001
System Manufacturer   Apple Inc.
Processor   Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU     T7300  @ 2.00GHz, 2000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
Installed Physical Memory (RAM)   3.00 GB
Supported OSesWindows 2000 or later (Windows XP SP2 recommended)
Mac OSX 10.3.9 or later
Linux x86 with KDE or GNOME desktop (GTK2 libraries)
Portable USB version (all platforms)
Windows Home Server specific version
Some Source code is available!

Workgroup edition is in development
Support MethodsManual, Blog, Getting Started Videos, Support Forums, Account Management, Email. All support for Jungle Disk is provided through the forums. Billing, product feedback, press and business e-mail options are available.
Upgrade Policy
  • Jungle Disk software for all three platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux)
  • Rights to install the software on an unlimited number of machines with a single S3 account
  • Lifetime free upgrades
  • A 30-day money back guarantee
Trial Version Available The Jungle Disk Software is free to download and use for 30 days.
Pricing Scheme$20 to purchase Jungle Disk. Optional Jungle Disk Plus service, which adds browser-based access to your files and other features for $1 per month. Additional monthly Amazon S3 fees apply.
Reviewer Donation LinkDonate to Justice, the Reviewer
Screencast Video URLhttp://jungledisk.com/manual/screencast.shtml
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Productnone, bought the software and been using it for 4 months.

Intro:
Jungle Disk (from now on JD) is an application that lets you store files and backup data securely to Amazon.com's S3 ™ Storage Service. Unlike other services, with Amazon S3 ™ there is no minimum and no maximum amount of data you can store.  You pay only for the actual amount of storage you are using. It supports 256-AES encryption if desired.

In practice it's possible to access the JD drive as a mapped network drive in explorer, over WebDav or via the local http server (JD Plus). JD keeps a local cache of 1GB by default which allows most operations to be instantaneous with any changes being made transparently in the background. There's an inbuilt backup utility included which works well and previous versions are kept if desired. This approach makes JD suitable for backup purposes as well as temporary file storage or as an remote filesystem as it will work with native copy tools such as robocopy, sync tools such as SyncToy and SFFS etc. Block level incremental backup is supported through JD plus, as well as web access (access anywhere via browser via jungle disk's website)

Version 2 (in development and tested here) includes some excellent refinements, partly based on user feedback, these include but are not limited to (see release notes):
  • New User Interface
  • Support for new Jungle Disk 2.0 buckets as well as Compatibility buckets, which can be shared with other S3 tools
  • Support for connecting to multiple buckets at the same time
  • Support for multiple backup jobs with independent scheduling
  • Expanded bandwidth limiting feature
  • New Previous Versions features
  • Verify MD5 hash on downloads (as well as upload)


main.png
previousversions.png
restore.png

Who is this app designed for:

Due to the versatility JD can be used as a autoamated offsite backup solution for you and your family's pc, to access files from multiple locations, and probably other scenarios. It doesn't hide the jargon completely but the interface is easy to use and can be setup without expertise. Therefore JD is designed for casual to expert computer users who are looking for a safe backup solution or to access files remotely without many of the restrictions offered by competing products. For example you'll have the full context menu available on the mapped drive, and it works with regular copy applications and any file managers. You can set it and forget it and let the scheduler backup any changed files over your net connection.

The Good
  • Set it and forget it backup solution. Set it up to run a backup of folders periodically I find I no longer have to worry about harddisk-lifespan or safety of my data.
     
  • Minimal bandwith use. It will only update changed files (or changes bytes with the JD Plus service in combination with the backup functionality) so bandwidth use is limited after the first backup.
     
  • Great control without option-hell. Options to keep previous versions, limit upload speed, backup preview, the new restore functionality, detailed logging. You can get dirty if you so desire but I hardly ever needed to access the manual.
     
  • Works with your applications. As the mapped drive can be used as a filesystem you an use all your regular applications on it. I use OneNote, wikidpad and others to write/ read the data files directly off the drive and this works perfectly. Others have used it successfully as an subversion repository host.
     
  • Lifetime free upgrades. Noone would buy it if you had to pay monthly to Amazon + for upgrades, but still it's nice.
     
The needs improvement section
  • Proper help file. At the moment the help function links to an online manual (which i found to be satisfactory), but I miss not having a proper windows help file. I can't search in it. However I can understand with the many versions that this would be a lot harder to update. And it links in well with the program (press F1 to be taken to the right page).
     
  • Explorer sometimes becomes unresponsive. When using the mapped network drive I found on multiple systems that Windows Explorer sometimes becomes unresponsive. It seems this only happens when I was requesting a folder with large files that weren't cached yet and JD had to download the files to the local cache. However it's easy to avoid this issue by using the local webserver to access the folders, or preferably by using the inbuilt restore functionality. This opens up a screen where you can select which files to restore to what folder. This works fine. It's still annoying to have to do this, however.
     
  • Control over obsolete files. There is an option to remove files off the backup that are removed from the local filesystem (which i wouldn't recommend), and options to exclude subfolders from being backed up. I'd like to have JD ask to remove backed up folders when I remove them from a backup schedule. Currently I have to manually go into the backups and previous versions folders and remove the now obsolete files. I worry a little that I'm overpaying Amazon for files that I'm not using. Currently I'm paying Amazon $7.70 including taxes to host 31GB and backup 5GB a month (with 50MB restored)
     
  • Depends on net connection. Inherently to JD is your broadband connection. If you have restricted usage limits then JD might not be an option. However you can set to backup at certain times each night and abort after X hours to stay within certain time limits. There's no option to restrict a maximum backup allowance which could help people in this situation. Upload speed can be limited.
It has to be said I guess I'm always open to do nearly the same for cheaper or free. Amazon seems to offer a great solution cost-wise and JD is at least keeping their eyes open for other storage providers.

Why I think you should use this product
It's one of the best solutions to have files / data available in multiple locations (even portable on a usb stick), and it's one of the best solutions for painless backup. Together it's a pretty good deal. Add in the flexibility provided and I can recommend this. Paying a small monthly fee to have his peace of mind is worth it for me.

How does it compare to similar apps
Jungle Disk does a pretty good job explaining its strengths, but looking at my personal preferences I'll have to break it down to the following:
  • Amazon S3 has more space and reliability than my host.
  • Files are still available as for all processes with full functionality as usual unlike something like Mozy or Xdrive.
  • The backup functionality works as well with less depencies than local backup solutions.

You can still use your sync or backup software with it, I find I don't really need them as the backup interval can be set as low as 5 minutes and as high as weekly.

Conclusions
JD is a very flexible, powerful and reliable data storage solution which can be used for many purposes. Apart from small niggles which really can be solved with updates, I have to recommend it except if you object to costs being involved,  because of external restrictions on your connection, or because you don't need this tool. Solutions that do half the job for less might be available but I've not been tempted. Jungle Disk is pretty amazing and makes live easier for me and my family.

Links to other reviews of this application
I've not found any comprehensive reviews of the 2.0 beta version but other reviews are available:
I'm sure you can find more.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2008, 06:12:45 AM by justice »

justice

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2008, 05:33:55 AM »
Oh if you want screenshots of advanced options or other functionality let me know and i'll ad them to the bottom of the first post. It's also my first proper mini-review  :-[

TucknDar

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2008, 05:42:57 AM »
Great review, and ironically I just (as in yesterday) purchased a license for JD. Personally I'm actually not using it's built-in backup facilities, rather I'm using SyncBackSE to sync/backup through JD which works pretty well, and gives me more options for the backup-specifics.

It's great to be able to just open up the mapped drive in Total Commander and copy some files and feel that "ah, that's them backed up and safe". And the price to pay to Amazon I suspect will be minimal with my usage. :)

Just a minor suggestion for the review, list the price of JD somewhere easily visible (it's $20, btw).

justice

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2008, 05:50:49 AM »
Thanks :) Can't believe I forgot the price. haha. Added under Pricing Scheme.

mouser

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2008, 05:51:12 AM »
Great review  :up: :up:

justice

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2008, 06:14:27 AM »
Thanks mouser. I added in a line or two to emphasize that JD does incremental backup by default, and block level incremental backup if you buy the JD Plus service, which also allows web access via Jungle Disk's website (doesn't require your pc to be on). Worth $1 a month for me.

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2008, 06:25:14 AM »
great review Justice, thanks

the JD Plus service ... allows web access via Jungle Disk's website (doesn't require your pc to be on)
-
how do you mean "doesn't require your pc to be on" -
do you mean it makes your S3/Amazon account accessible from other pc's?
Tom

justice

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2008, 06:31:47 AM »
Yes, it makes your amazon account accessible from any pc via jungle disk's website as opposed to making your local jungle disk installation accessible over the the web if I understand correctly.

cthorpe

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2008, 12:24:15 PM »
Jungle Disk 2.0 (Final) was just released.  It is a free upgrade for registered users.  The original review was for the beta of this release, but for anyone who balked at using a beta for critical backups, you can rest easy now.

Jungle Disk 2.0 includes major upgrades in functionality, performance, and ease of use. Here are some of the highlights:

    * New User Interface
          o New first-time setup wizard makes setup a snap
          o New configuration dialog to organize our growing list of features
          o New backup preview dialog so you can see exactly what will be backed up
          o New backup selection dialog makes it faster and easier to set up automatic backup
    * Support for new Jungle Disk 2.0 buckets
          o Instantly rename files and directories
          o Optionally encrypt file & directory names
          o Change encryption key (bucket password) for existing files instantly
          o Unlimited number of buckets supported
    * Support for Compatibility buckets, which can be shared with other S3 tools
    * Support for European S3 buckets (note: Jungle Disk Plus not supported)
    * Support for connecting to multiple buckets at the same time
    * Support for multiple backup jobs with independent scheduling
    * Expanded bandwidth limiting feature
          o Applies to both network drive and automatic backup traffic
          o Set limits on both upload and download rates
          o Change limits on the fly
          o Set schedules for limits
    * New Previous Versions features
          o Set minimum and maximum number of previous versions to keep
          o Exclude file types and directories from previous versions
          o Customize previous version settings on a per-backup-job basis
    * New command line options to integrate with external task schedulers and batch jobs
    * Greatly improved performance for large directories and large cache sizes
    * ..and much more!

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2008, 10:58:14 AM »
I'm just after installing Jungle Disk & opening an account with Amazon
Opening amazon a/c is a bit confusing -
I thought I was just signing up for S3 & was faced with a list of services with no S3 in sight till I figured it's "Amazon Simple Storage Service" (I presume!)

my question is
Anyone in Europe using American storage for S3 ?
-
The American storage is a lot cheaper but they do say that the European will give better performance in Europe..
If the American storage is atall passable I'll probably go with that cause I will be loading lots of GB's
although looking again it's 13c(US) more expensive per GB in Europe which wont break the bank...

edit/ corrected my sums
Tom
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 11:10:23 AM by tomos »

cthorpe

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2008, 11:22:48 AM »
Well, unless you plan on constantly moving a lot of data the lower performance shouldn't be too much of an issue.  Just schedule Jungle Disk to do the transfers when you aren't on your computer.  When I first installed it, I transferred about 2 gigs worth of data over the first couple of days.  Since then, I only move a few MB per day.


Carl

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2008, 11:29:38 AM »
Well, unless you plan on constantly moving a lot of data the lower performance shouldn't be too much of an issue.  Just schedule Jungle Disk to do the transfers when you aren't on your computer.  When I first installed it, I transferred about 2 gigs worth of data over the first couple of days.  Since then, I only move a few MB per day.

thanks Carl :up:
rebooting now for the drive remapping
Tom

mwb1100

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2008, 12:12:07 PM »
my question is
Anyone in Europe using American storage for S3 ?

I'd suggest doing some research before using the European S3 servers with JungleDisk (on the JD website/forums).  I know that Euro S3 servers were not supported initially, and I believe that there are still some items that are not supported (I think that JD Plus currently does not support the European servers).

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2008, 12:43:38 PM »
true mwb1100
the Plus version is not supported by the european servers - I've opted for the american ones now so wont go back unless things very sluggish or something :)

hmm
a straight forward copy/ drag n drop of files in DOpus results in new modified date - is that the norm -
using SFFS the files keep their original modified dates (I've no experience with online backup or with networks even :) )
I'm reasonably used to SFFS so probably wont use Jungle Disk as the actual backup software
Tom

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2008, 04:07:49 PM »
looking around a bit in Amazon S3 -
it's not very accessible without Jungle Disk is it!? (well, it took a while to even figure out I was already logged in)
Make that pretty much totally inaccessible (to me at any rate..)

If you have Super Flexible File Synchronizer & can figure out how to create a "Bucket" (basically your folder/file container) in S3,
it seems easy to use SFFS to backup directly to S3
(in Advanced Mode, create or edit a profile and click on the "Internet..." button. Change drop-down setting from ftp to Amazon S3. More details here)
- I'm not sure if Partial file update is supported.

Will probably get Jungle Disk anyway cause I think it allows SFFS to use partial file update
Also, it's great to be able to browse your backups & keep an overview and have it all so accessible
Tom

mwb1100

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2008, 07:43:12 PM »
lWill probably get Jungle Disk anyway cause I think it allows SFFS to use partial file update
Also, it's great to be able to browse your backups & keep an overview and have it all so accessible

I'm not sure whether or not JungleDisk will allow SFFS partial file update to work (but it might). Usually partial file update requires some corresponding software running on the server, but maybe SFFS can get around this somehow by keeping a database on the local machine.

What I do know is that with JD Plus you get partial file update automatically (but JD Plus is an additional 1.00 per month).  JD Plus runs the server component on the Amazon EC2 service, so the local JD software communicates to the JD Plus server (and you pay for that bandwidth, which should never be more than what you'd pay to directly store or retrieve a file directly from S3).  The JD Plus server then deals with the S3 storage, but Amazon does not charge transaction or bandwidth fees for EC2 access to S3.

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2008, 03:24:35 AM »
It seems that SFFS cannot do partial file update at the moment with Amazon S3
(If I get a chance I'll try it via Jungle Disk & report back)

The Jungle Disk Plus threshold for "Block-level file updates" is 1MB which is very good
If, for example you're tagging photos it could be very helpful

Apparently a lot of people use the Block-level file update for True Crypt containers - anyone here doing that?
Tom

J-Mac

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2008, 03:01:06 AM »
This looks pretty sweet, especially compared to another similar offer I received this week - Smugmug's "SmugVault Service".  Smugmug is an online photo repository and what they are offering is storage on S3 for your RAW files, plus any other files you wish.  However the storage and bandwidth pricing they offer is just about double what JD offers.

Gotta give it a try!  Thanks for the great review, justice!

Jim

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2008, 03:53:02 AM »
I've done a set it and forget it thingy -
every now & again I think omg I'd better double-check /compare folders in Dopus or whatever and everything's looking synchronised

I'm backing up my local backups - have everything already compressed & encrypted where necessary so I just synch it over

So easy  :-*  yes, thanks again Justice
Tom

mouser

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2008, 05:12:21 AM »
Can i remind people that one of the ways you can say thank you to Justice or any mini-review writer is by sending them a few of your donationcredits.  :up:

tomos

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2008, 02:54:47 PM »
wasnt sure where to post this
Amazon S3 isnt functioning for a lot of people from all over - not sure if it's functioning at all actually

From a JungleDisk thread
http://forum.jungled...iewtopic.php?t=16281
According to amazon:

9:06 AM PDT We are currently experiencing elevated error rates with S3. We are investigating.
9:27 AM PDT We're investigating an issue affecting requests. We'll continue to post updates here.
9:48 AM PDT Just wanted to provide an update that we are currently pursuing several paths of corrective action.
10:13 AM PDT We are continuing to pursue corrective action.
10:33 AM PDT A quick update that we believe this is an issue with the communication between several Amazon S3 internal components. We do not have an ETA at this time but will continue to keep you updated.
ironically the JungleDisk forums are also experiencing difficulties :huh: :o couldnt reply to thread myself/posts appearing dissapearing for others
is it all a sign :tellme:
Tom

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2008, 11:08:31 PM »
It's affecting me.  I can't login to my S3 account nor JungleDisk Plus account at all.  I didn't have any problems easlier, however, posting to the JD forum.

Jim

justice

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2008, 02:08:07 AM »
First time this has happened as far as I know since s3 started. You can see the status of S3 at http://status.aws.amazon.com/ and it has affected every website using s3, not just JungleDisk and not something they will want to repeat I am sure. Should be fine now though and no data has been lost.

J-Mac

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #23 on: July 21, 2008, 02:23:01 AM »
Yeah, I did see that page, justice.  One of the mods on the JD forum posted it early Sunday night, EDT.  Nice status page, BTW, though it is a little unclear as to the times of each update. Lots of updates, however, and lots of details.  Pretty informative.  I didn't see that before they posted it on the JD forum.

Thanks!

Jim

justice

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Re: Jungle Disk Mini-Review: offsite data storage
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2008, 03:07:25 AM »
If you want something more graphy then try http://cloudstatus.com/ it monitors the various services and shows you nice graphs and throughput.