Amazon S3 and Cardbox

The project to add Amazon S3 facilities to Cardbox has been completed. (If you’re not familiar with Cardbox then you can read about it here and get a free 1-month trial licence here).

Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. Secure, reliable and cheap, it can be used to store any amount of data, at any time, and retrieve it from anywhere on the web. There is no sign-up fee and you pay only for the storage you actually use.

In the new build of Cardbox that is released today, we have incorporated the following features to make use of S3:

The Cardbox Server (used in multi-user and networking systems) can be configured to back up your databases automatically, at specified intervals, to your S3 storage space. There is no interruption in service during a backup, because the Cardbox Server can back up a database even if it is in use. You can have a single backup copy of the latest version of each database, or you can have a separate backup made each time that the database has changed.

Cardbox itself has a new command that lets you view your S3 storage space and upload, download or delete files. Apart from managing the Cardbox Server’s backups, this also allows you to make backups of files on your own computer.

Cardbox’s VBScript macro system has been expanded to allow you to manage your S3 storage space programmatically. This offers interesting prospects for the future: for instance, a photographic database that stores and displays each photograph at a reasonable screen resolution while the original full-resolution images are held in an archive on S3.

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3 Responses to “Amazon S3 and Cardbox”

  1. Damien Stevens Says:

    How long did it take you to develop the backup for Cardbox? Did you already have a backup system in place before using S3?

  2. cardbox Says:

    There were already some backup mechanisms in place but nothing directly analogous. I’d say the whole thing took a week:

    1. Developing a “backup while still working” function for backing up to the local hard disk. (This was derived from the “download while still working” function that already existed).
    2. Developing the scheduler to make the backup happen at user-selected times and intervals.
    3. Developing the user interface for scheduler specifications. (This was the most complex part of the project).
    4. Adapting (1) to back up to S3 instead of the hard disk. All the ingredients were already there: “back in small chunks while working”, from (1); and the whole business of asynchronous TCP/IP communications, because serving data requests, the main function of the Cardbox Server, already works like that.

  3. New Amazon service agreement « Cardbox Says:

    [...] its predecessor, which we criticised in detail in the S3 in Business article. Using the “backup to S3” features of Cardbox now seems legally as well as technically [...]

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