utility

Going back to the basics….moving out of Amazon Drive!

As of June 8, 2017, it was announced that when when users try to sign up for Amazon Drive they will not be able to select an unlimited cloud storage option. Instead they can choose either 100 GB for $11.99 per year, or 1 TB for $59.99, with up to 30 TB available for an additional $59.99 per TB. (The prior pricing was unlimited everything for $59.99.) My data came up to about 5TB, which according to their new pricing structure would cost me $300+ (Data is always growing!!).

That is quite costly for just 5TB of storage when I can buy two 8TB drives and have it locally in a RAID configuration or a mirrored set. I shopped around with other popular cloud providers but each and every one of them have some sort of limitations. I decided to purchase two 8TB drives and maintain it locally. 

I found very little help on Google when searching for ways to move out of Amazon Drive with ease. I found a lot of cool little utilities but none were able to do a clean and consistent sync copy/move. It most cases the application would either hang, or incomplete the job.

I tried a lot of tools to get a synced local copy but the process seemed harder and harder. I tried a lot of freeware and shareware utilities as well as those offered by Amazon. I am just listing my personal experiences here so that I can save time for those whole have a similar situation.

Tools I tried:

Amazon Drive Desktop Sync

  •  Horrible transfer speeds +
  • Buggy Software
  • Startup & Resuming files would delay download significantly.

SymLink (MacOS/ Linux)

  • Somewhat works but metadata is lost.

NetDrive

  • Mounts the Amazon Cloud Drive and a Network Drive
  • Constant disconnects + too many app updates
  • Application hangs with large files
  • Service needed to be restarted multiple times to connect with Amazon

Cloudberry Explorer

  • Quirks around Admin Mode.
  • Ghostfiles (0kb) leftover.
  • Acts like an FTP Client but missing a lot features

rClone (Banned)

AllwaySync

  • The Oneway transfer feature is nice but it was taking a long time between files
  • This might have worked if my filebase was a whole lot smaller but failed for larger jobs.

Expandrive

  • Similar to NetDrive but a whole lot stable, but would fail on larger files.

Odrive

  • Horrible interface. Didn’t work most of time.

& a few more applications…. that didn’t work out!

Syncovery

Syncovery was the  winner in my case. This tools was the best in speed and got me an exact copy out from Amazon Cloud drive. It supports resuming! It is available on all platforms. It has a nice layout and can run as a scheduled job!

It took Syncovery literally 2 days to get all of my data downloaded. I was simply amazed at how efficient this tool was working. It maintained a consistent speed. Didn’t lose any metadeta. I ran a file check and all of them checked out 100%.

The trial version worked in my case and I am considering getting the Pro version. It excelled where all other failed. It wasn’t a resource hog and did the job in the first go! Thank you Syncovery!

 

Couple of lessons learned in getting success with all my data downloaded.

  1. Metadata is important especially when dealing with older files. Try not of lose it, as once it is lost there is no going back.
  2. Don’t copy to the same path as the original. Use an external drive and copy it there.
  3. If dealing with a lot of smaller files break them into chunks or batches to avoid application hang
  4. Apart from Syncovery, there were some utilities that might delete the files from Amazon and put them in Trash. Make sure you look there if you notice files missing file. It is most certainly there. I personally didn’t have this issue but some people have reported this with other utilities.
  5. Share your experiences to help out others.

Conclusion

I am in no way promoting a product from Syncovery, but based on my personal experience I found it to be the easiest to move the amount of data I had from Amazon down to my local server.  I am going to sway away from the public cloud space for a while at-least for my personal stuff. Based on the pricing, limitation of file size and types, and amount of data I have, I am still searching for good cloud store. I am evaluating ownCloud for now. If I ever goto a public cloud storage solution again, I am going to try my exit exercise/ strategy prior to bulk upload.

Another strategy people are recommending is hosting all the files in a VM on AWS/ Google/ Azure. My issue there is access cost. If my access is within the VM I am good, but any data I am pulling or accessing out of the VM – I am paying for it!

A Beginner’s Guide to Checksum

Are you wondering what a checksum is? You may have noticed that when you download files from certain websites, they have a very long string of numbers and letters called a checksum or MD5 checksum or SHA-1, etc. These really long strings basically act as fingerprints for that particular file, whether it be an EXE, ISO, ZIP, etc.

Checksums are used to ensure the integrity of a file after it has been transmitted from one storage device to another. This can be across the Internet or simply between two computers on the same network. Either way, if you want to ensure that the transmitted file is exactly the same as the source file, you can use a checksum.

The checksum is calculated using a hash function and is normally posted along with the download. To verify the integrity of the file, a user calculates the checksum using a checksum calculator program and then compares the two to make sure they match.

Checksums are used not only to ensure a corrupt-free transmission, but also to ensure that the file has not been tampered with. When a good checksum algorithm is used, even a tiny change to the file will result in a completely different checksum value.

The most common checksums are MD5 and SHA-1, but both have been found to have vulnerabilities. This means that malicious tampering can lead to two different files having the same computed hash. Due to these security concerns, the newer SHA-2 is considered the best cryptographic hash function since no attack has been demonstrated on it as of yet.

About 99.9% of the time, you really don’t need to care or worry about checksums when downloading files off the Internet. However, if you are downloading something sensitive like anti-virus or privacy software like Tor, it’s probably a good idea to verify the checksum because hackers can create malware-infested versions of critical software in order to gain full access to a system.

Windows has in-built checksum utility and it is very easy to use:

It can also calculate for MD2 MD4 MD5 SHA1 SHA256 SHA384 SHA512

Download Microsoft File Checksum Integrity Verifier

The MD5 & SHA Checksum Utility is my favorite utility for working with checksums because it has all the features I need in the free version.