What’s Taking Up So Much Space in AWS S3?

I’m a big fan of Amazon S3 for storage, and I like it so much that I use Odrive to sync folders from my hard drive into S3 use S3 to store copies of all of my files from Dropbox as a form of backup.  I only have about 20 GB of data that I truly care about, so that should be less than a dollar per month for hosting, right? Well…

“You are not your job or how much data you have in S3!”

Close to 250 GB billed for last month. How did that happen?

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How to Undelete Files in Amazon S3

While S3 is a great storage platform, what happens if you accidentally delete some important files? Well, S3 has a mechanism to recover deleted files, and I’d like to go into that in this post.

First, make sure you have versioning enabled on your bucket. This can be done via the API, or via the UI in the “properties” tab for your bucket. Versioning saves every change to a file (including deletions) as a separate version of said object, with the most recent version taking precedence. In fact, a deletion is also a version! It is a zero-byte version which has a “DELETE” flag set. And the essence of recovering undeleted files simply involves removing the latest version with the “DELETE” flag.

This is what that would look like in the UI:

To undelete these files, we’ll use a script I created called s3-undelete.sh, which can be found over on GitHub:

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The Importance of Having More Than One Backup

Many years ago, I wanted to make sure my data was secure, so I purchased a fireproof media safe from a (now defunct) company called FireCooler. I thought it would be a good idea to have a UL 125-rated safe which could keep an internal temperature of less than 125 degrees over an hour long fire. I regularly made backups to DVD and stored them in the safe.

Well, sometimes the best laid plans can go awry, and that was the case the other day when I went to put something in my safe, and found that it was flooded with water:

IMG_3372 IMG_3374

How did this happen? Did something in the safe suck in tons of moisture? Did the basement somehow flood and not cause water damage elsewhere? To this day, I am still not sure. I did not see any evidence of flooding in my storage area–nothing else was damaged.

Before I switched over to WordPress, one person pointed out that the safe my have been insulted with “water glass”, specifically from US Patent US7459190:

Outer wall composed of water glass sodium silicate solution that is 40% solids, 60% water, and having a silicon oxide:sodium oxide ratio in the range of 2:1 to 4:1, calcium chloride, and an additive chosen from calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide […] After curing, water released from the solidified insulation can migrate to and leak from pinhole defects which sometimes occur in the plastic shell.

Patent US7459190

So that’s a possibility, but I am not a chemist, so proving such a thing would be beyond me.

The takeaway here is that I had backups stored elsewhere so no actual data was lost. I recommend that everyone reading this, if they care about their data, to do the exact same thing. Here are a few resources for backups:

Happy Backups!