Cloud Backup - How to Set Up Amazon S3 for Cloud Backup

Cloud Backup


Amazon 150 300

Amazon S3 provides a low-cost, scalable cloud storage location for secure off-site data protection. It offers a free tier to its cloud services that includes 5GB of storage for a year. Retrospect 11 for Windows and Retrospect 13 for Mac are certified for Amazon S3. Follow these step-by-step instructions for setting up an Amazon S3 account, configuring a storage location (called a "bucket"), and creating a set of security credentials (an Access Key and a Secret Key, similar to a username and password).


Account Setup Guide

See the following video or the steps below to quickly create an Amazon AWS account.

  1. Visit Amazon AWS to start the account creation process and click "Create an AWS Account".

    1 aws

  2. Fill in an email address.

    2 create account

  3. Again fill in an email address and create a suitable password. This will be the administrator password for the Amazon AWS account.

    3 login credentials

  4. Complete the contact information form.

    4 contact information

  5. Complete the payment information form.

    5 payment information

  6. Complete the identity verification.

    6 identity verification

  7. Select an appropriate Support Plan.

    7 support plan

  8. The new account is created. You’re ready to set up the storage location.

    8 account complete


Storage Setup Guide

Now we will create a bucket that Retrospect can use to store backups.

  1. Go to S3 and click "Create Bucket"

    9 aws s3

  2. Type in an appropriate name for the bucket. Note that these are globally-unique names.

    10 s3 bucket

  3. Your bucket is now ready. In Retrospect, the "Path" is s3.amazonaws.com/your_bucket_name. Next, you need a set of security credentials for Retrospect to use to access it.

    11 s3 bucket created


Choosing a Storage Class

Amazon S3 offers different storage classes to tailor its feature set and pricing model to different use cases. Retrospect supports "Standard", "Reduced Redundancy", "Infrequent Access", and "Glacier". The default storage class is "Standard". See below for how to use the other storage classes.

Using "Infrequent Access" Storage Class

You can use Amazon’s guide to Lifecycle Management or follow the steps below.

  1. Go to S3, select your Retrospect bucket, click on Properties, select Lifecycle, and click "Add Rule".

    Lifecycle 1 properties

  2. Choose the target for the rule. This must include your set.

    Lifecycle 2 rule target

  3. Select "Transition to the Standard - Infrequent Access Storage Class". The minimum number of days is 30. Click "Review" and then "Create and Activate Rule"

    Lifecycle 3 ia

  4. You will see the rule listed in your bucket’s Properties under Lifecycle.

    Lifecycle 6 rule added

Using "Glacier" Storage Class

You can use Amazon’s guide to Lifecycle Management or follow the steps below.

  1. Go to S3, select your Retrospect bucket, click on Properties, select Lifecycle, and click "Add Rule".

    Lifecycle 1 properties

  2. Choose the target for the rule. This must include your set.

    Lifecycle 2 rule target

  3. Select "Archive to the Glacier Storage Class". The minimum number of days is 1. Click "Review" and then "Create and Activate Rule"

    Lifecycle 4 glacier

  4. You will see the rule listed in your bucket’s Properties under Lifecycle.

    Lifecycle 6 rule added

  5. Files stored on Glacier require a separate restore process before Retrospect can access them. You need to select the files in the set and click "Initiate Restore".

    Lifecycle 7 glacier restore

  6. Select the number of days you need to files temporarily available. The Glacier restore will start, and the set will be available for Retrospect within a few hours. You can see verify what storage class the set is by looking at the file browser.

    Lifecycle 8 intiate restore

Using "Reduced Redundancy" Storage Class

The "Reduced Redundancy" storage class is not available in Lifecycle. You must set this storage class periodically after a backup. You can use the AWS Console or a third-party tool like Cyberduck.

  1. Go to S3, select your Retrospect bucket, navigate to your set, click on Properties, select "Reduced Redundancy, and click "Save".

    Lifecycle 9 reduced redundancy


Simple Access Setup Guide

Now we will create the security credentials it can use to access that bucket. To grant Retrospect more granular access to your S3 account, please see the Advanced Access Setup Guide.

  1. Open the IAM console.

  2. In the navigation pane, choose Users.

  3. Choose your IAM user name (not the check box).

  4. Choose the Security Credentials tab and then choose Create Access Key.

  5. To see your access key, choose Show User Security Credentials. Your credentials will look something like this:

    Access Key ID: AKIAIOSFODNN7EXAMPLE
    Secret Access Key: wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY
  6. Choose Download Credentials, and store the keys in a secure location. Note that your secret key will no longer be available through the AWS Management Console; you will have the only copy. Keep it confidential in order to protect your account, and never email it. Do not share it outside your organization, even if an inquiry appears to come from AWS or Amazon.com. No one who legitimately represents Amazon will ever ask you for your secret key.


Advanced Access Setup Guide

  1. Go to IAM and click on "Users".

    12 iam

  2. Click on "Create New Users".

    13 iam users

  3. Type in an appropriate username for Retrospect and click "Create". AWS will show you a set of credentials: an Access Key and a Secret Key. This is the only time AWS will show these, so download them to a safe place.

    14 iam create user

  4. On the new user’s account, click "Inline Policy" and then "Create User Policy". We are going to restrict this user’s access to only the bucket we just created.

    15 iam user created

  5. Choose "Custom Policy" and click "Select". Enter the following policy, replacing "your_bucket_name" with the name of the bucket you created.

    {
        "Version": "2012-10-17",
        "Statement": [
            {
                "Effect": "Allow",
                "Action": [
                    "s3:*"
                ],
                "Resource": [
                    "arn:aws:s3:::your_bucket_name",
                    "arn:aws:s3:::your_bucket_name/*"
                ]
            }
        ]
    }
  6. When you’re done, click "Validate Policy" then "Apply Policy". With this, Retrospect will have full access to that bucket but no access to anything else on S3 or other AWS services.


Information for Retrospect

Retrospect needs three pieces of information to access Amazon S3:

  • Paths3.amazonaws.com/your_bucket_name

  • Access Key – Use the Access Key from above.

  • Secret Key – Use the Secret Key from above.

For the path, Amazon S3 supports different paths for its regions. Please see the following paths for the region you specified when creating the bucket:

  • Irelands3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/your_bucket_name

  • Sydneys3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/your_bucket_name

  • Singapores3-ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/your_bucket_name

  • Tokyos3-ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com/your_bucket_name

  • Sao Paulos3-sa-east-1.amazonaws.com/your_bucket_name

See Amazon S3 Regions/Endpoints for further details.


Adding Cloud Storage in Retrospect

Adding cloud storage as a destination is simple. Retrospect has a new set type called "Cloud". Create a new backup set/media set and select "Cloud" as the type.

Windows Interface

Cloud backup selection win

Mac Interface

Cloud backup selection mac

Next you’ll need to enter your cloud storage credentials. Retrospect allows customers to enable or disable SSL encryption (HTTP or HTTPS) and to set the maximum storage usage, up to 8TB per cloud member.

Windows Interface

S3 set creation win

Mac Interface

Cloud backup settings mac


Using Cloud Storage in Retrospect

Using cloud storage is simple. After you have created a cloud set, create a new script or add it to an existing one, and click "Run". The backup will begin with the contents of the set being uploaded to your cloud storage location. You can track the progress in the execution/activity.

Windows Interface

Cloud backup log win

Mac Interface

Cloud backup log mac


Throttling Cloud Backups in Retrospect

Throttling for cloud backup and cloud restore is available in Preferences.

Windows Interface

Cloud backup preferences win

Mac Interface

Cloud backup preferences mac


General Tips

Below are a number of tips for using cloud storage in Retrospect:


Last Update: April 12, 2016