Sometimes the low-tech approach is the best way

June 04, 2023

Have a family member looking to get me some family videos they had digitized, in one big file, about 80GB (they may not have optimized or know how).

The need: The family member’s internet connection isn’t the best and could get disconnected at times, when this happens with most online storage options they would have to start from scratch. Their connection is also slow and with a file that large could also force a time out or automatic lockout for those services.

The original solution idea: They had experience using FTP at times in the past and felt comfortable with that. Looked to use AWS to create an FTP to a S3 bucket, which can be done with their AWS Transfer Family products. With this service you just need to setup a few items like a S3 bucket, an IAM rule and a gateway. Thought with an FTP that they could resume their upload as they needed, this would be one of the tests that would be done. After checking the pricing, it looked like it might cost about $10, calculations at bottom. If their connection stayed stable if they had slow connections or kept getting dropped that price would have kept going up. That was guessing the S3 storage and transfer costs to it.

With this knowledge and the price of SD cards on sale and about what postage might be, we decided this would be an easier and simpler solution. I ordered a card have it shipped to them then they will add the files and mail to me. The total cost would be close to the same possible cheaper and at the end I also have an extra SD card.

This shows to do your cost research before building and trying out, there would have been some sticker shock at the end.

Costs (for AWS Transfer Family prices I used what was in the Skills builder Primer lesson):

$0.30 per hour to have FTP setup at 12 hours, I won’t need the FTP to download as I can pull from the S3 bucket itself: $3.60
$0.04 per Gigabyte (FTP upload, if it doesn’t have to be restarted): $3.20
For S3 Storage $0.023 per GB; $1.84

Wasn’t quickly able to find the info if that 4¢ per GB included transfer into S3, I think it does but for number collecting we’ll say it doesn’t which would be an extra $0.432; making the minimum total: $9.072

Tried to use the price calculator, it assumes you will keep this up for a full month which would come out to a little over $225; in the Transfer Family info it gives price per hour so I used that for the calculations, you’ll want to research to make sure it’s not a locked in per month price.

Another option that most would be thinking was add them to my AWS account and have them upload straight to S3 the cost would go down but would have to show them how to log in and upload. Also, on further investigation the upload could time out, there’s a way to resume if you select a box to be able to resume, however with how long they think it could take on the if no issue they might get timed out from AWS itself and if they lose connection that might wipe everything else out. Could be a very timely experiment, if this was something that would be continually happening this is something we would try to get working, but as a one-time only, didn’t seem to be worth the time to get setup.

Here’s the numbers for S3 which made this look good but with the unreliable connection.

S3 costs (May 29, 2023):
Storage, per GB: $0.023
Requests per 1K
Upload: $0.005
download $0.0004
For an 80GB file:
Storage: $1.84
Upload: $0.4
Download: $0.032
Total: $2.272

To get the files we ended up going a very low tech but modern way.

Found a 128GB SD card online for around $7 with free shipping to their house, they copied it over and mailed it back, around $5, total cost a little under $12.

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