In my previous post, I mentioned an Amazon S3 tool called CloudBerry S3 Explorer. I also have S3Fox organizer addon installed. I use them both, and I feel that I’m more comfortable with CloudBerry Explorer.
CloudBerry Explorer makes managing files in Amazon S3 storage EASY. By providing a user interface to Amazon S3 accounts, files, and buckets, CloudBerry lets you manage your files on cloud just as you would on your own local computer. (source)
Now, I want to share how I use CloudBerry S3 Explorer to manage my Amazon S3 Account.
CloudBerry Explorer is availble as a freeware software. We can download it for free. It offers many features we need to manage Amazon S3 account, from a simple to complicated tasks. After I downloaded and installed it, I can start using it. First, I need to add my Amazon S3 account into the application. Go to File > Amazon S3 Accounts.
Fill in the fields there. The “Name” field is used as the account identifier, you can put anything you want there. Put your Access Key and Secret Key to the next two fields. You can get both keys from your Amazon S3 control panel under “Security Credentials” menu.
After that, I can connect to my Amazon S3 account by selecting the account from the menu. Anyway, the account settings can be modified later by going to the account management settings and choose “Edit”.
After that I’m connected to my Amazon S3 account, on the root folder. There’s nothing there — because I haven’t added any buckets there. Hint: The folder on the root directory is a bucket.
Creating Amazon S3 Bucket
To create a new bucket, just click on the “New Bucket” icon. Choose your bucket name wisely. For example, I created a bucket called “orangebox”. After the bucket created, you should check its permission. Right-click on the bucket name, and choose ACL > ACL Settings. If you want you bucket available for everyone (public), just click on the “Public (everyone” button.
Now, I’m ready to upload my files to my bucket. If you’re familiar with any FTP client, it should be easy. You can drag and drop from the other pane. Every uploaded file has HTTP Header values. More information about HTTP Headers can be read at CloudBerry blog entry. The next question: how to get the link for the uploaded files? Easy. Right-click on the image, and choose “Web URL”.
File Distribution, CloudFront, and Custom Address
Amazon offers an optional service related to S3 (Simple Storage Service) called Amazon CloudFront. If you think Amazon S3 is more than enough, This is optional to use the CloudFront. What is Amazon CloudFront? “In Amazon CloudFront, your objects are organized into distributions. A distribution specifies the location of the original version of your objects. A distribution has a unique CloudFront.net domain name (e.g. abc123.cloudfront.net) that you can use to reference your objects through the network of edge locations.” (source)
In simple definition: Place the files in different location so that users will get the files from the nearest location (shortest route). More details: Distribute Your Content With Amazon CloudFront.
To enable the distribution, you should subscribe to the service. The process is similar like when you subscribe to Amazon S3 service. It’s also using “pay what you use” scenario. So, if you use both services, you will have two billing invoices. Because I’m doing an experiment here, I decided to subscribe to it.
Click on the “Distribution” menu icon to start. Check the “Enable Distribution” checkbox. I want to enable a custom address like:
http://orangebox.orangescale.com/photo.jpg — all files under
orangebox.orangescale.com will be served by Amazon. So, on the “CNAME” field, I put “
orangebox.orangescale.com” (without quotes). Now, I go to my DNS Management — it’s not related to Amazon. And add a CNAME record. If you get the “Web URL”, now you should see options for CNAME values. You need to wait for a moment to get the custom CNAME record fully active.
Anyway, I saw a note about the software. It is said that “Freeware version, Expires on…”. I asked CloudBerry Lab team, and got an answer from Andy of CloudBerry Lab. And, this was his answer:
As for the expiration we want you to stay on the latest and the greatest version of CloudBerry Explorer and that’s why we expire it every once in a while to force you to download the newer version. All you have to do is to go to our website and download a new one. It is still free. All your settings will stay intact. I hope it shed some light on the expiration issue.
So far, I like how CloudBerry Explorer works with my Amazon S3 and CloudFront Explorer account. If you need an application to manage your S3 account, you can try CloudBerry Explorer.
PS: I write this post based on my personal use and understanding about Amazon S3, CloudFront and CloudBerry. CloudBerry Lab does not pay me for this. It’s not a paid review.