Martin MC Brown

Open source backup grows up

By Martin MC Brown
May 01, 2006 7:12 AM EDT
Having effective backups are a critical part of any business, but the open source community was for a long time ignored. It's only in recent years that we've had tools and extensions that allow backup of Linux software - I've been using the backup client for Retrospect from Dantz now part of EMC for years. But what about open source backup tools for open, and proprietary, platforms. There have been many bubbling under, although I doubt I will be the only to admit having used tar, cpio or rsync for years on their Unix systems. In fact, I've been using a variation of the same backup script now for about 12 years. Others probably use ufsdump or similar for their backups - a tool that has been part of Unix for many many years, but it is hardly an effective solution for very large systems. Back to the proper backup solutions, in the open source world probably the best known tool is Amanda (Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver), a comprehensive tool that I've actually looked at before for LinuxWorld Magazine many years ago. One of the major benefits of Amanda is that, like my own backup scripts, it uses standard tools (like tar) and uses them to produce your backups. No proprietary formats are used, so in the event of a failure you could get back up and running very quickly with or without the Amanda code. Now a new company is taking the Amanda tool and adding a service element to provide a complete ready to run product and support service for your backup needs. Called Zmanda, you can find some more information (and a brief interview) at