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Enterprise Backup Open Source Style

With 20,000 global deployments as a part of every major Linux distribution, the Amanda project has provided an open source alternative to proprietary backup systems since 1991. But there has been no formal enterprise edition until now.

A new start-up called Zmanda has released an enterprise edition of Amanda in addition to a network-based approach for subscription and support.

Chander Kant, CEO of Zmanda, wanted a way to provide a commercially supported alternative to proprietary backups, such as Veritas. He said that customers would choose a commercial solution from Veritas, pay for a site license and then have to pay for consulting and services.

Amanda Enterprise Edition is available via a Zmanda Network subscription that will provide enterprise customers with automated updates, security alerts, support and IP indemnification.

Kant noted that there are some fundamental differences between the freely available Amanda Community Edition and the new Enterprise Edition.

"Differences are fairly minor but along the lines of focus," he said. "The Amanda release 2.5 was frozen a couple of months ago and our engineers did some more work on top of it in specific environments, taking out the features we don't want to support and putting in more robust things that are part of the enterprise. "

Continuous Data Protection (CDP) , however, isn't part of the Amanda Enterprise feature set.

CDP provides a form of continuous backup of data and is an emerging request from enterprise customers with solutions from Symantec/Veritas, EMC, Revivio and others currently flooding the market.

"The way we see CDP is that it is an emerging exciting technology but it has not become mainstream yet," Kant said. "The point about Zmanda is to bring forward the open source project in a commoditized fashion so we didn't want to go to the relatively high end that CDP represents today."

Zmanda isn't directly targeting the entrenched install base of commercial proprietary backup solutions, either.

Ken Sims, vice president of marketing and business development at Zmanda, said that the backup market is huge and Zmanda is focusing on people that haven't bought backup yet.

"Others are ones that are going through technology transition tape to disk for example," Sims said. "When they make the transition, the site license from Veritas, or whoever, gets thrown out the window so they need something else.

"We're not going to attack the entrenched site-licensed customer right off the bat," he added. "That's not a smart strategy from our perspective."