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Zmanda takes Windows to the cloud

Open-source backup company Zmanda is branching out with a closed-source Windows-only integration with Amazon's S3.

Open-source backup specialist Zmanda Inc. is taking a step into the closed-source Windows world with a software client that can back up individual servers directly to the cloud. The Zmanda Internet Backup (ZIB) software client runs on a Windows server or workstation and backs up the server directly to Amazon's S3 cloud.

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The ZIB software client is aimed at shops with two to five Windows servers. Unlike the company's Amanda Enterprise product, ZIB is also a closed-source product. Zmanda CEO Chander Kant says ZIB includes the same application integration with Exchange and SQL Server as Amanda Enterprise, but at a lower price. ZIB starts at $300 for the first year of support in a 50 GB environment; for a 250 GB environment, the first year would cost $775.

PowerReviews, which publishes product review online portal, uses Zmanda for backup. IT administrator Matthew Lewis said the company turned to Zmanda after a free-for-all backup policy left some parts of the company's mission-critical data unprotected. The company already runs a Red Hat backup server, but Lewis called the Windows client "interesting, because we have employees who travel a lot and run Windows." Lewis said he will look into ZIB, even though Windows clients still can't exclude file types. According to Zmanda, that feature is planned.

Zmanda also doesn't support centralized management of multiple master servers or advanced tape-handling features, which limits ZIB to SMBs, according to Taneja Group analyst Eric Burgener. But he added that the product also includes features and support that might overcome the aversion some SMB storage administrators have to open-source products.

"They have an intelligent scheduler algorithm, which figures out the best use of server and network resources to do backups, and schedules them accordingly," Burgener said. "At a large company, backup administrators want to control that, but a smaller company is going to be more concerned about not overbuying infrastructure to support backup."

Similarly, larger Linux-based environments will probably want to stage backups to a central server for quick local restores rather than sending data directly to the cloud, Burgener said.

Zmanda has also partnered with Amazon to offer centralized billing for backup administrators regardless of the number of clients in the environment. Until now, Zmanda has sold a subscription-based supported version of the Amanda open-source backup tool. Its Amanda Enterprise product gives customers who use Linux or a mix of operating systems the option of backing up to the cloud rather than disk or tape, but requires the backups to go through the central backup server first.

Zmanda is also rolling out Zmanda Recovery Manager 3, which has added support for Windows-based master servers as well as support for 32- and 64-bit Debian and Ubuntu Linux and EMC Clariion snapshots.

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