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Open Source Backup Bolsters Its Case

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion in the need for backup and data recovery. Such is the extent of this explosion that the amount of data stored has grown 50-fold in the past three years, according to IDC's recent Digital Universe study.

Business is turning more and more data into useful information,” it said. “That trend, combined with increased regulatory and legal accountability, has compounded the problem of how to store, manage, archive, and ensure the safety and security of all this data.”

But as that demand increases, the need for storage managers to find the right tools for the job is gaining ground as well. And although proprietary solutions such as Symantec’s Backup Exec have always led the pack, open source solutions are coming of age.

“Increasingly customers are finding value in a variety of ways by deploying open source software,” says Chander Kant, CEO and founder of Zmanda, a company that specializes in commercial open source backup and recovery solutions for Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac systems as well as databases and applications. “And as the benefits of open source backup become more well known, more customers will use it as an alternative solution to proprietary systems.”

One of the major benefits of deploying an open source solution revolves around the retention of information. Storing data in proprietary formats can be both costly and troublesome if you need to access that information years later. In a proprietary system, data can be restored only with the original backup application, meaning storage managers will be forced to use a specific vendor’s solution. But in an open source environment, data formats support restores using utilities like tar, rsync, cpio, and dump on Linux and Unix systems, and ntbackup on Windows. Open data formats also allow for easy migration from one platform to another.

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