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Zmanda Sees The Sunshine In Cloud Backup

Among the rays of sunshine in the current economic climate are the innovations and acquisitions of the large information infrastructure companies. They are not immune to the recession, but they are taking advantage of the situation to better position themselves for the future. Smaller companies also contribute to this market dynamism in more targeted contexts. One of those companies is Zmanda which sees a silver economic lining in cloud backup.

To the surprise of many who have never heard of it, Zmanda is an emerging company (founded 2005) that claims worldwide leadership in open source backup. Its mission is to bring the benefits of open source (namely open standards and lower costs of ownership) to the backup market.

Zmanda provides software and services based on Amanda, which is the world's leading open source backup and recovery software. Amanda was initially developed at the University of Maryland and has been in the public domain since 1991. All leading Linux distributions package it. Zmanda is now the major developer of new releases of Amanda, with a vibrant open source community providing active QA and feedback.

So how does Zmanda make money when a customer can get Amanda for free? The answer is by the sale of products built on the Amanda base as well as by providing services and support to those customers who don't want to do everything on their own. Zmanda offers an annual subscription fee model similar to those pioneered by open source leaders Red Hat and MySQL.

One of the company's products is Amanda Enterprise which was the first backup solution for what is now called cloud computing environments. Although the backup server has to be open standards based (i.e., Linux or Solaris), Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, or Solaris can use Amanda Enterprise as clients. In addition, Amanda Enterprise supports storage media including disk (NAS, SAN, DAS), tape, VTL, or a storage cloud. Given the Web-based Zmanda Management Console (ZMC), backup operations can be managed from virtually anywhere (an important feature if you are a system administrator on vacation and your CEO happens to delete their important spreadsheet!).

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