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Zmanda Spruces Up Cloud Backup With ZCB Update

Open source backup vendor Zmanda has rolled out the second generation of their Zmanda Cloud Backup (ZCB) product.  The new version now offers cloud backup of MySQL and SharePoint, along with geography control, selective restore options.  Focused on the small to mid-sized business, Zmanda brings a low price point and support for the most common server applications, mitigating some of the barriers of adoption to cloud-based backups.
Zmanda Cloud Backup is a Windows based backup solution that pushes backups into the cloud using Amazon's S3 service.  ZCB supports Windows XP and Vista clients, as well as Windows 2003 and 2008 servers.  Along with filesystem backups, ZCB also supports application specific live backups of SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, MySQL & Oracle databases.  Zmanda has its roots in the open source Amanda backup product, designed to be a cross-platform backup solution.  Zmanda contributes code back into the project, but extends support for proprietary applications like Exchange and SharePoint only in its own commercial products.
Of particular interest in this update is the ability to target specific geographic locations in the cloud.  This aspect has multiple ramifications for enterprises.  Customers with specific compliance requirements, such as the EU Data Protection Directive, can ensure that their backup data is retained within the proper geopolitical confines.  On the flipside of this, customers concerned about natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes, can ensure that their backups are pushed far enough away from the area in the event of such a disaster.  Furthermore, the new selective restore feature is a necessity for a cloud-based backup solution.  Without the ability to pick and choose just the items needed for recovery, retrieving data back in could be a long and involved process.
Ultimately, the Zmanda Cloud Backup solution offers smaller enterprises an opportunity to take part in cloud storage for backup and disaster recovery with a low cost entry point.
 Licenses for ZCB start as low as $4.95/month, with data storage rates of 20 cents per gigabyte for Amazon S3 storage.  Customers looking to build cloud services in their recovery plans, however, need to go into the process with some reasonable expectations.  For example, recovery point objectives, the time needed to get systems back to functional levels, will likely be have to be stretched out, based the available network bandwidth to a location.  With that in mind, most organization should look at cloud backups as one component of a broader disaster recovery solution and not the be-all, end-all of backup options.