While IBM-led Aperi brought attention and confusion to the role of open source in storage in the past year, smaller companies are also working to close the gap between open source and storage. (See Aperi Appears Amid Questions, Gang of Five Counters Aperi, and IBM: Aperi Lives.)
One of those is Zmanda, which markets a commercial version of open source Amanda (Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver) backup software, as well as services and support. (See Zmanda Protects Open Source and Zmanda Backs Up MySQL.) While Zmanda's products remain a far cry from what it will take to challenge enterprise storage backup from the players like EMC, CommVault, IBM, and Symantec, CEO Chander Kant says he has those companies in his crosshairs.
There are others dabbling in open source storage, such as file systems vendor Xinit Systems and content management firm Alfresco. (See Alfresco Adds Content Management.) But Zmanda provides the key storage application -- backup -- and its roadmap makes it "potentially highly disruptive in the enterprise and service provider markets," according to analyst Brad O'Neill of the Taneja Group.
Today, the only application Zmanda supports is MySQL, hardly the database of choice for most SAN administrators. But Kant says support for Oracle databases and Microsoft Exchange email is coming early next year, with more enterprise application support to follow.
"We're marrying open source and storage software," Kant says. "Our goal is to become the data protector for the open-source ecosystem, but that isn't to say we won't support Oracle or Exchange. We're working aggressively on open-source APIs that applications can plug into. If your environment is heavy with Linux applications, you can go to Zmanda today. If you're Oracle or Exchange heavy, you have to wait six months."