Zmanda Launches Open Source Backup App for the Enterprise

Targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Zmanda on Wednesday introduced an advanced enterprise-class release of its open source backup software called “Amanda.”

Proprietary backup and recovery software vendors haven’t had to worry much about open source competition up to now. After all, they could argue, where’s the training, where’s the extra security features, where’s the support?

That argument is about to wear thin.

Lower-Cost Option

Backup and recovery software represents a US$2.9 billion market, Laura DuBois, an IDC research director, told LinuxInsider. “We estimate the market to grow to $3.9 billion by 2011,” she said.

The new version has an improved Zmanda client for Microsoft Windows, support for Security Enhanced Linux, role-based access for backup and recovery that allows only rightful owners to recover files and secure access to the company’s management console over the network and from the Internet.

“We can tell customers, look, if the cost of maintenance has kept you from buying a business backup solution in the past, we have an enterprise backup and recovery solution available, with business-level support, for a fraction of what you pay proprietary vendors,” said Chander Kant, Zmanda’s founder and CEO.

The client for Windows feature enables open files to be backed up without having to close the application and without interrupting the production system.

SMBs as Target

Target users for Zmanda are the SMBs and departments of large companies who up to now have been reluctant to pay the price of backup and recovery software from proprietary vendors, Kant told LinuxInsider. That reluctance has not only been the upfront cost but the costly rigmarole of vendor software lock-in after the original purchase.

“We are bringing open standards to the backup and recovery process,” he noted.

Red Hat, MySQL Mentors

Amanda is nothing new. The freely downloadable software was developed at the University of Maryland more than 10 years ago.

Two-year-old Zmanda offers Amanda under a business model, giving businesses the option of using Amanda for free or choosing a support level at a subscription fee.

If this sounds like the tiered model pioneered by the early open source business survivors, it certainly is, Kant said. “We are a second-generation open source company. We saw the business models of Red Hat and MySQL and ours is based on their best practices.”

Growth Directions

Investors watching Zmanda have responded in kind, very kind. Zmanda this year has picked up a second round of funding: $8 million from venture partners.

No matter what the budget and headcount, more organizations are coming to grips with the fact that there are heavy costs to pay if they lose their information. SMBs are a sweet spot for backup and recovery vendors.

“Research indicates backup and recovery software growth is coming from the mid-market, remote office, and branch office data protection, IDC’s DuBois said, “and new features and products supporting disk as a target for backup and recovery.”

Future Goals

An open source software solution at a cost amenable to tight budgets is an attractive come-on for Kant’s company, now further strengthened by offering its product with fuller enterprise-type features.

Zmanda’s goals in 2007, Kant said, is to further product development, expanded sales and marketing.

Product Lines

“We have two product lines that will keep us busy for the next year or so,” Kant said.

Besides Amanda, the company sells business-support subscriptions for Enterprise Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL, a backup and recovery solution specifically for enterprise MySQL databases.

“After that,” Kant added, “we will be looking into other related areas.”

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