Today, we announced the immediate availability of Zmanda Cloud Backup (ZCB) 4, our comprehensive cloud backup offering for Windows servers, desktops and laptops. ZCB 4 had been under a limited beta program for past few weeks and was extensively tested by many end users and resellers. We received some great feedback which led to many improvements and bug fixes. Thank you all who participated!
ZCB 4 is a huge step forward for the idea of cloud backup. And after working with many ZCB users for a while, we say this with a lot of conviction. We took a hard look at what users wanted to achieve with cloud backup and compared that with the available solutions on the market. We identified various gaps, which are addressed in ZCB4:
- Flexibility of choosing where to store backup data: Users of cloud backup have different needs. Some are embracing it as an extra line of defense and hence want to backup to both on-premises disks and on the cloud. On the other hand, some users are looking at cloud storage as their primary and only backup location and hence are looking for a solution which backs up data only to the cloud.ZCB had this covered from day 1. The data was always first backed up to disk and then to cloud. The data on disk could then be deleted or retained, depending on which of the above two use cases you wanted to deploy. But we realized that we could improve it further by offering a “backup to cloud” operation which would back up your data to cloud directly without using any temporary local storage. So, if you are short on disk space or don’t want backup on disk, then this operation would be handy.
- Improving transfer speeds: Users who have either a lot of data to backup or less Internet bandwidth to use, are hit by a basic problem – how to transfer data to and from cloud within required time limits? We also discovered cases where users had the bandwidth available and met their part of the bargain, but the backup solution was either not capable to use the bandwidth completely or the backup provider imposed limits to the upload/download speeds for the users.ZCB never imposed any transfer limits, whatsoever, on upload/download speeds and always tried hard to maximize the throughput. In ZCB 4, we made it even better by adding support for multithreaded uploads/downloads. This feature makes ZCB use multiple concurrent connections to Amazon S3 cloud and hence unlocks the bandwidth you always had available. And true to our promise of providing flexibility to users, we have made this feature entirely configurable:
So by default, we use 3 concurrent connections for data transfer. If you wish you can tweak this value to experiment and find out what works best in your work environment. Higher thread count may be beneficial if you have spare bandwidth and CPU/memory resources to push or pull data.
- Manageability and usability: We believe usability is core to the idea of cloud backup, as it involves critical decisions about when/where/how you backup your systems. Users need to be given full freedom to make these decisions and yet it shouldn’t be hard to configure and monitor the solution. Though our users and experts always rated us high in this area, we realized that the user interface needed to be ready to handle our planned rapid growth, both in terms of product features as well as customer use cases. So in ZCB 4, we redesigned our user interface, made many workflow improvements and made it much more intuitive and easier to use. To see it in action, you can view the new ZCB screenshots.
In addition to the above, ZCB 4 also offers:
- Backup/Restore of selective databases in SQL Server and Exchange server
- Differential backup of SharePoint server
- Parallel operations across multiple backup sets
- Extensive Reporting across multiple backup sets
- Hundreds of other improvements
ZCB 4 is also available in German and Japanese languages. For more details on ZCB 4, please refer to the release notes page.
ZCB 4 brings to the market a comprehensive, flexible and practical cloud backup solution. Also, as we gain scale, we are also working on the pricing (in case you didn’t notice, we recently announced the 25 GB free tier, perhaps a first in the industry) to make it affordable to a bigger set of users.
We are already working very aggressively on our next releases and will soon be making some exciting announcements. If you have a suggestion for us, please do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.