Introduction to Zmanda Backup and Recovery Solutions

Types of Snapshot Backups Supported by ZRM

The storage snapshot is a new adoption by IT industries in this data center-powered world of virtualization and the cloud. You can add backup, replication, and recovery to that list as well.

A set of reference markers for data at a particular point in time is called a storage snapshot. Storage snapshots are excellent tools for a system administrator to create quick and consistent backups of their databases and applications.

A snapshot is nothing but a “picture” of a filesystem at a point-in-time. This “picture” is not a full copy of the data, but a set of pointers to the data. A snapshot provides the user with accessible copies of data that they can roll back to; just like a detailed table of contents.

Zmanda Recovery Manager (ZRM) for MySQL is an easy-to-use, yet flexible and robust backup and recovery solution for MySQL servers. It streamlines the life of a Database Administrator.  To acquire a quiescent, consistent copy of the MySQL database, ZRM for MySQL uses various third party snapshots and storage checkpoint mechanisms, while minimizing application downtime.

Snapshots and storage checkpoints scale well when compared to other backup methods, as they create a regular reproduction of the MySQL database with little impact on MySQL applications and do not increase the backup window as databases grow.

The snapshot and storage checkpoint mechanisms are faster when compared to backups to other media; this reduces the time that database tables must be locked. In the case of the MySQL databases or tables using only transactional storage engines, such as InnoDB, the time when the application is locked is further reduced.

Also, during the taking of snapshots of databases or tables that use non-transactional storage engines, such as MyISAM, ZRM for MySQL flushes the database pages to the disk and obtains a read lock on the database(s) / table(s).

The read lock is held only for a moment. When the database resides on the file systems that support freeze/thaw operations such as XFS, VxFS (Veritas file systems), file system I/O (Input/ Output) is stopped before taking a snapshot.

The “snapshot type” as the full backup method are configured in the Backup How page. Only the licensed snapshots appear in the drop-down box.

Let’s have a look at the list of current industry-leading snapshot technologies:

Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM) Snapshots

A snapshot capability built into the Linux Volume Manager (LVM) – the default option on a Linux system.

LVM is a way of virtually partitioning a hard disk space such that it is flexibly allocated to various applications. An increasing number of MySQL installations are utilizing it.

ZRM for MySQL helps backup such installations using snapshots (a feature license is required). It is capable of creating temporary snapshots of the logical volumes and use the snapshot volume to do backups. The benefit of using snapshots is that you need to lock the database tables only while creating a snapshot. Once the backups are completed, the snapshots are removed. Snapshots help to create a consistent copy of the MySQL database as the consistency is ensured prior to taking a snapshot.

File system activity is stopped on file systems such as XFS, VxFS (Veritas file systems) that support freeze/thaw operations, before taking a snapshot.

ZFS Snapshots

Snapshot capability built into the ZFS filesystem on Solaris and OpenSolaris

Solaris ZFS filesystem from Sun Microsystem includes snapshot capability, which enables near-instantaneous hot backups and rapid restores.

ZRM for MySQL also includes an optional snapshot plugin that integrates with ZFS to create consistent MySQL full backups. It creates temporary snapshots of the ZFS volumes to perform a full backup. Once the snapshots are enabled, ZRM for MySQL can perform backups without impacting MySQL applications. Regardless of database size, database writes will be blocked only during snapshot creation, which typically takes less than a second.

NetApp Snapshots

A feature of the WAFL® (Write Anywhere File Layout) filesystem.

Windows VSS

Volume Shadow Copy Service from Microsoft introduced in Windows Server 2003. VSS is also available with Windows XP, Vista, and 2008 Server.

VxFS Snapshots

Snapshot capability built into the Veritas File System

During backup runs Symantec Veritas file systems (a.k.a VxFSs) allows two technologies to minimize application downtime:

  1. Snapshot devices- They mirror the primary storage and allow “freezing” for backup while the original data stays live.
  2. Storage checkpoints- They use the same filesystem volumes as to the original to only mirror changed data.

Additionally, ZRM for MySQL includes an optional VxFS plugin that integrates with the Veritas File System to leverage native Storage Checkpoint capability.

EMC SnapView

Snapshot capability on the EMC CLARiiON storage systems

EMC Clariion Storage features EMC SnapView, a snapshot technology that eases near-instantaneous hot backups and rapid restores.

ZRM for MySQL comprises of an optional snapshot plugin that integrates with EMC SnapView to create consistent MySQL full backups. It creates temporary snapshots of the EMC SnapView volumes to perform a full backup. Once the snapshots are enabled, ZRM for MySQL performs backups with minimal impact on MySQL applications. During the snapshot creation database, writes will be blocked, which typically takes less than a second regardless of database size.

IBM FlashCopy

A feature is available in the IBM Storage Subsystems (DS8000, DS6000, ESS 800, SAN VC).

EqualLogic Smart Copy

A feature in the Dell EqualLogic PS Series.

Our ZRM for MySQL, a product of Zmanda, uses storage snapshots as one of the technologies to do a quick full backup of the MySQL database. We currently support LVM, ZFS, NetApp, VSS and VxFS Snapshots. We have more to come!


Also, be sure to check out 10 Points to Include in Your Disaster Recovery Plan

How To | Download Amanda Enterprise Server and Client Binaries

This how-to article is a step by step guide on how to download and install Amanda Enterprise Software and use the Zmanda Management Console (ZMC).

Zmanda Management Console (ZMC) is a web application that supports Amanda Enterprise on the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome. ZMC manages all backup and recovery activities. It is integrated with the Zmanda Network, which provides certified Amanda Enterprise binaries, white papers, demos, and technical support to deploy a backup solution. ZMC provides an easy to use tool to manage all backup and recovery operations for multiple clients and various databases.

ZMC helps in all day-to-day backup activities like:

  • Configure backup policies, schedules, and clients.
  • Verify configuration and client-server communications.
  • Start immediate backups.
  • Monitor Amanda Enterprise activities and access is reporting about backups and media.
  • Create, edit, and delete backup users and backup sets.
  • Restore files.

To download the software, place a request for a free trial license from the Zmanda web site ( and select ‘start your free trial’ option. You will be redirected to a form and fill the required details in the form.

The trial form is available here:

Once this is done, you can select the required packages for download, and then copy the same into the Zmanda Server System where you wish to install the packages.

To install the ZMC, please download Amanda Enterprise Edition with the Zmanda Management Console, which is all available from the Zmanda network downloads page (

The Amanda Enterprise Edition with ZMC package includes:

  • Amanda Enterprise Server
  • Zmanda Client for the server
  • The Zmanda Management Console
  • All of the dependencies for Zmanda Management Console

Prerequisites for Zmanda Enterprise Server:

  • Before installing, make sure that the Zmanda backup server should have access to the media (tape, disk, changers) where the Zmanda client backups will be stored.
  • The server should have good performance and network speed.

Server Hardware Requirements:

  • At least 2 GB of disk space on the installation disc.
  • The Amanda server and client OS must be up to date.
  • Amanda server and the client cannot be installed on NFS-mounted file systems.
  • At least 10 percent of free space should be available in the Zmanda installation and temporary directories.
  • The amandabackup user should have privileges to have crontab entries to perform scheduled backups.
  • The amandabackup user should have permission to read and write to disk and tape.
  • The amandabackup user should have permission to write to the /tmp directory on the Amanda server.
  • The directories /etc/amanda and /etc/zmanda must be on the same file system.
  • Amanda clients must have open inbound TCP ports 10080 and 10081.
  • Internal firewalls and SELinux policy must not prevent PHP processes.

Program Dependencies in Linux:

Amanda server installation on 64bit RHEL 6/CentOS 6/Oracle Enterprise Linux will require the following packages:

# yum install compat-libstdc++-33.i686 curl glib2.i686 glibc.i686 gnupg libcurl.i686 libgcc.i686 libidn.i686 libstdc++.i686 mailx ncurses ncurses-libs.i686 readline.i686 tar xinetd zlib.i686 openldap24-libs.i386 –y

Dependency Package Installation for Installation Of Zmanda 3.6 On Centos 7:

#yum install tar -y

#yum install perl –y


#yum install star -y

#yum install glibc.i686 xinetd nss-softokn-freebl.x86_64 glib2.x86_64 libselinux.i686 gamin.i686 readline.x86_64 ncurses-libs.i686 zlib.i686 libstdc++.x86_64 libgcc.x86_64 perl-Switch perl-JSON perl-Encode-Locale perl-Data-Dumper -y

#yum install compat-libstdc++-33.i686 curl glib2.i686 glibc.i686 gnupg libcurl.x86_64 libgcc.i686 libidn.i686 libstdc++.i686 mailx ncurses ncurses-libs.i686 readline.i686 tar xinetd zlib.i686 openldap24-libs.i386 –y

And if you are using a tape library:

#yum install lsscsi mtx mt

For the list of all supported platforms, visit the link below:

Solaris Machines:

Use the following commands for package installation with dependency resolution on Solaris machines:

(gnupg2 can also be installed instead of gnupg):

#pkgutil -i gtar gnupg gawk libgcc_s1 mtx

Use the following pkgutil command to install dependencies on Solaris Client (you can install gnupg2 instead of gnupg):

pkgutil -i perl gtar gnupg libcurl4

Debian/Ubuntu Machine:

Use the following command to install the necessary packages:

# apt-get install libcurl3-gnutls libglib2.0-0 libpcre3 libidn11 libssh2-1 libcurl4 libreadline5 libswitch-perl libjson-perl libencode-locale-perl –y

With the above packages installed on the respective operating systems, now you are ready to install Zmanda Server.


Please follow the above steps to download the Amanda Enterprise server and client binaries from the Zmanda website. In case you are stuck in the process, kindly contact us and our team will get back to you soon.

You can reach us at or give us a call at 888-496-2632 (U.S.)/ 408-732-3208 (INTL).

You can find a downloadable PDF version here.

How To Fight Ransomware With Tape Backup

Ransomware is one of the most crippling cyberattacks a business can face. Visiting a compromised website or opening an infected email attachment can make your data inaccessible and halt your daily activities. Ransomware has emerged as one of cybersecurity’s most leading and continuous threats.

According to the FBI, in 2016, ransomware payments reached more than $1 billion, up from just $24 million paid in 2015. With the increasing amounts, the velocity and variety of attacks are growing exponentially.

A recent report says, in 2017, ransomware on the dark market seems to be grown by 2,500 percent. In 2020, we are likely to see that number get even higher.

Though there are newer technologies that attempt to fight against the ransomware, savvy organizations are now turning to an older technology: Tape backup. It may seem bizarre that a technology that was once considered as archaic as tape backup could be the answer to a critical challenge in the era of cloud.

Tape has specific properties that make it ideal for dealing with ransomware, mainly if it is incorporated as one option within an overall data management strategy—not a single backup platform.

Be sure to also check out Cloud Storage vs Tape Storage: Understanding the Pros & Cons

Ransomware Is Getting Smarter

Ransomware is ever-evolving and has been an enormous problem for businesses for quite some time. There are ways to limit the amount of damage ransomware can impose a company, for instance, limiting user privileges.

When there is an instance of a ransomware attack, the organization has two options. The first and most obvious alternative is to pay the ransom and wait until the data is decrypted, (which even after payment it may not be). The other option is a backup restore.

Ransomware authors are now aware of the second alternative, the “backup restore”. As there is no more scope of making money with this solution, the authors are looking forward to a new approach.

What’s this new approach?

Ransomware authors don’t encrypt the organization files and demand a ransom; instead, some ransomware variants are designed in such a way that the data remain dormant for months. Organizations usually retain backups for a limited period.

A ransomware infection can remain dormant for several months, before being activated, then during the entire dormancy period, the organization will be backing up the infected files. By the time the organizations realize the ransomware attack, all their backups will be infected already.

As disk-based backup solutions have a limited capacity, some organizations are using tapes as a supplementary tool for retaining backups for more extended periods.

Why Tape, Why Now?

Don’t want to deal with ransomware? Prevention and preparation are key. Preventing the attacks beforehand is not that easy as the people who tend to harm your organization are sophisticated and skillful.

If you can prevent attacks in the first place, you are ahead of the game.

But that’s not easy.

As noted, those who would harm your organization are more sophisticated, aggressive and skillful than ever.

So, what about preparation? Every organization needs to be equipped to deal with ransomware. That’s where tape plays a vital role. The best to recover from a ransomware attack is to ensure that you have a separate, offline, and reliable copy of your data that cannot be infected by the attack.

If you want to follow the best practices in data backup and compliance, use tape backup as part of an overall data management strategy, specifically the widely known 3-2-1 rule, which is:

  1. Maintaining three separate copies of your data.
  2. Storing your data on at least two different types of storage media.
  3. Keeping one copy of your data in an off-site location.

When compared to other options, tape backup is by far the most lucrative means of ensuring that you have a separate copy of your data in an offline, off-site location. The tape is simple to use, less expensive than disk or cloud storage, and highly secure and convenient to access—mainly if you work with a leading third-party provider of tape backup and offsite tape vaulting services.

You can use disk backup or cloud backup to take advantage of their convenience and speed, but you should still enhance those platforms with tape as your third copy. The risk of data stored in disk backup and cloud backup getting infected is more if the data is on your network. In short, your data is easily recoverable without paying a ransom, and it means you can get your business back up and running quickly, safely, and securely.


The growth of ransomware is creating a resurgence in the popularity of tape backup, and this indeed is garnering a lot of attention, not just from industry leaders but from hackers too.

The federal government, health industries, and financial services firms still keep the tape as a backup to digital records. Now a range of different companies are returning to tape as hackers get smarter about penetrating defenses and doing much more damage when they get in.

Are you ready to go retro with tape? Is tape backup as a vital element of your overall data management and protection strategy? Visit Zmanda to learn how we can help you protect your data so you can keep your focus on business innovation. Zmanda has a wide range of media for backup, including tape, tape libraries, disks (DAS, NAS, SAN, RAID), optical jukeboxes, and online storage.

Learn more about partnership oppurtunities with Zmanda