Archive for the ‘Network Backup and Recovery’ Category

Three C of Oracle backup: Cost, Complexity and Control

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Backup continues to be a challenge for Oracle DBAs. That message was repeated again and again by attendees of OracleWorld in San Francisco last week.

The DBAs consistently bring up three challenges of Oracle backup: Cost, Complexity and Control

For many organizations the Oracle modules for Veritas NetBackup and Legato NetWorker are out of reach because of high cost. According to Sun ‘s online store, the list price for NetBackup Oracle module running on a Solaris server with 2 CPUs is $7,500. What if you have multiple Oracle servers to backup? This can add up very quickly.

To avoid paying unreasonable licensing and maintenance fees for NetBackup and Legato, many DBAs write their own RMAN scripts. RMAN is a well documented tool and it seems relatively easy to write a few lines to schedule backup of a single database. However, over time the script gets more complicated, configurations and requirements change, a DBA who wrote the original script gets promoted and moves to another group … and you are stuck trying to figure out when was the last successful backup and how to get your data back.

Who do you depend on to get your data back? In most organizations the roles of DBA and backup administrators are separate. You, as a DBA are paid to protect Oracle data, but often times you have to ask the backup guys to get your data back. The lack of control could be even worse. As soon as your organization starts using NetBackup (or any other backup that keeps data in proprietary formats), your data becomes hostage to Veritas software. You can never recover your own Oracle or any other backups unless you continue paying Veritas.

If you face any of the challenges above, check out Amanda Enterprise for backup of Oracle. For a low cost you will get an easy to use solution that provides you with a full control over Oracle backups and recoveries.

Amanda Backup to Tape Library

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Over the years Amanda has added lots of media choices to store backup archives: SAN, NAS, Amazon S3 etc. But tapes remain one of the most popular destination. Gavin, who blogs under a to-the-point title “I Do Linux”, has written a detailed how-to on installing and configuring Amanda with Tape Libraries. He has two setups: One setup (which backs up over a terabyte of Maildir for 3000 users) has Amanda backing up to a Spectra Logic T50 LTO2 tape library, containing 5 magazines/terapacks and 50 tape slots. Second setup (which backs up 4TB of research data for over 100 users) has Amanda backup archives going to a Dell PowerVault TL2000 LTO4 tape library, containing 2 magazines and 23 tape slots.

Vyatta: From Homegrown Backup Scripts to Amanda Enterprise

Monday, September 29th, 2008

VyattaVyatta has rocked the networking world by developing the first commercially supported, open source router and firewall solution. Ambitions of changing the rules of the game of a huge industry, come with very critical data – which doubles in size every year! They also come with a very heterogeneous environment: Fedora, Debian, Red Hat, and Ubuntu – well, as long as it is a Linux distro 🙂

Vyatta recognized the need for a formal backup solution to replace the homegrown backup scripts, and chose Amanda Enterprise. Amanda backs up terabytes of Vyatta’s data spread across web sites, e-mail server, source-code repository, databases, and user files. Here is the full story.

Interview with Ray Zhu (Senior IT Manager at Vyatta) about his experience with Zmanda was published  in Inc. Magazine in December. Here are some interesting excerpts:

“We did not have a commercial solution before. We were a startup and, in the beginning, someone developed a script for backing up that supported Linux. As we grew, we realized we needed to have something more scalable. Before, every time we had to add a new server, we had to have a developer write a new script. We needed to have something more manageable. “

“We went with Zmanda because it met the criteria. It supports all the flavors of Linux. It’s got a beautiful GUI interface. And it’s able to recover in a few hours. The results have been beautiful. We have nothing to complain about. What I need to do is once in a while look at the dashboard. If it is red, then something is missing. If it’s green, then it’s working. Now when we add a new machine, I can just go the Web-based GUI and type the server host name, which directory we need to back up on and which schedule. The interface is designed in an intuitive way based on what we want to back up and to where and when we want to back up. We have done quite a few tests and we’ve recovered all the machines each time. “

OpenSolaris, ZFS and Amanda

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I attended OpenSolaris Storage Summit last weekend.  There are lot of efforts going on to make OpenSolaris into a feature rich storage operating system. Some of the projects that are relevant to backup are NDMP, Storage de-duplication, Virus scanning, Disk encryption and ZFS hybrid storage pools.

I talked about Amanda network backup and recovery and how well it fits with OpenSolaris and ZFS plans. Amanda can backup ZFS filesystems taking advantage of ZFS snapshots. ZFS snapshots provides the ability to backup open files in Open Solaris. Amanda 2.6.1alpha OpenSolaris packages that are available for download takes advantage of this feature.  Amanda can also take advantage of ZFS send/recv functionality to do block level backups. Amanda provides users flexibility of backing up ZFS filesystems at file level  as well as block level using ZFS send/recv feature.

ZFS storage is an excellent target for Amanda backups. ZFS’s ease of administration, robustness and scalability makes it an ideal target for disk based backups.

Joe Little of Stanford University has written a blog on how to backup ZFS filesytems using Amanda to Amazon S3.

BTW, ZRM of MySQL already supports Open Solaris and takes advantage of ZFS snapshots for backing up MySQL.

PowerReviews: A Zmanda Success Story

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

If you are shopping for a backpack for an upcoming trip to Yosemite this fall, chances are you may head over to REI.COM or to compare various options and buy the backpack of your choice. On these websites you will also run into extensive reviews to help guide your decision. These reviews are powered by PowerReviews – a fast growing company which provides a platform for online retailers to quickly add consumer reviews functionality to their websites.

When PowerReviews started looking for a backup solution to protect rapidly growing critical data in their environment, they turned to Amanda Enterprise. Today Amanda Enterprise protects 30 Windows and 16 Mac OS X Clients in their environment. Here is the full story.

Simplify storage provisioning for backup to disk with Amanda using Solaris ZFS

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

First, the announcement. On September 21st at 11:30am our VP of engineering Paddy Sreenivasan will talk at OpenSolaris Storage Summit in Santa Clara about Open Source backup software Amanda for OpenSolaris.

Now the news. Sun just published Sun Fire x4540 as Backup Server for Amanda Enterprise backup software quick-start guide on BigAdmin system administration portal. The guide provides an introduction to configuring the Sun Fire X4540 server as a backup server for backup to disk. The specific examples for configuring the zpool and ZFS file systems on the Solaris 10 illustrate how easy it is to provision high-capacity storage for backup to disk. The Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL quick-start guide for X4540 is going through a review and will be published soon as well.

Almost 75% of Fortune 1000 use backup to disk, which requires a lot of capacity. According to the latest ’08 survey by TheInfoPro of storage administrators working for Fortune 1000 firms, the provisioning continues to be the most time consuming activity, see the figure below:Time spending by storage administrators

Ease of provisioning of ZFS volumes with Sun Fire x4540 will be very welcome by many practitioners of backup to disk. For example, right now we are implementing backup to disk for our customer who is the world’s largest supplier of innovative flash memory products. The provisioning of storage for backup is a challenge for their 48 TB of EDA data kept on Solaris servers.

The storage administrators who invest in an easy to use, affordable and scalable (both in capacity and network bandwidth) backup appliance utilizing Amanda Enterprise on x4540, will spend almost no time provisioning storage. I am sure they will find creative ways to spend their free time!
Dmitri Joukovski

Amanda packages for Open Solaris

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Solaris 10 server and client packages for recent release of Amanda, 2.6.0p2 is available for download at  Zmanda downloads page.
The packages also support Open Solaris 2008.05 community edition.  Documentation is available at Amanda wiki.

Amanda Delivers Windows Backup and Recovery to Community

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Latest Version Leverages Windows Volume Shadow Service (VSS) to Backup Open Files and Open Standard Formats for Data Compression and Encryption.

The Amanda Project, a Zmanda sponsored and community-supported open source collaboration, announces the availability of Amanda 2.6.0p2. This latest version provides open file backup and recovery for Windows XP, Vista desktops and laptops and Windows 2003, 2008 servers, enabling system administrators to perform backup without impacting users and applications. By leveraging the standard zip format for backup images, Amanda 2.6.0p2 gives users the flexibility to recover their data with or without Amanda software. This version, complete with a Windows Installer and a 15-minute configuration guide, is available for free download. With this Zmanda-led release, Amanda further extends its leadership as the most comprehensive and popular open source network backup and recovery software protecting major Linux, Unix and Windows platforms. Amanda 2.6.0p2 is built on a modular software architecture optimized for developers looking to extend Amanda to support the latest hardware and software storage technologies.

“Amanda has a strong and thriving community that is anxious for Windows support,” said Paddy Sreenivasan, Amanda project leader at Zmanda. With this release, Amanda is now the most stable and reliable open source backup and recovery project for heterogeneous environments.

Amanda is the world’s most popular open source backup and archiving software, protecting more than half a million servers and desktops worldwide. Amanda allows system administrators to set up a single backup server to back up hosts to a tape or disk-based storage system. Amanda uses native data extraction and compression facilities and can back up a large number of workstations and servers running various versions of Linux, Unix or Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Amanda was awarded the “Best Open Source Software” in the storage category by InfoWorld in August 2008 and was the only backup finalist in the 2008 SourceForge Community Choice Awards as the “Best Tool or Utility for SysAdmins”. Amanda was certified by the Department of Homeland Security as being free of security defect.

For more information on Amanda 2.6.0p2, to download the software or to join in this community effort, please visit:

An enterprise edition of Amanda is offered through Zmanda as an annual subscription. The Amanda Enterprise edition provides users with an easy-to-use web-based Zmanda Management Console, application support for Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange Server, comprehensive reporting capabilities and three levels of support complete with knowledge base access, email and phone support, case management, software enhancements and security updates. For more information, please visit:

Lustre backup and recovery

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Lustre is a scalable, secure, robust, and highly-available cluster file system. Lustre has multiple components: Meta data servers, Object storage servers and Lustre clients.

Amanda can be used for backup and recovery of Lustre file systems as well as for disaster recovery of Lustre Meta data servers and Object storage servers. A white paper on how to use Amanda with Lustre file system is available here.

Please post your comments on the white paper in Zmanda forums.

Oracle: Protected by Zmanda!

Monday, August 4th, 2008

We announced support for Oracle today. Specifically, Amanda Enterprise now protects:

  • Oracle 11g on Windows
  • Oracle 10g and 11g on Linux and Solaris
  • Oracle Enterprise Linux

On Linux and Solaris, we took the approach of integrating Amanda with RMAN. Keeping with Amanda’s philosophy of using native tools as closely as possible, we allow Oracle DBAs to perform recovery right from within Oracle Enterprise Manager. Amanda takes care of restoring all files needed for a DBA to perform recovery specific to their need (e.g. table level recovery or point-in-time recovery).

For Windows, on recommendation from backup experts at Oracle, we integrated with their new VSS writer. This enables us to take quick snapshot of Oracle and basically have no processing overhead on Oracle for bulk of the backup process (i.e. actual movement of data).

We also added Oracle Enterprise Linux as one of the Linux distributions that we support. Now our Linux backup list reads: Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, OpenSUSE and Oracle Enterprise Linux.

Oracle DBAs now benefit from open formats (relieving them of costly vendor lock-in) and ease of use of Amanda. Of course, they benefit from huge cost savings offered by Amanda Enterprise – in many cases one-fifth the cost of other solutions. In addition, for the first time, they can backup their databases directly to the Amazon S3 storage, combining backup and disaster recovery in one step.

At Zmanda our strategy is to continue to stretch our umbrella to protect more and more platforms and applications. Supporting Oracle is a major step in this direction.