Collective Wisdom : Zmanada v Bacula v ??

Charles Curley charlescurley at
Mon Jun 6 16:20:41 MDT 2011

On Mon, 6 Jun 2011 14:59:28 -0600
Victor Villa <vvilla at> wrote:

> Greets oh wise PLUG collective that have pondered the depths of
> infinity, space-time and that's just this past week.

Moi? I find it much more profitable to ponder the depths of a good

> I come seeking advice on backup software solutions.
> I've read some great things about Zmanda, and Bacula looks pretty
> good.  The backup "server" is an i7 w 4GB RAM running ubuntu 11.04.
> The box has 2 hot swap SATA bays in the front that I was hoping to
> backup to.

Well, for one thing, the name of the program is Amanda. Zmanda is the
name of the firm formed to give commercial support to Amanda.,

I have used Amanda for years and contributed to its documentation. I
once tried to set up Bacula but gave up on it. That might have been my
failure, not Bacula's; many folks report excellent success with it.

If you are coming to Amanda from other backup programs, be aware of the
key difference: you don't schedule total backups and other level
backups. Amanda does that for you so that it can distribute the load
over the course of a backup cycle.

Another difference to note is that Amanda uses GNU Tar as its archiver.
This means you do not have to have Amanda to recover data. The
techniques for using mt and tar to recover are well documented. This can
be useful in a bare metal recovery situation. It also means your data is
not held hostage by a proprietary data format.

Amanda has *lots* of knobs to play with, but only a few are crucial to
setting it up. For one thing, it is designed for network backup of
multiple clients with multiple tape drives, spanning multiple tapes in
a run. A lot of that complexity goes away in your case, where you are
backing up one machine that (I assume from your write-up) is also your

Both handle virtual tapes, i.e. backing up to a hard drive. Hard drives
are cheaper and faster than tape drives, and much more reliable.

The only thing missing from Amanda is bare metal recovery, which you
didn't mention. There are other solutions for that, including mine:

You will likely have no problem running the version in the Ubuntu
repos, which is 3.2.1. The current stable version is 3.3.x.

As I mentioned, Zmanda exists to give commercial support to Amanda.
They are constantly improving it. The user community is active,
responsive and knowledgeable, and the documentation is plentiful.


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