Evaluating Open Source Backup Appliances
Expensive software or homegrown scripts are not IT's only backup choices. End users should consider open source-based backup appliances for simplicity, security, flexibility, and the ability to support complex backup environments. In this article from sister site InfoStor.com, the Taneja Groups Christine Taylor examines the pros and cons of open source technologies in comparison to traditional approaches to backup and recovery.
One way to get around script-writing headaches is to adopt open source backup. This has advantages in that it gives you a ready-made code base and an active community of users and developers. And open source can be very inexpensive from a purchasing standpoint, to say the least. (Zero dollars is a fine price.)
Open source backup may be inexpensive to buy, but it's not necessarily cost-effective. You could run into some of the same issues as writing in-house backup scripts. You will still have to manually update your code with revisions to the core base, and will have to monitor community or in-house modules. You will have to adapt the code to serve the needs of disparate applications. You also have the problem of complexity if you expand the code to serve multiple backup targets and processes all of which may not be very cost-effective in dynamic environments.
Open source software comes with its own set of challenges, but it can serve as an excellent base for a backup appliance. In this option, you purchase a pre-configured backup appliance that is built on open source code. The open source roots keep purchase and ongoing fees low, and the appliance does the configuration and customizing for you. The appliance replaces disparate backup procedures and homegrown scripts with a centralized backup routine across multiple systems and applications. And unlike scripts or open source backup code, you are not on your own with customer service.
Zmanda is a good example of an open source backup vendor. Zmanda already offers its Amanda Enterprise Edition (AEE) open source software, and is expanding by offering AEE in the form of an appliance. Zmanda worked closely with Novell's SUSE Appliance Program to develop the Zmanda Backup Appliance (ZBA) running AEE. ZBA's OS is SUSE Linux Enterprise. It is optimized to do one thing: back up and recover file systems and applications.
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