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Zmanda Adds Features To Cloud-Based Backup For SMBs

Zmanda Cloud Backup 3.0 Gives SMBs More Features, Better Pricing For Backing Up Windows Desktop and Servers.

Zmanda Cloud Backup 3.0 Gives SMBs More Features, Better Pricing For Backing Up Windows Desktop and Servers.Backups of your business' data are arguably more important than UPSs (although you should have those too!), since hardware can be bought, and business applications re-launched elsewhere, but if your data is gone, it's gone. Off-site backup, a.k.a. "e-vaulting," "on-line backup," et cetera has become readily available for enterprises, SMBs and individuals -- and the prices and features keep getting more compelling.

On June 23, 2010, Zmanda announced version 3.0 of its Zmanda Cloud Backup cloud-based backup and disaster recovery features. According to the company, new features include:

  • choice of additional regional data storage across three continents (North America, Europe, Asia), which helps optimize performance and address regional compliance concerns.
  • support for international character sets, e.g. Chinese and Japanese, e.g., enabling backup/recovery of files and folders with names in any language
  • optimizing backup of Microsoft Exchange data, including support for Exchange 2010, and Exchange 2010's Recovery Database (RDB) feature. This lets users restore individual mailboxes, or items within a mailbox, without interfering with user access to the current mailbox.
  • Support for cloud-based disaster recovery. "For example, if you are running SQL Server, we let you back up your system state to the compute cloud, and the virtual machine will be ready in case of a disaster," says Chander Kant, chief executive officer, Zmanda.

According to Kant, Zmanda uses public storage cloud services, like Amazon S3, as its storage target. "We write in open format, Microsoft Zip64, so a customer always has control of their data, they can always view and retrieve it even they do not have our software available." (Note, some other backup services, e.g., KineticD, allow access to backups from any browser, as long as you have your user-ID and password.)

Unlike some of the online backup services, "We can back up network drives," notes Kant.

It's important to understand what Zmanda Cloud Backup is, and does -- and isn't, and does not do -- within the realm of online storage and backup. (This isn't a criticism; there are differences, and some may be important to your company. More to the point, it's essential that you understand what the backup is -- and isn't -- doing.)

  • Zmanda Cloud Backup, like Carbonite, KineticD and Mozy, is providing online backup, not "drive-in-the-sky" instant access to files as if via Windows Explorer.
  • Controllable retention period policy for backups of deleted files. Some services automatically remove these backups after 30 or 45 days; others, e.g., KineticD, retain them until you purge them explicitly.
  • Zmanda's backups are scheduled, rather than continuous.
  • Zmanda Cloud Backup currently supports Windows (desktops and servers), but not MacOS or Linux. "We have a product that supports heterogeneous clients, intended for companies with dedicated IT staff," says Kant.

Additionally, the company announced a reduction in the service price, Zmanda Cloud Backup 3.0 has a setup/monthly charge of $4.95 per account (you can enroll as many Windows machines as you want in an account), plus $0.15/GB/month for data transfer and storage.

So if you've still been using tape or other removable media, or portable hard drives, as your off-site backup, it's time to take another look at cost, convenience and reliability of their online alternatives.

Don't Miss:The Cloud Storage Bandwagon Gets More Crowded

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