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Article · Jan 21, 2015

What is Amanda and why is it so darn important?

What is Amanda and why is it so darn important?

Color illustration showing computer servers.

Carbonite achieved a great deal of success early on by providing consumers a low-cost, easy-to-use option for backing up things like documents, music files, mobile devices, videos and cherished family photos.

Despite that consumer focus, small business owners eventually began to recognize the value of Carbonite and started signing up for the service. The challenge was that small companies have vastly different needs than the typical consumer. In addition to documents and media, they often need to back up entire servers, NAS devices and fairly sizeable databases to boot.

Keeping these new customers happy and seizing the opportunity at hand meant that Carbonite needed to make some changes and significantly expand its offering. This realization ultimately led the company to a highly powerful open source technology known as Amanda.

Why is Amanda so important? The short answer is that Amanda technology provides the basis for the ability of Carbonite Server Backup to protect Windows servers, databases, and Hyper-V virtual machines – regardless of their size or level of complexity. But here's a slightly more detailed and (hopefully) interesting answer:

Amanda – which stands for the Advanced Maryland Automated Network Disk Archiver – is the world's most popular open source backup and recovery software. It was first developed at the University of Maryland and released under a free software license in the late 90s. The system was designed to back up and archive network computers to disk and tape drives and was later expanded to back up to cloud storage.

By the time Carbonite acquired Zmanda, Inc. in 2012, Zmanda's engineering team had already developed a hybrid cloud backup product for Windows servers called Zmanda Cloud Backup. Zmanda made its name in providing customers with enterprise ready versions of backup systems based on the open source Amanda project, including Amanda Enterprise and Zmanda Cloud Backup. Amanda Enterprise incorporates the full functionality of the Amanda project and also includes an intuitive Graphical User Interface, a scheduler, a plug-in framework, and support for an expanded list of backup types. Zmanda also boasts a talented team of technicians who provide world-class customer support services.

Carbonite Server Backup, Carbonite's fastest growing product, is the evolution of Zmanda Cloud Backup. It's based on the Zmanda Windows Client — which is the Windows client for Amanda Enterprise — and it includes a powerful yet simple user interface, a Web-based management portal, and support for additional backup and restore capabilities for Windows-based systems.

"Zmanda is a great strategic fit for Carbonite. Carbonite has focused on backing up personal computers and mobile devices, while Zmanda has focused on backing up servers and databases," Carbonite founder David Friend said at the time of the acquisition. "In the small to medium business (SMB) market, most companies need both."

Simply put, Amanda software is the main reason why Carbonite Server Backup is such a compelling and popular backup option for SMBs everywhere. We're proud that Amanda is part of the Carbonite family. You can count on us to continue working with the Amanda community to deliver valuable source code improvements. And we'll do it with the best interests of SMBs in mind.


Brad Meiseles

SVP of Product & Engineering

Brad Meiseles is SVP of Product & Engineering at Carbonite. He blogs about technology trends and tips for SMBs.

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