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Amanda 2.5 Released 155

Anonymous Coward writes to tell us that a new release of the popular open source backup tool Amanda is now available fixing many of the limitations of previous versions. From the release: "Overall the focus of the release is on security of the backup process & backed up data, scalability of the backup process and ease of installation & configuration of Amanda."
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Amanda 2.5 Released

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  • ... I've been looking for something like this. Thank you Slashdot. :-)
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:23PM (#14999726) Homepage Journal
    In high school, Amanda was always my backup too!

    Ahh, fun times.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:35PM (#14999757)
      It is not nice to call your sister your backup.
    • And what did you give your regular hand?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You can check out a picture of Amanda here: []
    • In high school, Amanda was always my backup too!
      How many pictures did you have?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In high school, Amanda was always my backup too!

      Was Amanda's last name Hugankiss?
    • Couldn't help but notice that the body of the post was
      >Amanda was always my backup
      and the signature was
      >Your wife just won't understand
    • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @12:51AM (#15000657) Journal

      [telephone rings]

      Slashdotter: Hello? Oh hi Mom. How's my laundry coming along?

      Mother: It's almost done, dearie. I can't seem to get the stain out of your Starfleet Command t-shirt, though.

      Slashdotter: [frustrated] Aww!

      Mother: Don't worry, I'll keep trying. [pause] Dear, are you seeing anyone? I'm worried about you.

      Slashdotter: Aw come on, mom. Well, um, yeah... sure I'm seeing someone.

      Mother: You're not fibbing again, are you?

      Slashdotter: What? No!

      Mother: If you aren't fibbing, tell me what her name is.

      Slashdotter: Uh...her name is... Amanda.

      Mother: Really?

      Slashdotter: Yeah, Amanda. I'm serious. Amanda is really cool.

      Mother: You have a GIRLFRIEND? REALLY? I'm so thrilled! Your father will be so thrilled!

      Slashdotter: Yes... Amanda. In fact, she's someone at the office. We really "click".

      Mother: Oh! I am ~so~ glad. You do have to be careful with an office relationship, dearie. I hope you are being discrete.

      Slashdotter: Don't worry, mom. We keep it very professional when we see each other at work.

      Mother: I'm glad! Amanda... that is a nice name. Is she pretty?

      Slashdotter: Oh yes, yes she is. Pretty in an intuitive sort of way. And totally low maintenance.

      Mother: She sounds wonderful!

      Slashdotter: Yeah... um... Yeah, and mom? Amanda would really like to see my Starfleet Command t-shirt this weekend...

      Mother: I'll take care of it right away, dear! Your father will be so thrilled!

  • thanks amanda (Score:2, Informative)

    by xiaomai ( 904921 )
    i've been using amanda at work for the past year now and it's been wonderful. thanks to all the developer's out there who work so hard (the mailing list rocks too).
  • Well, it should've been, anyhow.
  • Great software (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jpalit ( 776862 )
    I love and trust Amanda to do all my backup. Thanks for the new release...
  • by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:36PM (#14999763) Homepage
    I've been running it for 4 nights now, replaceing the previous 2.4.5 version I've been running for quite some time, and its working just like the 2.4.5 version it replaced. So if you are worried about the upgrade breaking something, if it worked with your old configs, it should Just Work(TM) with the new version too. I used the same config/build script I've been useing for years to build and install it.

    Newbies, please goto or and read the top ten FAQ there, it will save you many headaches in getting it setup. To make it work, and work well, may require a re-thinking of how you think a backup should be done. Once setup its a background process you get nightly emails from, but requires little or no hand-holding on a daily basis other than making sure the tape needed is in the drive for tonights run. vtape users (where the tape images are kept on a humongous hard drive) don't even have to deal with that, the best of both worlds IMO. I've been doing that for about 18 months or more here at the coyote.den, my private domains name.

    And I highly recommend subscribing to the amanda-user mailing list, details on, where you can ask for help and get it from more knowledgable people than I, although you will find me there too. 10 messages is a busy day so it won't eat your lunch.

    Cheers, Gene
    • I've been using it for close to 10 years and it needs very little care-and-feeding. The spanning will be nice. Glad to hear your having success with it.
      • In fact I have about a 7 year history with amanda. Having worn out 4 of those 4 tape seagate changers & a couple of regular DDS2 drives, I've come to the conclusion that disks, having much more development money behind them, have indeed now exceeded the utility of tapes when I can buy a disk that lasts several years, possibly a decade, for 10% or less the cost per gigabyte of an equivalent tape drive and its backup medium. But thats just my opinion, the opinion of an old man these days as I'm now 71.
  • Its amazing how this simple to use software makes sysadmin work so easy. Thanks goes to the Amanda development community.
  • Does it support spanning archives across tapes yet? I used amanda a lot about 4 years ago and was amazed that it didn't support such a simple function.
    • Yes! Tape Spanning! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:42PM (#14999786) Homepage
      Yes, it supports tape spanning. It also supports compression and encryption of your choice (so you should be able to use star instead of gtar & bzip2 rather than gzip). These are the most frequently requested features, so this is really a good release!
      • I would much rather back up to DVD than tapes, and while various backup programs support this I have yet to find one that will cope if I want to back up more than 4.4GB.

        I don't want anything fancy - just full and incremental backup. Yet every product seems to be designed either for single users backing up key documents to a single CD, or for enterprise users backing up terabytes of documents to expensive tape drives!
        • Mondo Rescue (Score:2, Interesting)

          by gosquad ( 122364 )
          I know that Mondo Rescue supports spanning over discs of any size. It also supports differential backups. I personally use it for nightly backups. Setup is simple via command line switches, and restoring is done via a curses-based tool on the bootable iso. []
        • DVDs are REALLY lousy for enterprise backup (but the price and availability may make it attractive to home users). AMANDA has been used to write to CDR(W)s and DVD+/-R(W) (using the dvd+rw-tools). I don't know if such projects have benefited from tape spanning, but it shouldn't be "too long." That being said, one machine backups to DVD may have easier options...
          • DVDs are REALLY lousy for enterprise backup care to elaborate? most enterprises tend to be reluctant to give out plenty of disk space. a linux machine's os would easily fit onto a dvd. if you're running postgresql or some other rdbms, it's probably on it's own partition, and backing that up would depend on the amount of data you're using. for me, they're not good any longer for home backups. i have 200gb and a 160gb ide drives, and a 250gb sata drive. i have a separate 200gb usb drive that i backup
            • Some enterprises might be stingy with quota per person, but when you multiply that by the number of people in the company (including the big wigs who rarely have a practical quota), it is quite large. In addition to smaller capacity, optical media scratch and have a shorter shelf life than tape. Yes, there are archival quality discs. No, they're not extremely cheap (which would be the only reason to use DVDs). Also, most CD carousels/robots carry a stiff enough price premium such that you might as well
          • DVDs are REALLY lousy for enterprise backup

            Yes, but then Amanda is also not suitable for that. DVD's are too small to consider for backup for anyone with terrabytes of data to backup.
            • DVDs are too small even for someone with only a few gigabytes of data to backup. (So OBVIOUSLY they're too small for three orders of magnitude more data).

              We currently use Amanda to backup over a terabyte of data & we're not a very large shop. The last survey (2003, with 72 responses) showed multiple users backing up as much as 5000 GB.

              With support for things like RAIT, amanda scales fairly nicely.
    • From the release notes:
      Dump images spanning multiple media volumes:
      This major step forward alleviates Amanda's most significant limitation. The size of the backed up images is no longer restricted to a single media volume but may now span over several volumes. This gets rid of the need of the administrator to artificially segment their data into parts which can fit into a single media volume (as required in prior versions of Amanda).
    • Re:spanning (Score:2, Funny)

      by ( 886486 )
      *span, span, span, span, span, span*... oh, wait... err...
  • by HappyCamp ( 707842 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:40PM (#14999776)
    Nothing against Amanda, but I switched from using Amanda to going to BackupPC. []

    What I really like about BackupPC is the Disk based backup focus of it. It does NOT support tape drives. But for doing backups to hard drives it is great. And with the way it will only keep one copy of a file, no matter how many systems it is on really helps to minimize disk space usage. Example: You have /bin/ls on five of your linux boxes that all run the same distribution. It will only store one copy of /bin/ls on the backup server and use hardlinks to keep track of all the other copies. Plus it compresses the files.

    Great stuff!
    • I use Amanda to backup to disks, and am quite happy with it. Doesn't do the single instance store like you mention, but is very stable and zippy.
    • actually, backuppc can be used to backup to tape as well. BackupPC_archiveHost if i remember right.. and you can point that to a tape drive or write a .tar.gz and then put it on tape... it won't do the hardlinks like a regular backuppc link will, but it's perfect for writing nightly backups to be taken offsite, if your tape drive is large enough.
  • The biggest thing I have problems with using Amanda is the need for a clean IP path to the destination, so I can't run a backup through a proxy firewall. Does the new version still use UDP for control?
  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:50PM (#14999813) Homepage Journal
    How does this new version compare to Bacula ( [])?

    The thing I like about Bacula is that it will allow you to spread a backup job accross multiple tapes, supports backups to disk, has its own scheduling system, and has a native windows client. From what I understand Amanda uses tar and relies upon NFS, SMB, or other network filesystem protocols to work. Bacula on the other hand has a true client/server architecture with a native client running on all of the systems it supports. It also makes use of MySQL to keep track of backup jobs. This made it very easy for me to create a web interface for it ( []

    If Amanda has been improved to be competitive with Bacula in some of these areas then I'll definitely have to investigate it.

    • by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:55PM (#14999833) Homepage
      This version of amanda supports tape spanning. Many used to say use amanda for the scheduler or bacula for the tape spanning. Since amanda spans, this no longer holds.

      Amanda has always allowed backups to a holding disk & the scheduler has been fantasitc. There isn't a native windows client, but the windows client runs fine under cygwin, or one can backup SMB shares.

      Amanda does rely on tar (which is, IMHO, a good thing), but that tar can be different on each client (so that one can backup resource forks on OS X, for example).

      Amanda doesn't rely on NFS or SMB, but can use them. There are excellent web interfaces through, for example, webmin.
      • Two key features distingush Amanda from Bacula

        - Data format on the media: You can restore from Amanda media without using Amanda. The commands to
        restore data is part of the header

        - Consistent backup window: Amanda unique scheduler tries to backup same amount of data every backup run.

    • For me, the lack of automatic backup scheduling in other packages is a complete deal-breaker. Amanda, I just tell it how many full backups I want over what period, and it makes it happen. There's no "full backup this friday" crap. You don't have enough tape? It defers the backups it can, and lets you know you need to get more... it's painless.

      For a site with growing storage there's no alternative to Amanda.
    • newer versions of amanda do support tape-spanning. amanda doesn't have anything to do w/ NFS, it uses a server/client model, although there is no native windows client. not sure why an smb mount wouldn't do the job though.
    • Odd that you got modded 'troll,' since I think your question is anything but.

      I've been wondering the same thing. There are quite a few Linux backup products out there, ranging from the more full-featured network backup systems like Amanda and Bacula to shell scripts (some of which are damned impressive by themselves). I've become aware of all the different options because I just bought a DDS tape autoloader for backing up my home network, and choosing one can be pretty daunting. (And I only have a handful o
    • Nice web interface -- any plans to make it available ?

      Also, check out this: wnload.php?file=bacula-web_1.1.tar.gz []
  • I Tried It Once... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Illbay ( 700081 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:51PM (#14999821) Journal
    ...but had a tough time with the (at least at that time) limited hardware support. While I'm sure they've probably worked that out (at least to a better degree than before), my search for alternatives back then turned up rdiff-backup [].

    Not only has it always been versatile as far as the hardware it uses--for my SOHO server, an external USB Harddrive is the ticket, one that I can just snatch and carry with me if natural disaster threatens, e.g.--but the METHOD of backup [] is superior to anything I've personally ever encountered.

    Backup AND restore are both a breeze.

    I'm sure that AMANDA is more appropriate for many (read "more servers") usage, but I've found rdiff-backup to be perfect for someone like me, with only a single server to worry about (althought that single server contains all my family's business and personal files--so to us, it's not such a trivial thing).

    • What problems with hardware support did you have? It can write to any tape device that mt can & integrate with any tape changer that mtx can. It can read and write to any disk that the kernel allows. rdiff-backup was started fairly recently, so I can't imagine your amanda problems were insurmountable.
    • Why is rdiff-backup only suitable for one server?

      I have a simple script that uses rdiff-backup to backup a whole bunch of on-line servers.

      For disk backup rdiff-backup is the best solution I have found since it has the binary-diff advantage of rsync combined with roll-back (also implemented with diffs).

      For backing up from a colo over the internet sending the whole file system every night will result in ridiculous bandwidth usage. Some sort of binary diff system is the only option IMHO.
  • by 2old2rock ( 963747 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @07:52PM (#14999826)
    A good piece of software thats getting some attention it deserves. Looking at [] and the wiki at [] it feel like amanda is getting the recognition it deserves. For newbies I would recommed [] and the wiki above.
  • Seems none of these are are available for Debian?

  • Backups? Here I was, thinking that a followup to Third Stage [] had been released.
  • Does it support generalised backup apps, or do they still have to be wrapped in scripts to make them look like dump or tar?
  • How does Amanda compare to proprietary solutions (e.g. NetVault)?

    And does it support tape backup hardware?
    • Of course Amanda supports tape backup hardware... Otherwise why would it be a backup software!?
    • Haven't used Amanda yet but can say from much experience that ArcserveIT BrightStore has been an absolute nightmare for us. Spent hours on the phone with them, only to come up with most of the answers myself. Once was on the phone for about 3 hours due to a problem with their licensing server, and never did get it totally resolved. I will never forgive them for that.

      Am trying to convince my boss to give Amanda a try, but I don't think that will be possible until we ditch Novell for Samba (hopefully in a
      • Am trying to convince my boss to give Amanda a try, but I don't think that will be possible until we ditch Novell for Samba...

        Just curious, but why ditching Novell for Samba when you could move to Open Enterprise Server (with the Linux kernel) and run Samba on Linux in Novell? You could run Amanda right away, or even RSYNC NetWare to Linux (with TRUSTEE.NLM rights output) and then Amanda that. I guess I just don't see how people can get away from e-Directory and ZENworks if they are still supporting Windo
        • Might have to take a look at that, thanks.

          > I just don't see how people can get away from e-Directory and ZENworks

          Our Novell version is like 5.1 I think. Seriously ancient stuff, and none of us that remain here know much about it. So we're not exactly addicted to Novell's newer whiz-bang features.
  • I went to the site expecting the good old Rainbow style A.M.A.N.D.A. logo, but the site is 'zmanda' branded...

    To me, this looks like some third party updated and extended some OSS. That said, I think the title is a bit misleading in that this isn't Amanda 2.5 at all, but some other project...

    Just my $0.02
    • Re:Amanda or Zmanda? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Nope. This is the *real* Amanda release. I checked on Sourceforge as well. Zmanda seems to be a company behind Amanda project. You can see the rainbow'ed Amanda logo on their wiki ( [])
    • No this isn't a fork. The post linked to zmanda, but you can find the old logo and a reference to 2.5.0 at [] as usual. (I had no idea anyone actually liked that logo. Ten minutes with an image editor ten years ago, and it's still up there) Amanda, as always, has been developed by whoever was willing to pick up the ball and run with it. Right now Zmanda is taking an active interest and contributing heavily back to the open source program. This is of course A Good Thing.
  • Can Amanda handle POSIX access control lists?

  • Nice but.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by daniel_newton ( 817437 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:46PM (#14999961)
    I these backup programs seem to complicated for me. At work we just use tar for our archival backup (I can have a bare metal restore from tape of our main production server up in about 2 hours).

    Also we use rsnapshot [] for hourly/daily/weekly/monthly snapshots of the whole filesystem (rsnapshot is very cool and simple too).

    • Re:Nice but.. (Score:3, Informative)

      by dj44 ( 955353 )
      If you have more than 2 or 3 machines that you want to backup to disk and especially tape you need Amanda for automation. After initial setup Amanda doesn't require any babysitting, it just works for you. ---- dj
  • is that like Jake 2.0?
  • by Noksagt ( 69097 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @09:36PM (#15000099) Homepage
    From the amanda hacker's list:
    We need to decide on the release version? 2.6? 2.5.1?

    Following is the list of features that have been requested:

    - Support for POSIX file names (allowing spaces in filenames)
    - Amanda user ids consistency (sourceforge bug 1416737) - Requested by
    Paul Bijnens, Mitch Collinsworth
    - Backing up filesystem ACLs (schily tar support)
    - Design and implementation of application API (new Dumper API)
        (Proposal in [] )
    - Cleaning up the device interface to support WORM devices
        (Suggested by mhelmling [] )

    Of course, all open bugs in bug tracker have to be addressed.

    If you have feature requests or if you find bugs, please post them in bug tracker
    ( =100120 [])

  • I've been thinking of starting up a backup regimen at home recently. But my wife uses MacOSX and it would be nice if there was an EASY way to set it up a client on her machine. You know, something along the lines of a .DMG or .mpkg file to click and install, another program to do any configuration needed in a windowed environment. I did a little cursory reading prior to this post but I have only seen where it must be compiled on the machine which requires all sorts of prerequisites. I guess I could do i
    • It's not horribly complicated to set up backups with amanda on a Mac OS X machine. I agree, it would be nice to have a precompiled, self-contained *.app, but this should suffice in the mean time.
      1. Install Mac OS X Developer Tools (for gcc)
      2. Install Xtar (google for it), a version of GNU tar that understands resource forks, etc.
      3. Compile amanda, pointing to xtar as the default path for tar.
      4. Configure as normal.
    • Please note that I do not reccommend this as a "robust" solution, not for business use or personal home use if you have a lot of valuable data. But if you are needing something simple and cheap, this may work out well for you, or at least well enough until you can bring a proper backup solution online. I have been using this system for almost a year now, and it has served my needs well, and recently saved my bacon when I had to rebuild my fileserver.

      Basically, my home network consists of a couple of (linux)

  • Still Tape Only (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WryCoder ( 18961 )
    It's a shame that they didn't include backing up to DVD or disk. Yes, you can use the disk holding area and manually clean it out periodically so it doesn't fill up. That's what I do.

    But it would be nice if you could specify the equivalent of some number of tape sets in the holding area and have them overwrite themselves without manual intervention.
    • Re:Still Tape Only (Score:2, Informative)

      by innit ( 79854 )

      From TFA:

      Amanda is the world's most popular open source backup and recovery software. Amanda allows system administrators to set up a single server to back up multiple hosts to a tape- or disk-based storage system over the network.

      Or am I missing something?

    • Re:Still Tape Only (Score:2, Informative)

      by in10d ( 555219 )
      It's a shame that they didn't include backing up to DVD or disk. Yes, you can use the disk holding area and manually clean it out periodically so it doesn't fill up. That's what I do.
      why don't you use vtapes []?
  • Thank you slashdot, what would I do without you []?

    Seriously, why are we seeing product announcements on the front page? OSTG already owns freshmeat, there is no reason to reproduce this information on Slashdot. I hope I'm not marked as a troll on this, and I'll even go as far and NOT post as a coward.
  • I was originally going to ask how this improves over tar and dar (I've been using dar up to this point) but after looking over the site I realize I need to try Amanda out. I have a question though: if a backup archive gets damaged, can the non-damaged parts of the file still be restored (like dar) or are you utterly screwed (like tar)?

    This looks like a great solution because like commercial backup programs for Windows, I can centralize our backups. What I have set up right now is scripts to create dar archi

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