There are a lot of issues and questions here, and some of them can be very personal. For, example,
I'm totally happy with a simple command line interface, whereas some people won't even consider a
piece of software unless it has some sort of graphical interface, even if it is just a web interface.
The last few days, my boss and I struggled with a new version of lmgrd (license manager daemon) that
required x11 and java components for a GUI install and configure application. This was on a Solaris
server that has no graphics card, no physical monitor or keyboard, only a command line console over
a serial port. With no command line interface for the install, I had to install several more
packages to my OS to get the pieces of X11 and java that were required; as well as configuring sshd
to allow X11 forwarding, so that we could install it from our Mac OS desktops using ssh to the
server with X11 forwarding back to our desktops. It would have been a gazillion times easier to do
`./install` or some such from the command line on the server. But, their support of Unix seems to be
grudging, at best; and, we're not about to run a Windows server.
Anyway, that's just by way of illustration.
If you want a general sense of why I like Amanda, see
http://blogs.umass.edu/choogend/2007/09/27/ten-things-i-like-about-amanda/ . It's slightly dated,
but still pertinent, in spite of both Amanda and Bacula having seen a huge amount of development
work in the last few years.
I'll provide some comments inline below. I'm sure some others will speak up as well.
On 3/1/11 11:16 AM, Gour wrote:
I'm an Archlinux user planning to migrate to Free/PCBSD soon. At the
moment I use Bacula to backup my desktop machine and another (old)
Moreover, I've collection of archived (scanned) slides and video files
which are archived on (atm) 12 LTO-2 tapes with more tapes to be
filled in the future.
So, considering the above backup hardware (HP Ultrium 448 tape drive)
and my backup needs, I wonder whether Amanda might be better option
When I say 'better' I think about the following:
a) ease of setup and admin work required to maintain the setup
I did configure Bacula, created 3 different Catalogs (video, slides,
desktop). but I lost in the past my configuration and had to scan all
the tapes to restore catalog files which are atm stored in Postgresql
database which is another extra requirement to admin. (Let me say that
I keep Postgresql just for the Bacula needs.
How does Amanda compare here?
That was a significant part of my choosing Amanda. It is pretty much straight to the point. You
don't have to install and configure an SQL database (and manage it's tuning and performance); you
don't have to configure multiple server daemons (storage, database, backup); it is run from the OS
(cron), so you don't have to worry about whether it is still running or not (having to put in a
nagios module to watch it); it uses native tools on the OS, so you don't have to worry about being
able to read the tapes if your backup server goes belly up; and I believe the configuration of
Amanda is much easier, as long as you get the point of the planning strategy that Amanda uses --
I happen to *really* like that strategy. It minimizes demand on the network, on the servers, on the
tape storage, etc., by smoothing that demand over the dump cycle. Once you get to know Amanda,
"traditional" backup strategies seem *so* confining and demanding.
b) tools for working with the application
Bacula has Bat GUI, but I use bconsole and can find my way there, but
wonder how does Amanda compare here?
If you go with the enterprise edition from Zmanda, you can get a graphical console that is very
Personally, I think Amanda is straightforward enough that there really isn't any need for a GUI of
any sort. There are a variety of command line means of getting information and checking
configurations. The man pages give info on that and the wiki gives a lot more. You've been there
already -- http://wiki.zmanda.com/index.php/Main_Page .
c) bare-metal recovery
So far, I never did it with Bacula, but I confess that I'm not
probably ready either.
Is bare-metal recovery easy/difficult with Amanda?
Bare metal is bare metal. I don't think there is much difference in concept getting your system back
up. The huge difference is that Amanda tapes can be read with native OS tools. So, you don't have to
get Amanda installed and reconfigured in order to access your tapes. If you have your email reports
and know when the last full was for the system of interest, you can recover those using a base OS
install and get back your Amanda configuration and indexes. After that, you can go ahead and use
Amanda command line tools to navigate the indexes and pull more stuff back (without having to worry
about databases, storage daemons, file daemons, directors, and so on).
d) spanning volumes on more than one tape and appending to the tape
I see two unusual (from the Bacula user's perspective) FAQ entries:
1) How do I back up a partition that won't fit on a tape?
2) Why does Amanda not append to a tape?
According to the FAQ, answer for 1) seems to be that it's possible
since 2.5.0, and it looks that 3.2.x is bringing support to even
better level. Correct?
As far as issue 2) is concerned, I'm accustomed in Bacula to simply
run a job, selecting correct Pool of tapes and Bacula appends new
backup to the appropriate tape without much thinking. It looks that
Amanda is using different strategy, and the following confuses me
"...Amanda was designed to never overwrite a non-Amanda tape, nor an
Amanda tape from a different configuration, nor an Amanda tape from
the current configuration that is still "active", i.e. has backups on
the tape more recent than the dumpcycle length."
Bacula also has 'file retention' parameter, but here I'm confused with
interchange of the words 'append' (as used in the FAQ entry) and
'overwrite' as used in explanation?
append is the idea that one backup run can be added to the end of a tape used by the previous backup
run, continuing until the tape is full. Some (including me) are philosophically against that. It
poses risks of losing all those backups if one fails in writing to the tape, and it eliminates the
redundancy of your backups by putting all (or many of) your eggs in one basket. I prefer more tapes
and don't mind if they happen to be largely empty. That just means I still have growth for the
future, which is always an issue.
overwrite is when a tape comes around for being re-used. The new backup is simply written over the
previous contents of the tape. Amanda will do this with a tape that has come due according to the
tape cycle specified in amanda.conf. The tape must be an Amanda tape for this configuration. That
means that if you have some other tape that you want to use for the Amanda backups, you have to
label it first using amlabel. Again, philosophically, that falls right in line with the first point.
You don't want Amanda willy nilly writing a tape just because some operator has put in the wrong
tape. That way lies lost data and is the anathema of the sysadmin.
So, the re-use of tapes by Amanda is somewhat simpler. It is controlled by the tape cycle. If you
want to use a tape as an archive (set aside and not re-used), you can use amadmin to mark that tape
So I'd appreciate if someone can throw some more light on it helping
with the final decision.
Anything else which I did not include which might be worth of
I hope that helps.
O__ ---- Systems Administrator
c/ /'_ --- Biology& Geology Departments
(*) \(*) -- 140 Morrill Science Center
~~~~~~~~~~ - University of Massachusetts, Amherst
<hoogendyk < at > bio.umass.edu>