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Amanda for Data Backup, or: How to Sleep Better at Night
Fran Fabrizio, Senior Systems Administrator, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Track: Linux
Date: Thursday, July 29
Time: 10:45am - 11:30am
Location: Salon D


Data backup is one of the highest priorities for any systems administrator, and implementing a backup system that’s reliable, scalable, easy to manage, and cost-effective can be an imposing task. Data is often an organization’s most valuable asset, and the data backup solution must inspire absolute confidence in the administrator and the network users that when crisis hits, the data is safe and can be restored.

Amanda (the Advanced Maryland Automated Network Disk Archiver) is a suite of utilities that allows an administrator to backup many hosts over the network to a single large-capacity tape drive. Amanda uses native tar and/or dump utilities to backup many flavors of Unix hosts, as well as Windows clients with the help of Samba. This mature project is well suited to a wide variety of backup scenarios and is a widely used, industrial-strength solution to the data backup challenge.

This talk examines Amanda’s unique and effective philosophy on backup scheduling, how to setup and optimize Amanda for a variety of environments, and how Amanda utilities make it easy to manage the backup and restore process. A case study will be presented showing how Amanda was used to provide completely automated, hands-off data backup to a public university’s computer science department while saving thousands of dollars in software costs. Attendees will be able to apply these same principles to their own project, no matter how big or small their backup needs happen to be.

What attracted Fabrizio to Amanda? "When I took the job here at U. of Alabama at Birmingham, the backup system consisted of five tape drives and one large disk array in four different machines. It required manual tape changing every day and a lot of babysitting on an ongoing basis. We decided we needed to invest in a better system. We spent the limited taxpayer money we have on state-of-the-art hardware and saved costs by using Amanda for the software."

Fabrizio points out one particularly interesting aspect of Amanda: "It allows for a single solution to multiple backup problems, and does so in a way that allows for almost complete automation (I've spent a total of fifteen minutes worrying about backup in 2004)."

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