Amanda competes against Bacula for the position of top open source system wide backup. Amanda has one advantage over Bacula, an open archive format.
Amanda has a free open source community edition backup program and a commercial edition for
enterprise backups. Amanda is sponsored by Zamanda, who sell the commercial versions. Comparing the free community edition to the commercial version, one of the things I need in a backup is available only in the commercial version, removing Amanda from consideration.
Amanda has client packages to backup several popular operating systems but the Windows version goes back only to XP, not Windows 2000, excluding a significant number of working Windows systems. I updated the last of my Windows 2000 machines to Linux, bringing Amanda back into consideration.
You can administer Amanda within Webmin using an add on module downloaded separately or by the commercial version of Amanda with a Web based management application included. My uses do not justify the expense of the commercial version. My attempts at using Webmin a couple of years ago made the Webmin approach too difficult. Webmin is now a nicer product. If the Amanda plugin for Webmin is also good, I will look at the combination next time I need to implement a backup.
One advantage of Amanda is the files are backed up using an open compressed file format and your operating system might be able to browse the compressed files, plus perform searches, without Amanda. If Amanda fails, you should be able to access all your files.
here is also an encryption system for storing files on external servers and clouds. You would have to carefully test the combination of compression and encryption to see what you can access without Amanda.
A disadvantage of Amanda is their move towards using Perl. They use mostly C code for fast efficient operation and use a little bit of Perl for some new features. Instead of replacing the existing Perl code with C, they are going in the reverse direction. Their new direction is better than using Java but not a lot better. Most Linux distributions install Perl.
The real test will be their Web interface. If the Web interface is based on Perl instead of PHP, integration with Web management tools will be limited. Zamanda probably use Perl for the Zamanda commercial version because it is the same developers. The Webmin version might use PHP because PHP is the logical choice but they might also use Perl because a lot of those administration tools are just pretty front ends for Perl scripts. You will have to test for reliability. When you decide you want to add one extra feature, you will have to see what sort of code they use. I will be looking at the Webmin Amanda plugin for a project next year.
The commercial version of Amanda has hot backups for Oracle but no mention of MySQL or PostgreSQL. I need hot backups of both so databases can be backed up without stopping applications and the backup, when restored, has to produce a database in a known state. A hot backup requires a database that can keep tract of the status of all transactions until the backup is complete.
PostgreSQL supports that type of action. The latest, or next, version of MySQL is supposed to support that. Amanda needs that feature in the free open version for both MySQL and PostgreSQL.
The Amanda documentation frequently refers to tape backup. The old IBM mainframes used tape for backup because they had high capacity compared to disks and were reliable. The small cartridge tapes from other suppliers were so unreliable that they were named WORN drives, Write Once Read Never.
Tape never kept up with disk. They are too slow. Disks are so cheap, you backup disk to disk. If you are told to use tape, you perform a fast backup from disk to disk then a slow backup from the disk backup to a tape. Amanda is designed to backup to disk then to tape. In a modern system, you backup to a local disk then from local disk to remote disk.
The Ubuntu Software centre has three packages for Amanda, Client, Libs, and Server. Both are available in standard format and an i386 version for very old computers. To backup a single computer to disk, you select the server package, tick the option to include the client, then install.
The Amanda documentation at amanda.org shows examples of Amanda configuration using the 1950s DOS-box/teletype-emulation/command-line rubbish. I installed Amanda on Ubuntu to see if there is a user interface but no, there is nothing, you have to buy the enterprise edition. I deleted Amanda and will look for a usable backup application.
Amanda has the right features for an environment including a mixture of operating systems, provided the backup is to Linux or Unix. You will need either the commercial version or the Webmin version for easy management.