The world's most popular open source database
Colin Charles is a Community Engineer at MySQL AB. He lives in Melbourne, Australia and has been with MySQL since 2005. Before joining MySQL, he worked actively on the Fedora and OpenOffice.org projects. He currently spends a lot of his time making community-based projects happy using the MySQL database.
Zmanda specializes in backup and recovery solutions. First they gave the world Amanda (based on an open source project created at the University of Maryland), and now they've given MySQL users a new reason to rejoice with the launch of Zmanda Recovery Manager (ZRM) for MySQL. I recently got to speak to Paddy Sreenivasan, the Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of Zmanda Inc., amidst his busy schedule, about what they do and why MySQL users should be jumping towards ZRM for MySQL for all their backup & recovery needs.
ZRM for MySQL works for both local and remote backups, works great with MySQL 4.1 and 5.x, is storage engine independent, and harnesses the power of the Logical Volume Manager (LVM) on Linux for local backups. There's a wiki, forums and even a mailing list for those wanting to discuss the software.
Colin: Please tell us a bit more about yourself and your background.
Paddy: My day job is running the engineering team at Zmanda. In this role, I work on development of open source backup and recovery software solutions for enterprise customers. Currently, I'm one of the project administrators and developers of Amanda - the leading open source network based backup and recovery software.
My current focus is on projects that meet the data protection requirements of Web 2.0 and LAMP-based applications. The MySQL database is a key component of Web 2.0 application stacks and backup/recovery of the database is the biggest concern for customers. Our goal is to create simple to use solutions to meet these requirements and provide features expected from an enterprise product.
I have also been an active contributor to Linux high-availability clustering projects. Prior to Zmanda, I held engineering roles at Cisco, SGI and HP.
Colin: How do you properly pronounce Zmanda?
Paddy: Zmanda is pronounced as "Zamanda".
Colin: How would you briefly describe Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL from your perspective to new users?
Paddy: Zmanda Recovery Manager (ZRM) for MySQL is a simple to use, flexible and robust backup & recovery solution for MySQL servers. It provides traditional backup product features such as scheduling, reporting, and maintenance of backup polices. The backups done by ZRM for MySQL can be integrated with existing network based backup programs.
Some of its key features are:
Colin: What motivated you to start working on the Zmanda Recovery Manager?
Paddy: We started working on Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL about six months ago. Our motivation is to provide backup and recovery tools that would simplify the life of MySQL database administrators. We wanted to develop a comprehensive backup and recovery solution that takes advantage of MySQL and underlying storage features to do live database backups with minimal application impact.
Colin: How many people are currently actively involved in maintaining Zmanda Recovery Manager?
Paddy: We currently have 6 developers and QA engineers dedicated to Zmanda Recovery Managers. All of them are Zmanda employees hoping to make their name known in the open source community. One of the key senior developers is K.K. George, who has been a senior engineer at CA and Veritas in the past.
Colin: Could you give us a rough estimate on how many Zmanda Recovery Manager users are out there?
Paddy: I think there about 50,000 MySQL database downloads every day. About 5-10% of these downloads are deployed in the production machines. All production users of MySQL database can use ZRM for MySQL. Within days of the release of the project, we had hundreds of downloads of the software. We expect to add more features over next few months such as graphical user interface, support for MySQL clusters. The new features will increase the ZRM usage among MySQL users. Our most popular platform so far has been Red Hat Linux.
Colin: In essence, what sets you apart from other solutions?
Paddy: This is a comprehensive backup and recovery solution of MySQL servers that uses most efficient backup method depending upon the underlying storage engines. It can even take advantage of LVM snapshots or MySQL replication to create consistent database backup images. It provides the backup and recovery features expected from an enterprise product.
Colin: Is there anything about MySQL you would like to comment on?
Paddy: We are interested in MySQL efforts in creating Online Backup API. ZRM for MySQL will take advantage of the backup API when the storage engine support is available. ZRM users can have the advantage of using the most efficient backup method available.
Colin: In closing, are there any other FOSS projects that have caught your attention?
Paddy: Amanda is the most popular open source network based backup & recovery software in the world. Why? I work on it :-) The key differentiator is its simplicity and the use of platform archival tools such as dump, GNU tar etc. This allows backups to be restored using native tools.
The other would have to be the Knoppix Live CD solution with the Amanda client works really well in bare metal recovery situations not only for Linux servers but also for Windows servers.
Colin: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to give us an interview, Paddy!
Paddy: You're welcome.
This interview was published in November, 2006.