Backup of data: Imaging vs replication programs

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Thorz, Aug 19, 2007.

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  1. Thorz

    Thorz Registered Member

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    After reading about the subject on other threads I think this topic deserves its own one, and I have decided to post it following Peter2150 suggestion.

    Imaging programs like ShadowProtect or Acronis True Image are used to backup both system partitions and data partitions containing documents, pics, videos, etc.
    Imaging stores the contents on proprietary container formats.

    Replication / Sync programs are used to backup data, they are not viable for backing up system partitions.
    Replicating uses just copy as a method for storing.

    The objective of this thread is to discuss the pros and cons of both backup methods when used on data partitions.

    The following is some info compiled by me about both methods:

    IMAGING
    PROS:
    • Compression: Possibility to compress the images for saving storage space.
    • Incremental: Can be used to quick imaging the changes.
    • Possibility of recovery of previous versions of files when using incremental
    • When using automatic schedules gives protection against virus or user error as replication will just automatically copy the infection or error (deleted folders/files) to the backup disk.
    • Easy storage as the backup contains fewer files to worry about.
    • Easy scheduling and automation as you are managing all your backup jobs from the same program you use for backing up your system partition.
    CONS:
    • As all the data is stored inside a container, corruption of a part of the image file could render the rest of your backup useless.
    • For access to your files you have to mount or extract the image file meaning more time to access your data in case of a disaster.
    • You have to install or have access to the application in any other way (cd media, usb, etc) for having access to your files.
    • They are more expensive than good replicators that can be found for free (i.e. Karen's Replicator).

    SYNC/REPLICATORS
    PROS:
    • You will always have the files on your restore partition/disk ready for use, without needing to restore or mount anything.
    • Corruption is a minor issue for that it will not affect the hole backup but just some files if it happens.
    • The good replicators are cheaper than the good imagers, or free
    • They are as fast than image programs (see bellow Karen's Replicator vs ShadowProtect)
    CONS:
    • If using scheduling/automation they can replicate a virus or user error (for example file/folder deletion) and render your backup useless.
    • You don't have access to previous version of files on your backup as with image incrementals.
    • You will have a lot of files to care about as your backup is an exact copy of your originals.

    Here are some tests posted kindly by ErikAlbert in another thread comparing ShadowProtect with Karen's Replicator:

    There are several other users on this board that have decided to use replicators over imagers for backing up their data. Most of them use imaging for backing up their system partitions.

    What do you think about this topic?
    Do you use your imaging program to back up your data files too or do you entrust this task to other methods, and why?

    I personally will buy ShadowProtect 3.0 when it comes out this week for backing up my system partition, but have not decided yet if I will use it too for making incremental backups of my 400GB data partition or if I will use a program like Karen's Replicator for this task.
     
  2. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    :thumb:

    Acadia
     
  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I do both. All the data I really care about is part of my C partition anyway. So when I image it is part of the image.

    Secondly my two machines are setup identically, so I use a sync program to sync to an external drive, and from that drive to the 2nd machine.

    So the external drive and 2nd machine become backup's to my data.

    The stuff I have like photo's and downloaded programs I just keep on external and 2nd internal drives, and just duplicate when I feel like. Non critical.

    Pete
     
  4. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I also compared SP with KR, doing a full backup of my Data Partition.

    SP = 21 minuts = 31.6 GB (normal compression)
    KR = 22 minuts = 33.7 GB (no compression)

    So 1 minut difference isn't much.
    Of course a daily backup isn't a full backup.
    During a daily backup KR will only backup files that have been changed or added or deleted.
     
  5. Thorz

    Thorz Registered Member

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    As well as SP when doing an incremental.

    Thanks for all this info ErikAlbert
     
  6. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    Some minor corrections :)
    1- DriveImage XML stores the image file in a XML-based format
    2- Some file backup programs have the ability to backup to a single file/container, usually a ZIP archive.
    3- Some file backup programs have the ability to store more than one version of a given file.
     
  7. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I can't use incremental backups, because my data partition is updated via two work snapshots.
    Firstly, you can not install SP in two snapshots = piracy.
    Secondly, incremental backups with two different SP's would create a total mess.
     
  8. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    the point is most people who use shadow protect desktop dont use any snapshot programs.
    if you do a incremental backup every example 30mins you wouldnt need the snapshot program.
    its just a shame you need to boot from the winpe cd to do a restore.
    since most backup program can reboot and do the restore of an OS drive in a prebooting environment.
    lodore
     
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Not necessarily. During the busiest period of the business use on one of my desktops, I don't really have the time to update snapshots. The automatic incrementals of SP can be taken as often as every 15 minutes, and it is effortless and not even noticed. Then if the system hangs, and won't reboot(has happened) you can restore to a close previous point. Quite valuable if it happens.

    Pete
     
  10. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hi Peter,
    do you backup with SP to a seprate partition or a a seprate drive?
    im gonna problaly backup to a second internal drive with my new pc at least daily.
    lodore
     
  11. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Everything to a separate drive. All my drives only have one partition.

    Pete
     
  12. Alphalutra1

    Alphalutra1 Registered Member

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    Whenever I backup my systems, I like to take a dump :p This has been one of the most reliable ways of backing up for me, it is incremental, and the files inside the snapshots can be accessed and restore(d) selectively as well. The nice things about these tools is that they are available for most filesystems, including ext2,ext3 (those are the main filesystems used in linux), xfs, ffs, ufs, and ufs2. See this part of the FreeBSD handbook to see why it is simply the best tool period to use on *nix.

    There is a dump and restore utility from ntfs/fat, but I haven't tried it yet and development seems to have stopped, but it looks pretty mature and stable from what I have read in the user manual.

    But for backing up windows in a snapshot, I have always resorted to ntfsclone (see my post here). Depending on what option you select you can mount it and read the files from it.

    Another tool I use is rdiff-backup which is a replication program. It is awesome for backing up my usb drive so I always have an exact copy at home. Another great feature is that it keeps increments so if I change a file and have already backed it up, it stores an old copy automatically which is great. Another cool thing is it also works on windows :D

    Cheers,

    Alphalutra1
     
  13. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    Interesting. You say that with KR the resulting files (with no compression) are 33.7GB. The fact that SP is only able to compress these down to 31.6GB is a strong indication that the files on your data partition are ALREADY highly compressed. In such a case you may achieve higher performance if you do not compress the data. Then again, compression is a funny thing because while you think that the added CPU load may slown down the overall process, it's most often the case that compression speeds up the overall imaging process as it results in less writes to the image file, and as the disk is (by far) the slowest device, it's generally very beneficial to use compression vs no compression. However, in this case, where the source data is nearly all compressed to begin with, you may realize increased performance with ShadowProtect if you image without compression.
     
  14. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I'm not an expert, but I do alot of video-editing lately and the 33gb is mainly caused by video-files, which I collect on my data partition, until I have enough to burn them on DVD.
    Most are documentaries of 47 minuts, not movies and I created AVI-files of the recorded videos, so that the volume of the AVI-file is MUCH smaller than the original video. Normally I can burn only 2 video-files on one DVD, now I can burn 11 video-files (AVI) on one DVD. So I think that this is the reason.

    P.S.:the test in this case was not because of the small volume difference, but because of the small time difference between SP and KR. I was quite surprised by KR. After all SP is the fastest image backup software at this moment.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
  15. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    Beware of the dangers if you get your sync app to set up the way it makes realtime continuous scans for differences .In this way your backup is always equal to the sourse,if you mess something on data you work on and like to replace it with an earlier backup copy,then you'r out of luck !!!
     
  16. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I don't understand about viruses as a CON.
    If my data partition is infected and I do an image backup with SP, also the viruses are included in the backup. If I restore that image, my data partition will be infected again. The same will happen with KR. Am I missing something ?
     
  17. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    The titel of this thread is utterly useless and disturbs everyone.Its like comparing a dog with a horse.Better compare KR with their own kind such as Syncback,AJCBackup,Debian and the like !!
     
  18. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    What kind of performance do you get with ShadowProtect backing up that data volume (the one full of .AVI files) if you turn compression off?
     
  19. Thorz

    Thorz Registered Member

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    ?? Have you got this info directly from StorageCraft? I am well aware of your problem activating SP on 2 different FD-ISR snapshots, but I cannot see why doing it would be piracy. It is the same machine after all!

    You're right. This is the same situation that I was mentioning in the FP about user error being replicated, but I was using an automated schedule scenario and not real time, like when you create an unattended scheduled task to replicate your data partition every night at 2:00. If your data has been infected or messed up and you don't find this on time before the replication runs, the scheduled task ends up transferring all this mess to your backup.

    Not if you use incrementals with SP. You can restore your last incremental before the virii / user error has stricken and your data will be rescued.

    This thread is not for comparing replicators, it is for comparing the 2 different backup methods (imaging vs replicating/synching) when the source are DATA partitions. I am sorry that you see this as useless, and I cannot see how it can "disturb" anyone.
    Both backup methods are applicable to the subject and each one has its pros and cons. No one is better than the other one, it all depends on what do you need and what do you like to achieve.

    I am trying to gather the most info as possible before deciding on which method I will use with my data disk. It is important to note that I am planning to run the backup always using a daily automated scheduled task, not manually, and if I decide for imaging, I will use incrementals.
     
  20. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    Well, maybe for those of you who are smarter or more pc knowledgeable than I, this is true. However Wilders fortunately also caters to us dummies of the world, we need this kind of information the most, and I, for one, have found this thread most informative ... keep it coming, I'm soaking it up like a dry sponge.

    Acadia
     
  21. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    Sorry for disturbing some, and i for one also see some benefit with compare these app. The consencus is that they compare in speed,so ou can use either or both for same job.But bottom line is that i am more curious how they compare and can hold their own with their own kind,this tests will extracts their real potentials more than just a speed comparinas.
     
  22. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Well I explained it all in detail in another thread. Nobody seems to understand the problem.
    It's indeed the same machine, but not according StorageCraft.
    SC does NOT verify your machine, based on HARDWARE COMPONENTS, that is exactly the problem.
    SC creates its OWN Machine ID, not based on hardware components, when you install ShadowProtect and SC stores that Machine ID in their database and not only that, SC counts your activations.
    The next time when you install SP in another snapshot for example, then SP creates another Machine ID, which won't match with the previous Machine ID of course and that is considered WRONGLY as piracy.
    Then you have to send an email, explain your case and beg for a new re-activation.
    Even when you re-install SP with the same Machine ID and you do this too many times, the counter will stop you and again a begging email.

    I won't install ShadowProtect under Windows anymore, because there is no guarantee it will work and I'm not going to beg for a re-activation each time, that's not my style and it hurts my feelings to do this and I'm very sure that other users will find this very annoying, embarrassing and even consider this as an insult. After all they paid $70 for it and it doesn't work.

    In the future, I will use the Recovery CD only to backup/restore my system partition and that's it.
    Karen's Replicator will backup/restore my data partition and is now my most important backup software. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
  23. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    It's not that what Erik is doing is piracy it's the activation is there because of piracy, to answer the question asked.


    But enough of this. Back on topic

    Pete
     
  24. CatFan432

    CatFan432 Registered Member

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    I used KR, and loved the program. Then the need arose for me to keep an accurate history of ongoing changes to some documents. I switched to ViceVersa Pro, (http://www.tgrmn.com/) which allows for archiving of files. Screenshot is of archive option screen.

    Regards, CatFan
     

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  25. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    How do you know you have a virus ? These viruses don't shout "Hey, I'm here in this incremental backup."
    Maybe your incomplete AV/AS/AT/AK/AR-scanners didn't find it ?
     
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