Backup strategy with DVD

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by phil.brady, Nov 20, 2006.

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  1. phil.brady

    phil.brady Registered Member

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    I have just installed True Image 9.0 Home (updated to 3677). I'm running on XP home SP2 with a single SATA 120Gb disk.

    I want to store my backups well away from the computer on DVD – in a safe, a friend's house, anywhere but on a spinning disk attached to the computer holding the primary copy. I worked in IT for too long to think that a real solution.

    A full TI backup .tib file of my system partition will currently fit on one DVD but that situation will not last long. Similarly, my documents with a growing photo collection will soon exceed the 4.7Gb limit too.

    I am currently backing up to .tib files on a spare partition on my disk then copying the full and differential archives to DVD+RW with Nero. Those disks, together with a fresh recovery CD (tested - seems to work!) are then stored well away from my system.

    I gather that this version of Acronis should write the DVD disks reliably now, but there seem to be suggestions that there are severe difficulties of restoring with frequent disk swapping if you have full plus differential. Would someone put that in perspective please? Are we talking of just a few swaps or hundreds?

    What is my best strategy for archiving to DVD?

    Sorry if this has been 'done to death' already but I've not found it.

    Thanks
    Phil B
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    IMO, the number of swaps depends on the size of the archive or in other words, how many DVDs are used to contain it and the fragmentation of the HD when the archive was created.

    TI may burn directly to DVD but it burns at full speed. Many people feel there is better reliability when the burn speed is reduced to half of the drives maximum rating or the disks maximum rating. You can control this with Nero etc but not TI.

    If you only have one HD you do need something else. If you use TI for making images in order to restore your system after testing software then having the image on the internal is fast and convenient. If you only want to have a backup for a disaster then it doesn't matter as much since disasters are or should be rare. In my case, I backup to an internal drive and sometimes copy the image to a networked PC and sometimes burn that image to DVD as well. However, my opinion of DVD-only backups is not high. IMO, a USB drive is a better alternative. While we are on my opinion, I consider DVD RWs to be less reliable than a write-once DVD.

    My limited experience with DVDs is that a restore is very slow and I would sooner make an image of a bare XP system so I could use it to copy the archive files to the spare HD partition and then restore from there rather than do it from the DVD directly.
     
  3. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    I don't like to the idea of burning direct to DVD. if possible I would repartition your drive to enadle you to make images which do fit on a DVD. I would then make the images to a spare partition or external drive and then burn to DVD.
    To restore from DVD it is quicker to copy the image on the DVD to a partition or spare drive and then restore then to restore direct from a DVD.
     
  4. phil.brady

    phil.brady Registered Member

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    Thank you both for your useful input. What you are saying is to backup to a spare partition then copy to DVD rather than write direct to DVD. Fine.

    As for the restore, "to restore from DVD it is quicker to copy the image on the DVD to a partition or spare drive and then restore then to restore direct from a DVD." Is there a tool in the acronis restore CD to do that copying or would I have to restore a minimal XP system first? It wasn't obvious how to do a simple copy when I tried the CD, but it should be there in the underlying Unix at least.

    Phil
     
  5. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    sorry if I wasn't clear.

    Assuming that your PC is working you can simply copy the DVD on your image to
    a partition on your pc and then restore from there.

    if your pc just won't boot then you use the acronis emergency restore disk and follow instructions - indentifying the DVD as the image to be restored and then
    wait while it restores. I may be wrong but I don't know of any way to copy the image from the DVD to the pc if the pc won't boot.

    I alawys like to keep a system image on a partition to allow me to quickly restore a good system - after I have messed up the system I'm working on -- which happens daily or after testing new drivers, software or even new hardware. Just too slow restoring direct from DVD.
     
  6. phil.brady

    phil.brady Registered Member

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    Sure - if I can run XP then that's fine, but that's not a scenario I'm trying to cover.

    I think I am coming to the conclusion that I should mothball the restore CD, a DVD with a single .tib file holding a workable XP which is restorable (before it outgrows a single DVD) as well as the latest DVDs holding full, multivolume DVD backups and the subsequent differential backups?

    Perhaps an external disk is the answer.

    It really needs a file copy utility in the restore disk which seems to be missing. Alternatively, a sensible 'disk stripping' strategy. How about it Acronis?

    Sorry if my paranoia is showing, perhaps I was in IT too long, had too many near misses, too many audits and did too many risk assessments!

    Thanks again.

    Phil B
     
  7. storage_man

    storage_man Registered Member

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    Phil

    I too was in IT for many years and I specialized in Disaster Recovery. FWIW, here is what I do. I have set up my systems with the ability to plug in via a tray another hard disk. I know they make them for SCSI and IDE, but not sure about SATA. You need to check into whether they make a removable disk tray for SATA.

    Once per month, I clone my internal Harddisk (PS: it is also in a tray). I then take that cloned disk over to my son's house for offsite disaster recovery. I also make (at the same time when I clone) a image backup of my system to a externally attached USB 2.0 drive. I also do incremental backups once a week or as needed thru the month. For this situation, the worse I would be out is one weeks worth of activity. I use this backup to restore files when necessary and as another option in a DR recovery.

    What this gives me is 1- immediate recovery ie - if the Harddisk crashes, Go to my sons house, get the cloned harddrive, remove my busted drive and replace it with the cloned (1 month old drive), boot and I'm now running. Or I can restore from the lastest image that was placed on the USB 2.0 external drive - This requires buying a new drive, installing it and restoring with the TI SAE from the external USB harddrive. I have 2 options no matter where I'm at. Now I also do DVD backups, but only twice per year. I have not had a lot of luck with DVD backups. The media is marginal at best even if you purchase the best - its great for movies, but as a backup media its marginal.

    This twice a year backup usally takes a week to accomplish (Because of media issues - Remember that they mostly burn ok but sometimes they fail the TI verification process). If I feel that the backups will work - I take them to my bank safety deposit box. Call me a nut, but after 30 years in the IT business, I've seen it all.

    Now you must say that my data must be really important to go thru all of this. Well to me it is, I'm retired with no pension. My income comes from the markets in the form of DIVIDENDS, Interest and capital gains. I need to track and report it the IRS. I have always been a photo guy - I have 50 years of snapshots that have all be digitized and reside on my system along with 30 years worth of videos. So I want to make sure this history doesn't disappear.

    The cloning process makes for immediate recovery along with the image backups give me yet another means to recover.

    I hope this info helps - T.I. is a excellent product and I have used it for many years. It has never failed me in a recovery situation (as long as I performed the backup in the correct manor).
     
  8. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Hi Storage man

    Trays and fittings to take removable SATA drives are obtainable.

    Xpilot
     
  9. boblite

    boblite Registered Member

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    Am impressed at the thoroughness of storage_man's backup strategy.

    storage_man said "I also do incremental backups once a week or as needed thru the month." To which media does he do this ? To the USB drive ? Or to an Acronis Security Zone located on the internal hard drive ?
     
  10. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    Phil I have just realised you might want to look at making a BART PE disk.

    Although I personally have no need for a BART disk I made one a few days ago just as a test.

    I have now booted using that BART PE Acronis 10 disk and then been able to copy from a second dvd to one of my drives.

    I can't see why Acronis could not incoprorate a copy feature but until/unless the do the BART PE disk is workable.
     
  11. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Mine is a variation of the same tune.
    Three hard drives in trays.
    Full images to internal slave drive in secure zone by schedule.
    When image of drive complete swap with a replacement and restore.

    So at any time I have two duplicate drives, one slightly older, available for immediate use (3 minutes total time). Plus a range of proven images to give a historical span to the backups if needed.
    No need for any validations at any stage.

    Keeps me happy [​IMG]


    Xpilot
     
  12. storage_man

    storage_man Registered Member

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    Boblite

    A quick response - The incrementals are targeted to the external 2.0 USB drive.
     
  13. storage_man

    storage_man Registered Member

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    Boblite

    A quick response - The incrementals are targeted to the external 2.0 USB drive.

    I also use a Bart/PE environment, but I have no advantage in using it. The TI SAE works with all of my drives with no problems.

    Storage_man

    Sorry for the double post !!!!!!
     
  14. phil.brady

    phil.brady Registered Member

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    Wow! lots of helpful good sense there. Thanks all.

    Just a quick query about BART PE - if I boot from it, will it then be memory resident so I can load and read CDs and DVDs in the same drive that I booted from?

    thanks again
    Phil
     
  15. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    I have just tried and as soon as I removed the CD everything stopped. Looks like you have to keep the cd in to work.
     
  16. phil.brady

    phil.brady Registered Member

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    The group may be interested in my conclusions following the above very useful dialogue. I've gone and bought myself a SATA drive and an external USB box for it. This will allow fast backups, which together with (say) monthly copies to DVD should provide a sensible level of protection. It will also allow an immediate swap if my primary disk fails.

    As an experiment, as well as a training exercise, I tried disconnecting my 'live' drive and connected the new, bare drive to my PC motherboard to try out a restore armed with only a TI 9.0 recovery CD, a DVD+RW of a recent full backup of my system partition C:, the DVD+RW holding two differentials, notes on how the disk was configured and the list of filenames and media holding the backups.

    The system partition was defragged to within an inch of its life before the full backup but the sequence was:
    load CD - choose full setup and restore.
    load DVD with 'volume 3'
    ditto volume 1
    ditto volume 3.
    Not lots of media swapping as I'd expected.

    Time taken: 35 mins.
    Volume size: full backup 4.5Gb
    Differential: 0.93 Gb

    For comparison, formatting the rest of the disk (130Gb) took about an hour, and copying the data on my user data partition probably another 20 mins.

    I'm not sure that copying these DVDs to hard disk would have been any faster, but then it was a well defragged image.
    Thanks again for the views folks.

    Phil
     
  17. MaverickOP

    MaverickOP Registered Member

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    Phil thanks for the post. It's definitely helpful. I do have a question for you however:

    What happened to volume 2?
     
  18. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    He had volume 2 and 3 on the second DVD (full on 1, and 2 differentials on the second). TI calls a tib file a volume so you may have several volumes on a single DVD.
     
  19. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    In this case, probably not worth the bother but I typically would take about 5 min or so to restore the above from a HD.
     
  20. phil.brady

    phil.brady Registered Member

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    What happened to volume 2? Well it was on the same DVD as volume 3 but since they were differentials I assumed it did not need to see it.

    The 5 minute comparison for hard disk to hard disk is interesting -thanks.

    regards

    Phil
     
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