Cold-Imaging Competition

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Aaron Here, Jun 23, 2011.

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  1. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    I conducted a Cold-imaging ‘competition’ today to see how five image-backup programs compared in terms of ease of use (which, admittedly, is highly subjective), time to boot to GUI, time to create an image, time to validate and time to restore. Each program’s default compression-level was used and the resulting image sizes were all within 7% of one another.

    I’m sure that some of you could care less about this test, while some others would like to have seen other backup programs tested (please don’t ask). But for me the tests were informative and surprising. So fwiw to you, here ya go…

    Programs Tested:
    Acronis True Image 2011 (ATI)
    Active@ Disk Image 5.02 (ADI)
    ActiveImage Protector 3.0 (AIP)
    Drive Snapshot 1.40.15721 (DS)
    Image For DOS 2.63b - GUI (IFD)

    Ease Of Use - ranked in order of most user-friendy (highly subjective):
    1. ATI
    2. ADI
    3. IFD
    4. DS
    5. AIP

    Bootup Time - time to get a (functional) CD-GUI:
    1. ATI (0’ 50”)
    2. IFD (0’ 50”)
    3. ADI (1’ 22”)
    4. AIP (1’ 50”)
    5. DS (2’ 00”)

    Time To Create Image:
    1. AIP (06’ 15”)
    2. ATI (08’ 50”)
    3. ADI (10’ 20”)
    4. DS (10’ 30”)
    5. IFD (14’ 05”)

    Time to Validate Image:
    1. ATI (3’ 20”)
    2. DS (3’ 45”)
    3. AIP (4’ 22”)
    4. ADI (4’ 43”)
    5. IFD (5’ 00”) – normal validation (not byte for byte)

    Time to Restore Image:
    1. AIP (5’ 43”)
    2. ATI (5’ 50”)
    3. DS (6’ 00”)
    4. ADI (6’ 10”)
    5. IFD (7’ 35”)

    Total Time to Backup & Restore - ranked fastest to slowest:
    1. ATI (19’ 40”)
    2. AIP (20’ 00”)
    3. ADI (23’ 57”)
    4. DS (24’ 15”)
    5. IFD (28’ 20”)

    If my math holds-up, the fastest overall performer was ATI (AIP was a very close 2nd) and the slowest was IFD. Of the 5 tested programs I thought that ATI easily has the very best user-interface (just my opinion folks!) and based on speed alone ATI gets the ‘gold-medal’ in this competition, so considering that my own backup program, DS, finished 4th, I may just wind up switching from DS to ATI!

    Aaron
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Aaron,

    Great post. I'm interested in this information.

    Out of interest, with IFD did you use BIOS or BIOS (Direct). My former computer performed three times faster when BIOS (Direct) was used. My current computer performs much the same with either setting.
     
  3. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Hi Brian,

    I used IFD's default setting(s), which I think is BIOS. Glad you found this testing interesting. For me, ATI's performance was a surprise and a pleasant experience.

    Aaron

    PS. I'll make another IFD run using BIOS Direct tonight and post back later-on or tomorrow.
     
  4. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Nice testing indeed. :thumb:

    I am not asking to test it but I wonder how did you manage to ignore Macrium reflect.
     
  5. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Hi aigle,

    I didn't actually ignore Macrium, but with only so much available time I just went with the programs I had on-hand and Macrium wasn't among them (maybe in the next go-around).

    Aaron
     
  6. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Actually i have found macrium very solid and fast.
     
  7. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    nice test :thumb:

    not a surprise for me at all, i have said numerous times that the acronis engine is very fast, its the fastest for me too

    EDIT- and the acronis boot disk is only second to active@ boot disk in quality and thoroughness
     
  8. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Thanks treehouse - Prior to this I hadn't used ATI since v9. Of the programs I tested, imho ATI's boot CD is 2nd to none!
     
  9. huntnyc

    huntnyc Registered Member

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    Aaron,
    Great work and thanks much. Have not used ATI since version 10 I think but great results. Always generally liked their user interface better than most. Was this the Linux based boot CD for ATI and thanks.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011
  10. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Times depend on the compression level and other options used, so it is possible to obtain different results for the same program.
     
  11. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Thanks Gary. Yes it's the ATI 2011 Linux Recovery CD - which boots very fast and is (imho) very user-friendly.

    Aaron
     
  12. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Robin, while what you say is certainly true, I used each program's default compression-level (as well as other default settings). Imho the resulting image-sizes didn't differ enough to account for the timing differences. It's my belief that the differences in timing resulted primarily from 'imaging-engine' differences.

    Aaron
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2011
  13. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Okay Brian, I repeated the IFD test except this time I selected BIOS (Direct) - following your queue. After all was said and done I'm sorry to have to tell you that the difference in Total Time resulting from selecting BIOS (Direct) vs. the default BIOS method is only 22 seconds (which I consider statistically insignifcant). So IFD still trails the pack 'and by a few lengths'.

    Aaron
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Aaron,

    That's OK. Thanks for doing the extra test.
     
  15. Scott W

    Scott W Registered Member

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    Hey Aaron,

    I'm an imaging noobie, looking for the holy grail for backing up. :p

    1. Judging from your recent poll and this thread am I correct to presume you think cold imaging is better than hot imaging?

    2. Do you think your results would be relatively the same when hot imaging with the same programs?

    3. Do you think your results would be influenced by the version of Windows one is running?

    Scott
     
  16. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Speed is nice, yes, but I'll always take reliability over speed any day. If the slowest to image is the most reliable, then it gets top consideration in my books ;) Otherwise, nice testing and thank you for the results :)
     
  17. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    Hi Scott,

    I'll do my best to answer your questions, but let me start by saying there is no holy grail (but you probably realize that).

    1. What's better for me isn't necessarily better for you - as you might summize by looking at my Cold vs. Hot Imaging poll. I happen to believe that cold imaging is more reliable than hot imaging, but others would disagree.

    2. No, I see no reason to assume that. For example, while I really like ATI's boot disk for cold imaging, I do know that the installed ATI program is rather bloated and invasive.

    3. I don't think that matters. With cold-imaging you are operating under whichever OS (DOS, Linux, WinPE) is on the boot disk. I think it's far more likely that PC hardware differences could influence the results.

    Aaron
     
  18. Aaron Here

    Aaron Here Registered Member

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    I couldn't agree more with your feelings about reliability trumping speed. All I can say about that in regard to my tests is that each program backed-up and restored my C-drive perfectly.

    Thanks for your complimentary remarks,
    Aaron
     
  19. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Excellent thread as usual.

    Best regards,

    KOR!
     
  20. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    You could test Paragon, but I have a feeling their boot disc will be the slowest booting up.
     
  21. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I tried most all the listed & more. Eventually always a failure, hang or corruption.

    I use EASEUS Todo Backup Free. So easy & reliable. Ime better than all.
     
  22. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    lol yeah i was the same until i tried Active@ boot disk, give it a whirl.

    my current setup for the past few months has been to alternate the Acronis boot disk and Active@ boot disk.

    both have been flawless :thumb:
     
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I agree, Active@ Boot Disk is the best WinPE that I've used. I have it installed on the HD and I use it to automatically restore my images. No user intervention is needed after running a .cmd file in Windows.
     
  24. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I just did some cold imaging with the Active@ Boot Disk CD on my test computer to demonstrate the effect of compression using IFW.

    Nil Compression
    Time 0:39
    Image size in MB 1056

    Normal Compression
    Time 1:23
    Image size in MB 553

    Enhanced Normal Compression
    Time 2:53
    Image size in MB 516

    Drive Snapshot had a time of 1:21 with an image size if 533 MB so I'd rate it as the faster one on the computer, not just by the 2 seconds but it did compress more.
     
  25. Boyfriend

    Boyfriend Registered Member

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    Thanks Aaron Here for great test comparison. Acronis True Image 2011 might be faster, but I believe more in Active@ Disk Image based on my past two years’ experience and like the fact that it is WinPE based with plenty of tools too.
     
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