Is an Image BU as safe as straight file copy?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by jsl, Nov 19, 2006.

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  1. jsl

    jsl Registered Member

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    Using TI-10, I do a nightly backup to a NAS of my documents partition (photos, videos, etc). The NAS provides Raid-5 so I'm pretty safe against drive failures. But I still like to backup to an extra drive now and then that I take off site. Anyway, right now I simply do a file copy to a USB drive to accomplish this. But my NAS has the ability to copy specific files to it's own USB port at the touch of a button. So I was thinking I'd simply plug my USB drive into my NAS from time to time and let it copy. But in this case it would be copying a True Image image file. I like that idea because I can password protect it for taking to family's house for off site backup. BUT... is a backup of my backup this way safe enough? I've heard of people here that for whatever reason sometimes can not restore a bootable system from an image. But for just files, is an image file 99.99 percent as safe as file copy's? Or do you folks think staying with straight file copy's is a better way to backup the backup?

    Thanks for you input!
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    My personal thought is that if you are doing a Files and Folder backup the safest way is to just copy the files individually. As soon as you lump them together in a specially formatted container file (like a tib) there exists the possibility that a small fault in the file can render everything in the file unreadable.

    Now you can argue that if you have a validated container file and make a copy of it and validate the copy then it should be OK and perhaps have even more faith in it than just doing straight copies without validation. This assumes the original container file was good though.

    Anyway, if it were my data files I'd be doing straight copies since one screwed up file will not impact on other files. Having said that, if you have confidence in the TI program then it is probably not a big issue. This is only something you can gain by extensive use or testing. You must have some confidence since it is what you are using.

    You can also look at the straight copy as giving you a diversity of methods. You have the TI method and the straight copy method. One or the other should work.

    Password protection is another issue.
     
  3. jsl

    jsl Registered Member

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    You bring up a good point that doing file copy's rather than simply copying the True Image image file (for backing up the backup) is adding diversity to the backup and this could be a good thing. I would prefer to simply copy the image file rather than do file copies so that I can have a secure (i.e. password protected) backup that I can leave at other's homes so as to be offsite. I also prefer moving the image around and doing image backups because it is so much faster than individule file copies. So I'm hoping to find out exactly how robust TI is to a single point failure in the data structures that make up the image. In otherwords have others ever had images where files could not be extracted? Again, I know folks sometimes have problems getting a bootable restore. But I would hope that file extraction from an image would be pretty safe. In this context... is a file/folder type TI backup safer than a disk/partition type TI backup? More thoughts on how others backup up the backup?
     
  4. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    It is safe to say that there has been every possible type of failure either with disk images or a Files and Folders (FF) backup. There have been cases where images could not be mounted and files recovered by that mechanism.

    Some points:
    TI has been making images since the first version. FF is a new feature introduced in version 9 and it has had some teething problems. I don't use FF but I notice there are fewer problems reported but nontheless there are still some problems.

    Mounting an image and extracting files has worked in cases where the image could not be restored.

    Creating and restoring an image relies on the disk hardware, disk file structure, RAM and CPU functioning perfectly. Marginal components in these areas will cause TI to fail. Having said that, if TI works it will work well and continue to work well unless something breaks.

    A weakness with the TI implementation for recovering bootable disks is the use of Linux in the recovery environment. Not that Linux is bad, the problem is having the driver available for new hardware or a driver that works efficiently included in the rescue CD.

    I use a mixed method of backups.
    For OS images I create them on a second internal HD.
    I copy the occasional image to another PC via my gigabit network. This is my second level of backup.
    I burn the occasional image to DVD using Nero and verify it using Nero's "verify after burning" feature. This is my third level of backup. The ones copied to the networkPC or DVD are usually ones I have made that reflect a "significant change" in my mind. I do not use TI's direct DVD writing feature.

    All of my important data files are kept on the one machine on my network. For data files I do incrementals to a CD each night with another program with verification enabled. I don't use TI but I probably will someday. I copy these data files to another internal HD and burn these files to DVD with Nero every now and then.
     
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