Macrium Reflect

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Stigg, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    Well... I sure can guess one big one. Below is the v7 announcement, verbatim, from Macrium. And at initial release, MIG wasn't even a forethought. Notice the highlighted-in-RED area of the announcement, and also notice that in 78-days it will be THREE YEARS since that product announcement was released.

    That would be one of my guesses... :)



    Macrium REFLECT v7 Announcement (30th January 2017)
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    [​IMG]Macrium Software

    Macrium Reflect version 7 will be released on 26th February 2017.

    A New Macrium Backup Engine.
    Macrium Reflect Changed Block Tracker radically reduces the amount of time it takes to perform incremental and differential images by continuous monitoring of the changes NTFS any formatted volumes. This is especially relevant when a file system contains very large files, such as virtual hard disk (VHD) files, where speed improvements are significant and can reduce the Incremental imaging time from hours to minutes or even seconds. Intra-daily backup scheduling will be available shortly after the first release to take advantage of this new technology.

    Incremental and differential up to 60 times faster: imaging time reduced from hours to minutes - or
    even to seconds!
    Intra-daily backup scheduling available shortly after the first release

    Instant virtual booting of backup images.
    Utilising Macrium viBoot, you will now be able to boot images straight from the Reflect restore pane.

    Macrium viBoot enables you to instantly create, start and manage Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines using one or more Macrium Reflect image files. Boot into the images you have made using Macrium Reflect in seconds, for validation purposes, or to retrieve data from old applications stored on a bootable image. At an enterprise level, you could recover an entire network environment in minutes.

    Backup validation

    [​IMG]Retrieve data from old applications stored on a bootable image

    [​IMG]DR replacement for failed machines

    Upgrades
    v6 Home Customers
    All Macrium Reflect v6 Home Edition licenses purchased between 26th November 2016 and the release of v7 will be eligible for a free upgrade to v7. All v6 Home Edition licenses purchased prior to this date will be eligible to a 50% upgrade discount.

    v6 Business Customers
    Any business edition of Macrium Reflect v6 purchased in the 12 months before the release of v7, or that have a current support subscription, will be eligible for a free upgrade to v7. All business edition licenses without a current support subscription will be eligible to a 50% upgrade discount.

    v5 Customers
    All Macrium Reflect v5 licenses upgraded to version 6 between 26th November 2016 and the release of v7 will be eligible for a free upgrade to v7.
    After v7 is released there will be no upgrade path from v5 to v7!
     
  2. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    This is a very "Good Deal"
     
  3. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    @EASTER - to be fair, this type of speed increase is only realized by Systems that are backing up very large files that have been "lightly tweaked" (ie, very small changes). Good examples would be large databases and virtual Systems. Servers, most likely, would realize the largest gain depending on their user/application mix. But those increase numbers are possibly real for those types of files.
     
  4. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Regarding the enigmatic intra-daily scheduling feature, Macrium has said something about getting off of Windows Task Scheduler in favor of their own scheduling engine. I can't remember at the moment whether they said something like "looking at" or "working on", but perhaps they decided that intra-daily scheduling couldn't be implemented properly until they replaced WTS with a new engine. I'm aware WTS has the "Repeat task every [15 minutes, for example]" option, and I believe some here use that with Reflect by creating scheduled tasks manually, but I don't know if there are any practical challenges to having Reflect formally leverage that option. If it really were that simple, I would think Macrium would have already added support for managing that setting from the Reflect interface and considered intra-daily backups implemented, but since they haven't, I wonder if there's a good reason.

    As for the new scheduling engine, I can definitely see why implementing THAT might take some time. Obviously if Macrium rolled out a new scheduling engine that didn't work properly, the user backlash would be significant. And although scheduling is easy to think about, indications are that it might be more difficult to implement than one might think, probably because of various concepts that humans have introduced into timekeeping that make it so irregular, such as months with different numbers of days, time zones, DST, leap years, leap seconds, etc. For example, I remember when I used Backup Exec long ago, I had a recurring calendar reminder to restart its scheduling service after every transition to or from DST, because backups would otherwise stop running after that transition. And WTS has its own possible abnormal behaviors related to DST, which TechNet forums suggest have existed for years without a fix.

    All that said, I do agree it's odd (and unfortunate) that Macrium has been completely silent on the status of the intra-daily backups feature.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  5. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    @EASTER I do hourly incrementals on a drive that has 190gb. Average incremental time is 40 seconds. Hard to beat
     
  6. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    Agree, I even backed up some sensitive files using Macrium so that they can benefit from MIG protection...
     
  7. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    I do daily incrementals on 45 GB with an average of 50 seconds, I don't think any other program can be faster, I wonder whether ShadowProtect could beat that.
     
  8. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    It was fast, but Shadowprotect installed causes a conflict with Macrium. Based on the way Storagecraft is going, I would almost call Shadowprotect 5.27 abandon ware
     
  9. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    Indeed.

    Per incrementals would stand to reason Macrium, (or another image solution product) to be expected to run flash backups in short duration.

    190 Gb is a wholesome pack of data notwithstanding corresponding available space, however it would be of some interest to also learn of a FULL backup ETA. Exacts are not necessary. If understood correctly, Macrium rolls the series of incrementals into a combined set/image.

    With the newer (I understand that you also, like myself still rely on v6) performance improvements of v7, it would might be of some use to compare that result from 2 versions.
     
  10. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Easter

    Full macrium backups take about 22 minutes on this system. A lot of imaging software like AOMEI and Drive Snapshot take the same time as a full. Acronis is faster on Incrementals as is IFW.

    I haven't done anything with v7 Macrium as it doesn't offer me anything more.
     
  11. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    True, but some techniques can allow certain products to back up the same data more quickly than others. As Froggie mentioned above, with CBT if you have very large files that have only had small changes, the fact that CBT already knows which specific blocks in that changed file need to be backed up from having monitored disk activity before the job even starts is useful, because that saves the time of having to scan the entire file to find those changes during the actual backup job. Not all applications work that way.

    Reflect can consolidate multiple Incrementals into a single Incremental or roll multiple Incrementals into a Full in order to create a Synthetic Full. But those techniques aren't used in all cases where Incrementals are used. They're used if Incrementals need to be purged according to your retention policy, because with Incrementals you can't simply delete older Incrementals since that would break the chain. So instead these "consolidation" operations allow older Incrementals to be purged in a way that maintains set integrity while still recovering disk space on the destination. The way it can recover space is because the consolidated file doesn't contain all of the original Incrementals. It only contains the data from the older backups that's necessary to maintain set integrity, i.e. keep the most RECENT backup usable, after those older backups are purged. So for example, if you consolidate Incrementals #1-5, you'll only be left with Incremental #5 afterward. That Incremental will still be usable despite the disappearance of the older Incrementals, but you would not be able to use that consolidated Incremental to restore back to the state of Incrementals #1-4 anymore. Similarly, if you consolidate Incrementals #1-5 into the parent Full, you will end up with only a Full backup whose content reflects the state of the source data at the time Incremental #5 was created, even though you didn't actually perform a Full backup at that time -- hence the name "Synthetic Full".

    The consolidation process itself is very nicely thought out. Macrium designed it so that even if something goes wrong during the consolidation operation, e.g. you disconnect the external hard drive that contains the backups that were being consolidated mid-operation, the backups will still be usable and the consolidation operation can be reattempted later instead of leaving you with corrupt backups. I've observed this personally on multiple occasions. The way this works is that when a backup is being consolidated, no data blocks relevant to the current state of the backup are overwritten during the consolidation operation. Instead, the necessary new data blocks are APPENDED in that file, so if that operation fails partway through, all of the data blocks of the current state are still there and the new data blocks are simply ignored. Only AFTER the consolidation operation completes successfully will the new data blocks be "recognized" as the new state of that backup file. At that point, any data blocks from the former state that are no longer needed will be marked as scratch space and will be eligible to be overwritten on a future consolidation operation, and this method repeats. If the new data that needs to be consolidated exceeds the size of the scratch space already within the file, then the backup file grows. Scratch data blocks are never actively purged, i.e. the backup file will not shrink even if the amount of actual backup data it's holding shrinks, nor does Reflect ever perform defragmentation within the file, which means that the consolidation performance into a given file can degrade over time. Macrium has said that compacting and defragmenting those files would be technically feasible, but that they would significantly increase consolidation time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  12. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    Absolutely brilliant. Thanks for some in depth details to this particular function
     
  13. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Pete, what size is the backup? Are you using HDs or SSDs?
     
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Brian

    Drive c: is 176gb. C: drive is a HD going to an internal HD.

    Pete
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Pete, thanks. What size is the Macrium image?
     
  16. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Brian

    Full is 99gb Incrementals which I take every hour between 9 and 4:30 range from 75mb to 1.6 gb

    Pete
     
  17. faircot

    faircot Registered Member

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    Odd issue. I've just noticed that my licenced version of Reflect seems to have reverted to a free version. I upgraded to v7 when it was launched and I haven't noticed this message until today. My system has been stable with no changes for a year now and I haven't seen any errors so I don't know if this is OK or not?
     

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  18. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    I've had that happen before. Not sure why. Reactivating with the same code seemed to resolve the issue.
     
  19. Bellzemos

    Bellzemos Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I have a couple of Reflect related questions, it'd be probably best to ask those on the official Macrium forums, but I'm using the Free version so I'll just ask here, I think you guys might just know the answers.

    1. When creating a rescue media (USB) with Macrium Reflect, why exactly is it a good idea to create it on the exact same computer that it's going to be used on for backuping and restoring of system images (of that particular computer)?

    2. I'm usually using medium compression level when creating disk images. How is Macrium Reflect able to let me immediately browse the files off of a compressed image, mounted as a virtual drive? Does it decompress it first, temporarily? Where to?

    3. What exactly does a disk image verification do, after the creation of a new disk image? How does it verify the backup file exactly?

    Thank you.
     
  20. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    1. Since REFLECT includes "local" hardware drivers when creating the Recovery Media, the hardware on a different System mnay be different and as a result, may not have the proper driver to use the source/target devices. If using only internally connected disks, and you have no special NvME SSD-type volumes, all should be well even with different Systems. But if you're using external, maybe USB3 disks, the USB3 interface may use different drivers with different Systems.

    2. That work is done on the fly (decompressions, etc) and the results are presented to you as a clean virtual drive.

    3. Image (not disk) verification is done using recorded block checksum information calculated during the imaging process. When the image is verified, block checksums are recreated from the imaging DATA and compared against the ones created during the imaging process... they better be the same.
     
  21. faircot

    faircot Registered Member

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    I'd already tried reactivating with no success. I had to do it four times just now before the licence stuck! All OK now, many thanks.
     
  22. aldist

    aldist Registered Member

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    If it’s difficult to activate, you can use the Cleaner by hawk007 before activation, it will clear certain registry keys and your activation will be easy.
     
  23. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    Some Windows 10 feature updates lately have been causing this. Looks like you got it sorted, but if necessary you could always try uninstalling it and choosing to remove the license info (which is preserved by default) before resorting to third-party cleaner tools.
     
  24. jphughan

    jphughan Registered Member

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    1. Well first, just as a licensing policy note, you can only use Rescue Media generated by a paid version from a system where you're actually using a license for that version. But in terms of functionality, creating Rescue Media from the exact system you'll be using it with often is NOT necessary if you're just working with regular desktops and laptops (as opposed to high-end workstations and servers) and you're also using either WinPE 10 or WinRE built from a system running a recent release of Windows 10. The reason is that in that case, the WinPE/WinRE environment is pretty likely to already have native support for the hardware in your PC. The exception might be network drivers if you need that in Rescue based on where you store your backups. But the best way to verify that is to test your Rescue Media on the PC(s) you would use it with. If it sees all of the disks you'd ever want to back up or restore to, and also sees wherever you're storing your backups, then you're good to go. That can be convenient because home users with multiple PCs all licensed for the same version of Reflect in that case would not have to maintain multiple separate Rescue Media builds for each PC. If on the other hand you find that Rescue Media generated on one PC does NOT work on another PC, then it's probably a missing driver issue. In that case if you can figure out the driver(s) that are necessary, technically you could copy them to the appropriate subfolder of C:\Boot\Macrium on any PC and Rescue Media generated by that PC will include those drivers, even if they don't apply to that system. So there's still potential for being able to generate a single Rescue Media build that works with all PCs that way.

    2. The compression question actually came up in the Macrium forums recently. Someone asked why Reflect's compression ratio was so low, based on the fact that they could put their images into WinRAR and shrink them a lot more. The answer from Macrium was that the type of compression they use has limited compression ratio specifically because it's designed to allow on-the-fly access, as needed when browsing an image, WITHOUT having to decompress the entire image first. In many scenarios the location storing the image might not have enough temp space to do that, even if the user would be willing to wait for a potentially huge backup file to decompress.

    3. This has also been discussed in great detail on the Macrium forums. First, it's important to understand that a verification only confirms the "internal" integrity of the backup file itself, i.e. that every data block is readable and that nothing has changed since the file was written. Verification even when performed immediately after the backup does NOT check the data in the backup file against the original source data. In terms of how exactly the verification routine works, when Reflect generates a backup file, it calculates and records a checksum of the data blocks being written into the backup file. If you later choose to verify the backup file, Reflect reads each data block into memory, calculates a checksum of that data, and then compares that to the checksum that was calculated and written into the backup file when it was first created. If the new checksum doesn't match the original checksum, then that would indicate that the data in the backup file has changed since it was originally written. This post of mine in the Macrium forum contains links to two other threads about verification that you might find useful.
     
  25. imdb

    imdb Registered Member

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    don't know if you're a macrium rep, but does that mean that it won't run or you'd rather not to?
     
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