Restore system partition on dynamic disk?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Frank05, Aug 10, 2005.

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  1. Frank05

    Frank05 Guest

    Hi,

    I'm currently evaluating True Image Server 8 vs. Symantec Livestate Recovery in order to find a suitable imaging tool for our server.

    Unfortunately, the trial version has the most interesting features disabled, so I'd need some advice for a question that I couldn't answer using FAQs and the manual.

    OS is Windows 2000 server. The system partition, C: with 10 GB, resides on a dynamic disk (140 GB) together with 6 data partitions. The dynamic disk itself resides on a Raid 5 array (LSI Logic Megaraid). Supposed, I'd need to restore the system partition only from the rescue media, could I do this without loosing or restoring all other data volumes?

    The information given in the FAQ and the manual are contradictory. According to the FAQ, the only restriction with dynamic disks is that the image must not reside on a dynamic disk when restoring a system partition.

    According to the manual, dynamic disks can be restored only from within Windows. But how can I do this when my Windows is corrupt?!?

    Given the scenario above, what are the steps to restore a system partition that resides on a large dynamic disk?

    Thanks,
    Frank
     
  2. napoleon

    napoleon Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Frank,

    This is right up my alley. I used LiveState Recovery and it's former product, V2i, for years before I migrate to Acronis True Image (trust me...Acronis is the better tool, hands down). Plus I only use Dynamic Disk on my servers.

    Here's the deal...with Dynamic Disk, you can only take online (live) images. If you try to boot from the CD to take an offline image of a server with Dynamic Disk, it will not work since Dynamic Disk are seen at the Windows (OS) level and booting from the CD obviously doesn't get to that point. It has been my experience that images taken online are just as stable as those taken offline.

    As for restoring, you can restore Dynamic Disk offline booting from the CD. When it's restored, it will be reverted to Basic, but you can upgrade again to Dynamic once the restore is complete. When restoring an image from the CD using Dynamic Disk, you have to select each partition at a time to do a full restore (with Basic disk you can tell it to restore the whole hard drive at once), or you can just restore one or a few partitions. For example, if you need to restore C: but not touch D:, you can easily do this by just selecting C: and pointing the image restore to the current C: drive. There is no need to restore images to partitions that don't need them. I hope this is what you meant...let me know. I hope I can answer most of your questions.

    I did a big eval of LiveState vs. Acronis. Email me if you want to see what I came up with to help you. Thanks!
     
  3. Frank05

    Frank05 Guest

    Hi John,

    Thanks so far, seems I'm on the right track.

    There's one point I don't fully understand: If I can't see inside the dynamic disk when booting from CD, how can I restore individual volumes of this dynamic disk? Also, you said the dynamic disk will be reverted to basic. In my current configuration I have 7 volumes/partitions on this dynamic disk, but basic disks only support 4 (at least 4 that are visible the same time). How does this work?

    Regards,
    Frank
     
  4. napoleon

    napoleon Registered Member

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    Frank,

    Glad to help. When you boot from the CD to restore a Dynamic Disk, you will navigate to the image file (*.tib) that contains the partitions you want to recover. The restore wizard will show you what partitions/volumes were in this image and gives you the option to select one or as many as you want. So while it can't see Dynamic Disk creating an offline image, it can "see" the disk during a restore from the CD since it is merely looking at an image file. I hope this makes sense...let me know if it doesn't and I can try to clarify. The best thing is to try it, but I understand the trial version is giving you a hard time. Contact a sales rep (sales@acronis.com or use the talk to a live sales rep feature on the website) and they should be able to send you a link with a version that has full functionality to test. That is how I got started.

    As for your second question about the seven Dynamic volumes and the four partition limitation on Basic Disk, I am not sure. I have never run into that (our standard build is C: and D:, unless they are SAN attached hosts). Maybe Support can help us on this one!
     
  5. Frank05

    Frank05 Guest

    Hi,

    Yes, it seems I really need to try this somehow.

    My first steps with TI Server today were not very promising: I installed it on my server and created two images, one from C and another one from a data drive. Worked fine. A few hours later I wanted to test incremental images. First I tried with the data drive with no problem. Than I tried the system drive. After pressing the last "Proceed" in the wizard, I received an empty status window (the one very you should see the green progress bars). Nothing happened for some time, so I clicked Cancel. I received the confirmation dialog and said yes, please cancel. The status window remained option, so I pressed Hide. Tried this again with same results. Then, when I closed the TI application, TI crashed with an invalid access or so, some generic Windows error message. Not very encouraging when the fourth attempt to create an image causes a crash.

    Frank
     
  6. Frank05

    Frank05 Registered Member

    Joined:
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    Posts:
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    Hi,

    towards the end of my evaluation period I tested how to restore partitions - including the C: system partition - using the bootable CD to a drive configured as dynamic disk. Unfortunately, it worked as I expected... to restore C:, I had to purge the entire dynamic disk. In other words, just to restore the 10 GB C: partition in a production environment I'd have to restore all data volumes on the dynamic disk as well, which is a 140 GB Raid array in my case.

    Seems TI server and dynamic disks don't go together well. I evaluated TI server because of a recent issue with my system partition that required me to restore it several times from a traditional file-based backup. Each restore took more than an hour, so I looked for a solution that does the trick in minutes. However, with TI server it would taken even longer, as I'd had to restore all volumes.

    Do I have any other options than using basic disks instead of dynamic disks?

    Frank
     
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