Simple network backup: which TI version??

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Roger Thomas, Oct 21, 2007.

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  1. Roger Thomas

    Roger Thomas Registered Member

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    Greetings,
    i operate a couple of small networks in my business and want to transition from mere data backup/restore to imaging system and quickly restore in case of catastrophic failure especially (Hard drive cash for example)
    Typically i run configurations involving a couple of network machines. Win 2000 pro and Win XP pro. I'll just number my questions/topic for clarity.

    1. One network run MSSql on one workstation, and is connected to a point of sale/scanning workstation. That couple of machines I do want to be able to get back online very quickly in case of hardware failure in either one of the workstations.
    I see that Acronis has a Home TI 11 and a Workstation 9.1 versions. Seems that I would need Workstation version, and if I need to restore to new bare metal, I would also need the Universal Restore option. Right?
    2. Acronis Home Ti 11 as I understand it does NOT restore to BRAND NEW bare metal (ie for example a new computer or at least a new hard drive, probably of a different size). So, Workstation version only, right?
    3. I do not want to purchase the Enterprize suite (very expensive for just two machines!). So... One copy of Workstation version for each workstation?
    4. NAS external storage system to receive respective image backups from the networked computers OK? For example if I format it with separate partitions for the different networked workstations? If that s possible, Restoring OK in such a configuration?

    I hope this is not too much asking: I have read a lot of the documentation about Acronis products, and I have been of their Chat line also: the Chat operator advises to get Enterprize Server + Workstation 9.1. As I said above, I am trying to stay out of investing too much $$ in this project!

    Any help appreciated: i have to move on this project promptly!

    Roger T
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You only need Universial Restore if you're restoring to different computer hardware. If you're restoring to the original computer then it's not necessary.

    TI 9, 10 & 11 will all do "bare metal" restores. The problem is not with the restore, but with Windows. If the new computer is different then Windows won't boot up properly. Just replacing a hard drive will not cause this problem. Replacing a motherboard will.

    Workstation will allow you to manage the backups and to perform remote backups, etc. It's probably the way you want to go. You would need to purchase one copy for each computer you're going to use it on (2 in this case).

    This shouldn't be a problem, but you should test it out. I have backed up and restored from network shares many times without problems. I have not tested a NAS, but others have. You could setup separate partitions or not as you want.

    I would recommend that you download the trial version of Workstation and see if it will do what you want. You could also trial TI Home 11, but it's still very buggy (TI 10 would be better to trial if you could get it). TI Home versions will backup and restore over a network too, so if you just want that feature the Home version may be all you need.
     
  3. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    One big difference between the Enterprise versions and Workstation is the backing up of the SQL database.

    If using Workstation, you'll need to add a script to stop SQL transactions whilst the imaging is being done - or make sure that the SQL database is backed up before the TI imaging starts.

    The Server versions can do this bit automatically.

    If however the Server itself is not being imaged, then no problems.


    Colin
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Colin,

    If the drive were imaged by booting from the TI CD or, if backing up from Windows (with the SQL database not running), wouldn't the Home version work?

    Roger doesn't want to spend a lot of money, so maybe, if the computer's don't have to be "up" 24 hours a day, they could be backed up on the "off" time and not disrupt anything.
     
  5. Roger Thomas

    Roger Thomas Registered Member

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    MudCrab,
    Thanks a lot for the clear and prompt reply: I believe that I getting finally a handle on this "Bare metal business". All in all, I notice that much emphasis is placed by Acronis on backup capabilities & strategies for their respective products, and seemingly less upon restore requirements and circumstances. Foe me, backing up means that I will want/need to restore for whatever reason at some point! And systems eventually crash - especially since I am running them 24/7/365.

    So I picked up some more stuff from Acronis website:

    Acronis.com info re: Workstation 9.1 at:

    http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/products/ATICW/bare-metal-restore.html

    lists a couple of definition:

    "Acronis® True Image Bare Metal Restore
    In disaster recovery, a bare metal restore is the process of reformatting a computer from scratch after a catastrophic failure. Typically the process involves reinstalling the operating system and software applications and then, if possible, restoring data and settings.)


    and

    "Dissimilar System Restore for Windows (Universal Restore) — Integrated feature enables recovery to target Windows systems with completely different hardware configurations"

    So, that's it: there are several concepts of "bare metal" restoring, extending from just HD replacement, to new system from bottom up. The last option I would certainly consider in case of massive failure of wither one of my workstations.

    So, as you advised: i'll download & try WkStation 9.1 first!

    Thanks a lot for the good info (the Chat guy go me thoroughly confused at first, trying to sell me the Enterprise Server, etc...)

    - Roger T
     
  6. Roger Thomas

    Roger Thomas Registered Member

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    MudCrab.. Wow, I replied to your initial complete comments before seeing this. You are right, I do want reliability in restore capability (i.e. as little down time as possible) while not wanting to spend $$$ for the whole Server package.
    NOTE: I have the computers up all the time, but only in commercial/active use during the day of course. So... Plenty of off time for backups!
    Colin's SQL mention did come up during my extensive chat with Acronis rep. though. I am frankly NOT totally up to snuff re: image backup/restore and SQL stuff though!
    - rt
     
  7. Roger Thomas

    Roger Thomas Registered Member

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    Mmm, Colin: the Acronis rep I conversed with on Acronis' Chat line did mention something like that. I.e cannot use Wkstation to backup/image server.

    "you'll need to add a script to stop SQL transactions whilst the imaging is being done - or make sure that the SQL database is backed up before the TI imaging starts."


    Stop SQL transactions: would that be similar to NOT having my point of sale workstations query the SQL server while imaging is being done, i.e. during OFF hours of no commercial activity (nighttime)o_O What will backing up the SQL database do in connection to imaging the server w/o problem?

    Sorry for those neophyte questions: just trying to achieve a reliable backup procedure useful in case of restore... Peace of mind in other words!!

    - rt
     
  8. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    To image the server you don't have to backup or stop SQL server, the main problem is that if a SQL transaction happens during the imaging - the transaction may be lost in respect of it being in your image.

    If you do your imaging 'out of hours', then I don't see this being a problem.

    So WK9.1 probably would do what you want. Make sure that the rescue CD is ablt to see your backup drive and all your computer hardware.

    As a side issue, I'd consider making a copy of the SQL database even if not imaging - SQL server comes with this capability by default.


    Colin
     
  9. Roger Thomas

    Roger Thomas Registered Member

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    If you do your imaging 'out of hours', then I don't see this being a problem.

    That's what we'd do. I do suspect that otherwise, TI has the ability to image/backup in realtime, i.e. anytime changes occur in the system. We'll just avoid that and do nightly backup.

    WK9.1 probably would do what you want. Make sure that the rescue CD is ablt to see your backup drive and all your computer hardware.

    I presume that all this is explained in the User Manual. I Pulled it down and will study it even before firing up my trial copy of TI WkStation!

    a side issue, I'd consider making a copy of the SQL database even if not imaging - SQL server comes with this capability by default.

    That's what we have been doing as part of mere data backing up. No other problem then with restoring such a database along with the entire rest of the system in case of total HD failure. Anything to be said about Universal Restore option - which of course I would purchase - especially regarding the sql backup/restore topic ?
    I think I'll sleep a little better once I get this done. I am quite adamant about backingup in general, and in this case especially about being able to restore everything extremely soon in case of major HD or computer failure!

    In any case, thank you very much for the goood information & advice!

    - Roger T
     
  10. Roger Thomas

    Roger Thomas Registered Member

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    Funny thing, Colin, is that inasmuch as Acronis Chat personnel recommended that I get Acronis Server for Windows 9.1 (700 $) for my purpose - that is before i got on this forum! - I see that that expensive Acronis Server setup STILL requires precautions such as the one you mentioned re: MSSQL.

    Check out:
    http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/products/ATISWin/faq/backup-sql-server/

    So, I am left with a simple question about the very concept of SERVER. In my case, my main office computer runs plain ole Windows 2000 pro SP4 (NO Server edition here) and the 2 point of sale Workstations run Windows 2000 Pro SP4 also. The Main office computer does run MSSQL and thus provides the Point of Sale machines with necessary info re: customer files, merchandise price files, etc...
    So I have been grappling with this issue for a while: do I run a genuine Server on my Main office computer - or at least Server as apparently implied in the Acronis info regarding their more expensive TI products for "Servers"?
    Seems to me that there would be a difference between a network machine running MSSQL on a plain version of Windows, and a similar setup running on a Windows xxx Server OS. Which config is genuinely to be referred to as "Server" setup?

    Goes beyond the Acronis backup question I have been entertaining here, but that "Server" business has been bothering me, especially since programs, tools and utilities for "Servers" tend to be... expensive!

    I'll appreciate again: you know your stuff!

    - rt
     
  11. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    With the Enterprise version of TI, you would be able (after installing imageagent) to log on at any workstation and set up and see all network drives that your system has.

    With Workstation, whilst you still get Backup,Group Server and ImageAgent and can log onto other workstations, you can only set up tasks and schedules on the station you are logged into - though you can edit them from within group server.

    With the Server version, you can do everything form everywhere - download the manual for both systems and see what you think is best.

    Colin
     
  12. Roger Thomas

    Roger Thomas Registered Member

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    Thanks, Colin, off i go then trying all these options out. i am sure that as usual I'll come up with something adequate for my purposes, especially following getting some good advice here! Seems though that Server edition would come in handy ESPECIALLY in the case of complex, multistation and far flung networks. I have 3 machines here within a few yards from one another!
    - rt
     
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