What are Group Server and Backup Server for?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Jason404, Jul 16, 2008.

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  1. Jason404

    Jason404 Registered Member

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    What are the Group Server and Backup Server components actually for? I cannot get much sense out of the user manual.

    What benefits do they provide, individually, that using the Management Console does not? You seem to still be able to schedule backups on remote machines, so I cannot see what these two components provide.
     
  2. uviuar

    uviuar Registered Member

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    I agree that these two addons seem largely useless and the documentation does not do a good job at explaining their purpose. However from what I gather the Backup server seems to be more like a utility to take out some of the grunt work of managing all of your backup files. For one, with a backup server running, you can deploy agents to new workstations and simply point them to the backup server and they will automatically self-configure all the backup parameters on their own. The backup server can tell the agents immediately where to store files, how many to store, whether to use incremental or not, etc etc etc. So you dont have to set these fields for each agent anymore. It also seems to double check the archives and make sure they are properly adhering to your standards, and correct any issues if theyre not. Basically it looks like having a 3rd man just ensuring everything is working properly. Kind of funky, but could be useful when you want to make significant changes to your backup strategy all at once.

    This is all from what I have learned while playing with it, and I may not be entirely correct. I dont have a clue what the group server is for yet. Both of these services have a lot of extraneous features that I dont know the purpose of, with the admin credentials, user credentials, etc etc etc.

    Realistically I think the best solution these vendors need to do here is just create a management console with a database of all installed agents, and just poll those agents regularly to ensure proper backup adherence. Symantec's Livestate Recovery had this but it was entirely Java written and was very slow and performed terribly. It would not always communicate with the agents properly and was an overall mess to work with. They actually dropped development of it for this reason. I think they reintroduced it with Backup Exec but I have yet to try it.
     
  3. zedd

    zedd Registered Member

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    BackupServer is meant to run on a server where multiple clients store backups. The most important feature of the BackupServer is, that a client only makes small incremental backups and the BackupServer periodically (weekly in my case) merges them. You can also set and combine some limits, for example the number of backups per machine, the size of backups, the number of backups running in parallel and so on. If all that worked as it should, it would be very easy to manage backup for a lot of clients. Unfortunately there are some nasty bugs which require difficult workarounds.
    The group server allows you to push a task to a group of computers. You don't have to configure every machine individually. This also has some bugs and does not really work well.
    In general I think GroupServer and BackupServer only make sense if you have more than 5 or 10 machines with TI and a dedicated server for storing images. To me the BackupServer is much more important then the group server. I hope they will soon fix some of the major bugs.
     
  4. Jason404

    Jason404 Registered Member

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    Thanks, uviuar and zedd, for your replies.

    So it seems that Group Server is not going to be of any use to me, but Backup Server could.

    Zedd, the Backup Server 'merges' the incremental backups? Does that mean that they use even less disk space? Is it not possible to roll back to a certain time in that case? Do these major bugs make backup Server completely unusable?

    I tried installing both components, to learn more about them, but I cannot see any icons for them appear in the Start Menu. The standalone True Image program looks like how I remember it, and the Management Console looks the same too. How do you access these components once they are installed?? o_O
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  5. zedd

    zedd Registered Member

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    Using BackupServer you do not need to care about full or incremental backups. It starts with one full backup and then it only does incremental backups. If one of the configured limits (per machine) is reached it starts merging the oldest incremental in the full image. Than you can not go back to the original full image, but you can get the new full and all newer incremental images. Acronis calls this merge process 'consolidation'. The same does TI Home with its backup locations. The main difference is, that the BackupServer can do the task without the client.
    BackupServer and GroupServer are running as services. You can only access them with the TrueImage management console, not with the main TI program.

    Major bugs in the BackupServer:
    1. One consolidation task does only work on at most five images. And you can only create one such task, so with a daily consolidation and machines backing up once a week you can have at most 35 machines on one BackupServer. I have 50, so i needed a workaround.

    2. If a backup is interrupted there are some times garbage files left on the BackupServer, which can fill up disk space very quickly. All files on the BackupServer have names made of GUIDs (random numbers), so you have no chance to clean up manually.

    3. BackupServer has a function to export an image as a regular tib-File. This never worked for me.

    4. A crash while a consolidation was running left corrupted images.
     
  6. Jason404

    Jason404 Registered Member

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    Thanks a lot for explaining this, zedd.

    Now it makes a lot more sense to me, and hopefully, the manual will be less difficult to understand, so finding out more about it will be much easier.

    I really do not like the sound of those bugs though.. Cheers!
     
  7. uviuar

    uviuar Registered Member

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    Based upon what you have described Zedd it seems as though Group Server may be of some interest to me. I have 60 workstations that require monthly backup. I really do not wish to deploy an agent to each and every single one of these machines one by one, and then configure their backup parameters/scheduling one by one. I want a central console where i can highlight all the workstations in my domain and click "deploy". Once the agents are installed, I want to be able to highlight them in groups and set their backup schedules (since I cant have 60 workstations writing 20 gigabytes of data to the storage server at once).

    Would group server accomplish this?
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello uviuar,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Remote Workstation Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for delayed response.

    Yes, Acronis Group Server will allow setting backup schedules on many computers at the same time. As for deploying Acronis True Image Agents to many computers at once, Acronis True Image Management Console has this function already included. Please see chapter 4 "Using Acronis True Image Management Console" of Acronis True Image Echo Workstation User's Guide for detailed instructions on both.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
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