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  • Imaging network hard drives

    I have spent the past couple of months perfecting Acronis True Image Workstation getting the Management Console to remotely install True Image Agents, doing remote backups of the hard drive, storing the images on the NAS server across the network, and doing a full restore with the Acronis Recovery CD pulling the image across the network. It works flawlessly.

    I announced my success to my client today and suggested we move forward with more licenses. They e-mailed me back that they got a good price for Symantec Ghost 10 Solution Suite and asked me to make arrangements to purchase and install this on 26 workstations. Then they are going to make arrangements for an employee to take the portable DVD burner and go around to each workstation and make regular images of all the hard drives to DVD. No discussion, this just came down in an e-mail.

    I am not keen on this at all and would like some feedback. I have never used Ghost Suite, but that aside, why DVDs when we have plenty of network storage.

    Comments?
    Network Engineers do IT under the desk

  • #2
    Re: Imaging network hard drives

    I've used Ghost 8.0 on a network, and it's pretty easy to use. Set up the ghost server sw to accept an image, and name the image.

    Boot off of something on the client computer, run the ghost client sw (properly done it can all fit onto 2 floppies, or in a corner of a USB key), point it towards the server's IP, hit ok.

    Hit ok on the server. It starts making an image, that's it.

    Do they want to make "regular" images, as in on a regular time table, or as in a normal image of the computer?
    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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    • #3
      Re: Imaging network hard drives

      They want to Ghost to DVD
      Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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      • #4
        Re: Imaging network hard drives

        How about Ghosting to a large portable HD? Then you can do whatever with it.

        Just sell the cost / time savings in blank DVD's and if the image spans 4.x GB (someone will have to wait around).

        BTW, Ghost 10 is much better than previous versions.
        Last edited by rvalstar; 13th December 2006, 21:33. Reason: BTW...
        Cheers,

        Rick

        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points sigpic where appropriate **

        © 2006-2099 R Valstar. This post is offered "as is" for discussion purposes only with no express or implied warranty of any kind including, but not limited to, correctness or fitness for use. Nothing herein shall be construed as advice. Attempting any activity based on information in this post is done at your own risk.

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        • #5
          Re: Imaging network hard drives

          Ghost to DVD might be necessary for legal/reg/compliance reasons. Ghosting has become a verb, so the product must be good (it really is). While I do not believe this is the most efficient way to backup and archive (for compliance) this might be all they know, its up to you to find a cheaper way.


          The bruised ego might take a while longer to patch.
          "...if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” - Alan Greenspan

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          • #6
            Re: Imaging network hard drives

            There are 25 workstations involved. I have already found a very efficient system - Acronis True Image, except that the initial cost is more.

            They plan to have an employee go around and image to DVD and then keep the images current with some type of schedule. Acronis can do this automatically. This will be very labor intensive and prone to human error as they do not have a computer savy individual on site.

            Many of the workstations have less than 10GB of data, but there will be worstations that are full.
            Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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            • #7
              Re: Imaging network hard drives

              10GB of data is still 2 x DVDs. Is that 10GB actually all data or is it all the files, O/S and all? That is at least 20 - 30 minutes per machine (maybe more) x 25 machines. So, 12 hours x $$ per hour, + the user can't use their PC for that 0.5 hours x $$ per hour x 25 = A shit load of money.

              If Acronis is like Ghost then you should be able to schedule after hours imaging. Can Acronis use WOL?

              I think you should do up a report for your boss pointing out the time and cost of manual images and what and automated image back to server will cost. Not only creating the image, but include image restore time and cost as well. After all, why is an image made if not to be used when it hits the fan!
              1 1 was a racehorse.
              2 2 was 1 2.
              1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
              2 2 1 1 2

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              • #8
                Re: Imaging network hard drives

                This is my customer so in a technical sense, he's my boss. The 10GB of data is the entire written contents of the hard drive, an image. The idea is if a hard drive fails, they do not lose four hours having to reinstall and configure everything.

                There is a certain amount of finesse involved here. I was given a grueling interview back in June before the company outsourced their IT to my company. I supplied them with 12 business references and they checked then all. The "grueling interview" involved my recommendation on single points of failure on the network and included the cheap hard drives Dell puts in workstations.

                I introduced them to Acronis and explained how it works. I have been casually setting it up in a test scenario involving three computers in their engineering division. One of the hard drives in one of the computers was starting to fail recently and this was my chance to finish my test case. The HDD was not being detected all the time when the computer was started up – press F1 to continue several times until it went.

                I drove down to my customers on Tuesday (2.5 hrs) and arrived at 5:00 p.m. when the engineering staff left. I replaced the hard drive, booted from the Acronis restore CD, and restored the image from our NAS server across the network. This took about 60 minutes.

                On a previous visit, I had installed the True Image Management Console on one of the company’s servers. With that in place, from my remote location 200km away I was able to install True Image agents on three computers, connect to those computers and image the hard drives across the network and store the images on another server. In my opinion, this is pretty damn efficient and worth the extra cost of $80 U.S. vs $50 CDN.
                Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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                • #9
                  Re: Imaging network hard drives

                  Rob, I think you've got an easy sell (although I don't know the personalities you're dealing with). Everybody wants to save money and if you do the cost comparison Biggles suggested I'm sure they'll see that they can save that $50 CND in the first month.
                  Regards,
                  Jeremy

                  Network Consultant/Engineer
                  Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
                  www.gma-cpa.com

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                  • #10
                    Re: Imaging network hard drives

                    Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
                    10GB of data is still 2 x DVDs. Is that 10GB actually all data or is it all the files, O/S and all? That is at least 20 - 30 !
                    I'm going to put together an estimated cost but I need a little info. They apparently have a USB DVD burner I was not aware of. If I give them the benifit of the doubt and lets say it's a single-layer 8x, how long does it take to burn a DVD? My 4x Plextor takes about 45 minutes.

                    A few of their workstations are Win2k Pro and if memory server me, USB support is minimal on that o/s and USB drivers will have to be installed and tested for the DVD burner. Am I correct here?

                    Thanks
                    Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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                    • #11
                      Re: Imaging network hard drives

                      10 GB is 3 x 4.7 Gb DVDs
                      USB 2 is 480 MBit per second/ 60 Mbytes per sec
                      DVD (8x) is c. 10 Mbytes per sec

                      10Gb = 10240Mb = 1024 secs, so c. 17 mins -- call it 20 with DVD changes. Verification of written data would make it c. 30 mins

                      So make it
                      1/2 hour technician
                      1/2 hour user
                      cost of 3 DVDs



                      EDIT -- TOTALLY GOOFED TIMES ETC -- REVISED ABOVE

                      Tom
                      Last edited by Ossian; 14th December 2006, 22:10.
                      Tom Jones
                      MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
                      PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
                      IT Trainer / Consultant
                      Ossian Ltd
                      Scotland

                      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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                      • #12
                        Re: Imaging network hard drives

                        How much can I expect Ghost 10 to compress the data when I am making my comparison?

                        On my test computer in engineering, there was 12GB of data in Windows Explorer. The backup file (image) Acronis created was just over 9GB.

                        The director of engineering told me when the HDD failed on this computer last year, they purchased Ghost, ghosted the machine and it all fit on one DVD. Either they have a dual-layer DVD burner or they ghosted it right after they installed XP, but before they installed any application or let Exchange place a 300,000KB OST file on the drive.
                        Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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                        • #13
                          Re: Imaging network hard drives

                          Originally posted by Ossian View Post
                          10 GB is 3 x 4.7 Gb DVDs
                          USB 2 is 480 KBit per second, regardless of DVD speed, so 60 KBytes per sec or about 18 seconds per Mb, 18000 sec per GB (being charitable and assuming 1000 Mb per Gb)

                          Some of the older computers with Win2k only have USB 1.0. Is that 12 Mb/s? What's your estimate on this, time wise?
                          Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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                          • #14
                            Re: Imaging network hard drives

                            Originally posted by RobW View Post
                            Some of the older computers with Win2k only have USB 1.0. Is that 12 Mb/s? What's your estimate on this, time wise?
                            40 times slower but USB speed (1.5Mbit per sec) is now the limiting factor

                            10 Gb = 10240 Mb = 6826 sec or nearly 2 hours
                            Last edited by Ossian; 14th December 2006, 22:11.
                            Tom Jones
                            MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
                            PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
                            IT Trainer / Consultant
                            Ossian Ltd
                            Scotland

                            ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Imaging network hard drives

                              The company has many Dell Dimension 2400 workstations which are not an expensive computer, but they will have USB 2 ports. Can I expect these ports to be 12 MB/s or 480 MB/s? I thought FireWire was 480.
                              Network Engineers do IT under the desk

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