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  • Take a look at Windows Deployment Toolkit 2010 (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=3BD8561F-77AC-4400-A0C1-FE871C461A89&displaylang=enOpens a new window).  We currently use this to deploy to our desktops and laptops, but it can be configured to deploy to servers as well.  This may or may not work depending on which server OS you are wanting to use and what you mean by "imaging."

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  • You might want to check into FOGOpens a new window

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  • Hmmm....I should have looked at LiveWire before replying the first time.  If you are looking for continuous data backup for disaster recovery MDT won't work.  It's a great free solution for deploying systems, though.  You might be able to capture a WIM image if you are using Server 2008 and store that on the MDT server to deploy to a server in the event of a failure, but it would be an image of the system at the time you captured it, not continuous protection.

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  • Most of my servers are Windows 2003 Standard. My intent is to be able to take a periodic image (lets say every month for example) of the server so that I can restore that image to the server should I need. 

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  • I second the fog vote!!!

    Pepper graySpice (1) flagReport
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  • You may want to check out  PINGOpens a new window.  I've used it differently, but it may do what you're wanting.

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  • FOG would probably work for you or PING. Acronis for servers is not free but an excellent software.

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  • I quickly looked at FOG and PING. Maybe I'm wrong, but they appear to be mainly geared towards imaging desktop systems, and not Windows servers.  If I am incorrect can you please point me in the right direction?

    Thank you for all your help.

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  • A partition image is a partition image. you are going to run into problems with any imaging software if you are trying to restore the image to unlike hardware unless you purchase one of the big boys like acronis or symantec. I wouldn't suggest trying to move a production server or DC using an image. But if you want data backup in case of failure and you couple it with a thorough backup plan then i think either will get you where you want to be. Digital Black Smith wrote a great howto on setting up fog server.  http://community.spiceworks.com/how_to/show/373

     

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  • I was in a similar situation.  I bought Marcrium Reflect for servers.  It is only $40/server instead of a few hunderd for Symantec.  I use it on server 2003.  I recently with through a DR simulation and was able to restore our servers on regular desktop hardware.  I give it a thumbs up.  They have a free version for desktops that works the same if you want to test it out.

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  • You rang?

    Fog is great for many reasons,  the least of which is the tools.  But running the image backup is great,  however the bad part is, I have yet to have it do a live backup.  A person could schedule the image to take place during the weekly reboot for patches.  The image process is very fast so downtime would be minimal.

    However,  something to consider may be P2V from vmware.  You can image a system live and it will throw it to a VMDK.  The vmdk is mountable...in fact you can throw the image across the lan to a separate subnet and save yourself some headaches.  No downtime necessary. And it is all free. Great thing is, since it is in VMDK format you can throw it on a single USB drive for offsite storage. If you get into a DR scenario, you can launch all the VMs on a single box until you get everything built and back up.

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  •  

    DigitalBlacksmith wrote:

    You rang?


    Wow, that's weird, it's like he knew we were talking about him

    EDIT Sorry forgot the :)

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  • DigitalBlackSmith,

    I've never used any of the vmware products. P2V is free?  How does it handle imaging a server using raid 5 or 10, and then restoring that image?

    Thank you.

     

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  • P2V is free, and it works great.  It creates a Virtual server from your running server, so RAID doesn't really come into play at all.

    I think what he means is that you can restore your backup to a Virtual host (VMWare ESXi or VMWare Server) quickly, which wouldn't necessarily be back to your original hardware config - however, you could run VMWare server on any hardware (ESXi on any server hardware for the most part, check the supported device listing) and then bring your virtualized server into it and power it on quite quickly. 

    Additionally, you can simply mount those images and bring files out of them quickly.

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  •  P2V is free, so is ESX4.0i. I am sure Xen has some similar tools as well.

    We have one production server we handle like this.  It is backed up using P2V and shipped offsite.  The storage media doesnt matter, it is converting it from physical to virtual.

    http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/Opens a new window

    Is is exceptionally powerful.  More than you think you should get from a free tool.  Download esx and install it on a machine, any machine,  then run P2V to see what it does,  you will be pleased.

    https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/index.php?p=free-esxi&lp=1&aq=2&oq=download%20ESX&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=download%20esx%20freeOpens a new window

     warning,  ESX4.0 only runs on x64. if you need to trial with x32 go for esx3.5.

    Pepper graySpice (1) flagReport
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  • DigitalBlacksmith wrote:

     P2V is free, so is ESX4.0i. I am sure Xen has some similar tools as well.

    We have one production server we handle like this.  It is backed up using P2V and shipped offsite.  The storage media doesnt matter, it is converting it from physical to virtual.

    http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/Opens a new window

    Is is exceptionally powerful.  More than you think you should get from a free tool.  Download esx and install it on a machine, any machine,  then run P2V to see what it does,  you will be pleased.

    https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/index.php?p=free-esxi&lp=1&aq=2&oq=download%20ESX&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=download%20esx%20freeOpens a new window

     warning,  ESX4.0 only runs on x64. if you need to trial with x32 go for esx3.5.

    Can you schedule your P2V process or is it all manual?  That might help OP...
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  • Never tried it, but according to a quick search you can create reoccuring p2v tasks.

    The other great thing about p2v is that you can create mirrors of your network for testing upgrades.

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  • Don't mean to jack the OP's thread, but does anyone have suggestions for disk imaging products (similar to ghost) that will image Linux machines? So far, just about everything seems to only support windows. I have been working on getting a FOG server up, but was still looking.

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  • FOG works but clonezilla is fantastic as well.  There are a crazy number of disk cloning utilities for linux :) look up DD and any variant.

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  • I'm with you guys for using FOG, PING, and Clonezilla....I use all three....but I really would suggest the OP look into VM.  ESX is free and he could snapshot his running severs fairly often, store those snaps anywhere and have the ESX sitting in his pocket for DR....basically designate one server that can be popped back up any time....of course we don't know his budget, if he has a "extra" server he could task to this and if he has the time to learn ESX.....

    That's the best part of this job.....every environment has so many variables that there's no "right" answer....Hooray for ambiguity....

    Pepper graySpice (1) flagReport
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  • how about http://clonezilla.org/Opens a new window

     

    I have used it to clone 450gb worth of data from one server into anoter one in under 30 minutes (3 150gb Raid 5 config). I have not used the save image to disk  feature but its avialable.

     

    I have cloned a total of  20 servers all running win2k3 sp2. You might want to play around with it and see if does what you are looking for. The interface might seem like a dos interface but it gets the job done. 

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  • Jimmy5322,

     

    When you say you cloned a total of 20 servers, do you mean you to a snapshot/image of the entire server, or just the data?

     

    Thank you.

    Reg

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  • You can clone the whole thing.  Clonezilla and FOG are extemely powerful,  their main caviat is that they require you to reboot the system.

    Clonezilla is great for imaging a single PC.

    FOG is great for mass imaging and deployment.

    Pepper graySpice (1) flagReport
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  • I've always heard though, that you need a special program to image servers because of the Raid 5 complexities and how data is split up across drives.  How does that work with Clonezilla when you image the server and then restore it?

    Also, can you restore the image to another server, even if it is not the same hardware as the original?

    Pepper graySpice (1) flagReport
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  • Universal restores are something you will have to look into acronis for.

    Data is data, for the most part.  P2V for instance will recreate the volume as a VMDK which can then be moved anywhere and any hardware.  There are some considerations to take into account though when imaging a raid array with clonezilla.  But the best thing you can do is try on your hardware.  Clonezilla will do its best to create a image that you can cast back onto the hardware.  Try googling your Raid Card and Clonezilla to see if anything pops up.

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  •  Reg1145

     

    I cloned server to server. windows and data all together. There is an option to save to image and restore from image i have not use that feature yet.

     

    Also there are other functions such has setting up a master server and clone to multiple computers at once (as long as they support PXE boot)

    As for the Raid 5 remember all of my 20 servers were exactly the same so i didnt have to do anything special since the raid configurations and disk space and hardware were all the same.

     

    You can use clonezilla with sysprep see faq section under Is there a way to make a hardware independent image with CloneZilla?Opens a new window  

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  • Sysprep will still have issues with different hardware setups, but will be much more tolerant of changes.  For the times when it isnt tolerant, a good repair from CD will fix the issues.

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  • Hiya

    Did you manage to get this sorted?

    Could you mark best awnsers / helpful posts?

    Andy

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  • Sorry Andy,

    I just got back from vacation and have not had any time to research the recommendations made.  There are many great suggestions and hope to try them out.

    Do you have a particular product that you like best?

     

    Thank you.

    Reg

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  • I've been starting to look at setting up a Fog Server.  However, I gather that Fog is best suited to image Windows desktop systems, while a product like P2V works best to image Windows servers.  Does this sound correct?

    I've seen in the Fog documentation that you can image Windows 2003 server, but isn't it best suited to take a snapshot image of a windows desktop?

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  • Does the fog server allow you to be able to recover any files from the images by selecting or is strictly recover full image? Thanks!

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  • Arnel, sorry I have not had time to do any testing with FOG yet.  I believe it is strictly set up to recover full images, but I've read that a lot of improvements are being made to FOG. Hopefully, someone else can answer this.

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  • Does anyone ever tried to use comodo backup 3.0 to backup their servers?

    According to Comodo, CB 3 can "Quickly clone disks/partitions by processing only used sectors." even if the system is running.  (Hot imaging).

    I only tried to use it in my windows 7 desktop. It got corrupted after a power surge, then I was able to restore my pc from the backup image I created with comodo.

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  • Root, good question. I have Comodo running on a couple of desktops and laptops, but not on any servers. I don't know if it supports server operating systems.

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  • I installed CB 3 on one of my not so critical server running Windows Server 2003 R2.
    I successfully made a full image back up of my server's system partition without turning it off.

    I will also try it in a Win 2003 server virtual machine. I will try to do backup and full restore.

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  • I am a little confused...CB 3 is what exactly?  Are you referring to Comodo Time Machine?

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  • No Reg1145, CB 3  is Comodo Backup 3.0. Comodo Time Machine is a roll back utility that functions like Deep freeze.

    For more info on CB 3.0, you can refer to this link

    http://www.comodo.com/home/data-storage-encryption/comodo-backup.phpOpens a new window

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  • Have you ever tried to restore one of the images you made with CB 3 to a server?

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  • Acronis True Image Home 2012 free trial version is the only thing I can think up. I suppose paying a few extra dollars won't be so bad if it makes your life a little easier.

    Based on a recent server imaging software comparative review, Acronis is still the top dawg!

    Acronis True Image
    Paragon Drive Backup
    Norton Ghost
    O&O DiskImage
    Image for Windows
    FarStone Total Recovery
    R-Drive Image
    Paragon Partition Manager
    Macrium Reflect
    Active@ Disk Image

    Read it here: http://disk-imaging-software-review.toptenreviews.comOpens a new window

     

     

     


     

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  • I apologize for adding to the mix, but what about bacula?  I see that they have a free version and is supposed to be very robust?  Also, will clonzilla do a raid array with the drivers so that it can restore?  Thanks

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  • Been using FOG for four years, it's great. But, there is a small problem with Windows 8.1, you have to use RAW image format, very slow.

    The other OS's I use PartClone image, very fast, and you can multicast too.

    As for servers, backed them up no problem.

    Linux no problem.

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  • I add my vote to fog. Though it has taken me a lot of work to FOG a UEFI boot system. I realize that this discussion is geared towards server systems, but a one time image with FOG will work.

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