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Should I be backing up images to disk?

Level 3

I ended up relying on Veritas 10 to completely restore our system partition due to a hanging Windows 2003 SP1 update. Despite having 100% successful (according to the logs) and verified backups, the machine failed to reboot after a restore (we followed the restore procedure I found online step by step).

After a 16 hour failure then trial and error session we called in IBM. The IBM chap before his first attempt at restoring from tape (after first doing a virtual restore using VMware on his laptop and lots of going back and forth from his ERD Commander command prompt disk) told us that he'd seen this thousands of times before and that we were going about it the wrong way. After he subsequently failed to restore the tape he reiterated his earlier statements.

Basically he said that we should give up on the idea of trying to back up the system partition using tape and any kind of backup software as it just doesn't work (he was equally as blunt about Arcserve). What we should be doing instead is leaving the tape in to back-up the data partition, but for the system partition we should have a procedure whereby any system update that requires the machine to be restarted (e.g. windows update or software installation) we should down the server afterwards and do a disk image backup (i.e. Ghost it etc.) to a USB disk. Then once it's on USB we can make multiple copies using DVD burners etc. Then in the even of failure we can restore the system partition (which currently stands at 3 Gig) in a matter of minutes rather than a 16 hour failed session followed by a complete reinstall of the OS and subsequent 75 PC re-configs.

My question is, is this the case? Is my trust in tape backup ill-founded as he suggests and I should be doing what he called a Bare-Metal backup and restore of the system partition.



Level 3
Anyone want to even try an answer? :)

Level 6
The IBM guy is %100 right. Bare Metal Restore from tape is terrible.

Some products you should check out is Symnatec LiveStare Recovery and Acronis. These products make an image without having to shut down the server- awesome protection against unexpected application upgrade problems, or windows update problems.
I use this technology before applying Backup Exec hot fixes I'm not sure about- It has saved many hours of troubles. Also use it for Citrix servers on schedulewd basis- Solid recovery everytime in 30 minutes.
Both products are very easy to use, and have central administration and scheduling of image capability.

one thing to consider- an image can only be restored back to identical hardware; can't restore the broken IBM server to a spare Dell. But otherwise, a solid investment.