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Thread: Help finding a network disc imaging solution

  1. #1
    This has been a real hassle.

    Im trying to find a low-cost disk imaging program that can run on a windows server that will take snapshots of client machine (most running XP) and a few servers. Here are some requirements:

    Must be able to run on windows server
    PXE (or an easy way to restore image to a bare-metal system)
    Wake-on-LAN
    Incremental Updates
    Online storage (this isnt a necessity since there are alternatives to getting this done)
    Centralized dashboard (with GUI)
    Remote installation and configuring

    Acronis Advanced Server seems to be what I am looking for but to implement it would cost $15,000 US (8 servers, 50+ workstations). I could justify a few thousand dollars but 15k just seems way too much.
    Need a cheap/easy way of modding your xbox? Check this out.


  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    lightshow's Avatar Asleep at the wheel
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    My poor friend, any Windows based application to do drive imaging (Norton Ghost, Acronis, etc.) are all going to cost an arm and a leg.
    http://disk-imaging-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ -> then the enterpise solution will kill you as well. But, these are the ones that will install an agent on your windows machines and use Volume Shadow Copy to do a live disk image and prob have a centralized server it will ftp to.

    On the other hand, if you learn some Linux skills (and you can prob just get by with the GUI for one or two, but you need commandline and scripting knowledge to do it distributed and in an automated fashion), you can check out all the FREE imaging software that is out there:
    http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd (search disk clone). This is just a combination live bootable CD with a bunch of free Linux based software.

    Onto which you can set up network drop sites to drop off the image after doing it (or make the image be created on a network share). Chances are you will need to do an offline image since I don't think many / if any linux software will support Volume Shadow Copy, but then again I havn't googled it.


    I say, be smart admin and save you company some money and learn the *nix options of everything. Stop relying on the M$ business model where they and all their friends (norton, acronis, etc.) suck up all your money.
    I miss the days of random nut '03
    Click for more activation options, then activate by telephone. Run the keygen.
    if I call them, aren't they going to get me? (you know, down there)

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    Expeto's Avatar current user title
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    he is right, be a smart admin and learn *nix.

    I think clonezilla is the best tool for job of this task, its does not offers everything you need by default, but you can get it do all things you want by putting some effort expect the GUI dashboard. But will have your data and gnuplot is very helpful. You can hire somebody to do the initial setup for way less than $15k.

    The trick of making clonezilla to play nice with M$, is a bootloader file that you can edit from network and some smart scripting
    ...

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    darkstate01's Avatar Poster
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    If you are going the nix route, use a program called DD or DCFLDD these will both either do image copies or bit for bit,even a network copy.
    But these are all command line like so.
    dcfldd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb
    All's that command is doing is copying (if=) sata disk a (sda) to sata disk b,If there's any errors it will stop on the way, to overcome that you would use another switch like noerror, but there's a bunch of over switches that can be used.
    And yes these programs are free and built into ubuntu for example.
    Last edited by darkstate01; 12-20-2010 at 05:49 AM.
    PAIN is just WEAKNESS leaving the body

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Expeto's Avatar current user title
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    dd on such a large network?! bad bad idea! he needs something file system aware
    ...

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    darkstate01's Avatar Poster
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    I use it just fine to image my win 7, works great.
    PAIN is just WEAKNESS leaving the body

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Expeto's Avatar current user title
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    yes, dd gets the job done, but on a large network it will generate too much unnecessary traffic.
    ...

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    darkstate01's Avatar Poster
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    Any operating program that's going to make an image is going to generate too much traffic on a network, But DD falls on its ass as the first requirement was it has to run on winblows.
    I guess you could run a script or if you are proficient in command line via winblows and you are of course running win 2008 you could use the built in wbadmin, that will image the os just fine.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wbadmin
    PAIN is just WEAKNESS leaving the body

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Expeto's Avatar current user title
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    Yes, any problem will generate too much traffic on a network, but filesystem unaware backup will create 10-20 times more load. almost %70 of your traffic will be used for backing up empty sectors( aka "nothing"). Solving this problem will require some cli magic and smart scripting, but OP asks for something easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by darkstate01 View Post
    But DD falls on its ass as the first requirement was it has to run on winblows.
    I oftentimes find myself inside darkness and stupidity of a windows, and my trusted flashdrive betrays me by not booting. In that moments of despair and pain, I turn to the only piece of sanity I could find in that hellhole !
    ...

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    darkstate01's Avatar Poster
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    Wow, now that's a list. But I think singaboiy as given up.
    PAIN is just WEAKNESS leaving the body

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