Disk image software Server 2003

By kevinlcobb ·
I have read a lot of threads here, but nothing seems to deal with what we are trying to do. We like the idea of a disk image so we can just swap a disk if there is a failure and are ready to run.

We are a small company and use SBS2003 mainly for Exchange and SharePoint - for internal company use only. We don't need to capture an "online" image, but would be happy to capture an "off-line" image (we have no problem being without the server running for a couple of hours over the weekend).

However, the $700 price tag on most server imaging softwares is a little steeper than what we can budget right now - and with more capabilities than what we need. I shudder when I hear guys talk about $50k backup services - we aren't quite that large yet.

Does anyone know of an inexpensive or free software that will image as I have described?



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Do what I do, and it doesn't require any software at all. Read on.

by ManiacMan In reply to Disk image software Serve ...

I don't know what kind of server hardware you're using, but regardless whether you're running HP, IBM, Dell, etc, I will assume the server will have a RAID controller. What I've done is to create a RAID 1+0 mirror using 2 drives and create 2 logical drives, a 20GB drive for the OS and the rest as either a second logical drive left unpartitioned or say a drive for applications. With this RAID 1+0 configuration, I create a plain vanilla image of the OS with all of the drivers and utils preinstalled and simply pull one of the 2 drives out of the drive cage when I'm done and label it with the server model type, slot #, and OS. I can then use this hard drive with an image to boot another server and pop in another hard drive after the POST process to allow the RAID controller to start the imaging process. Note that the OS is still in a workgroup and not joined to any domain, and the server name is some generic name which I later change when I finally remove the original image drive from the server and am now ready to configure the server with its personalized settings. The only real drawback to this is that you'll need to set aside a drive from your inventory for every type of server and OS that you'll ever deploy. Needless to say, it's still cheaper in the long run and not as complex as blasting images across the network.

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possible - but practical?

by kevinlcobb In reply to Do what I do, and it does ...


Thanks for your reply.

That is a strong possiblity, however I need to think about if it will work with our goals.

What we ultimatly intend to do (right or wrong) is to have a drive that we can image to about once a week or so (we are not heavy server users - just our own internal Exchange and SharePoint). This would be a drive that we can keep off-site in case of break-in and theft, fire, water damage, or any other host of problems.

Our drive bays are non-hotswapable, so we are looking for an option to backup or hopefully image to a USB or external SATA drive or similar.

The expensive software seems to handle this request fine, but $700 is a little steep for us at this time (we are a small but growing company). Some of the cheaper software - and even some shareware - will image drives when "off-line", but nothing claims to work on Server2003. We don't care if we have to shut down to image the drive, we just can't find anything that claims to be able to do it.



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Why not open source

by Matthew IT In reply to possible - but practical?

I currently use clonezilla running on one of my tech desktops in the shop. It's free and open source. FOG is another possibly better free and open source solution. Whenever I need to I can pull or push an image from any pc/server/laptop as long as it PXE boots or has a CDROM drive. Depending on the size of the image it can take 10 to 30 min or more for large file servers. The other thing you may want to look at is virtualizing those servers. I have found it much easier to simply start up a vdi than imaging on to new hardware. I am at the point of suggesting even one server shops should be virtualized ,under the right circumstances, just for the sake of being able to fire your server back up on a completely different box with similar architecture.

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