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Best way to do a disk image Backup for 12 Computer Network

Posted on 2012-03-25
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I have a small peer to peer network.  Computers are various models of Dell Optiplexes running either Windows XP Pro. or Windows 7 Pro.  Primary function at each computer is to access a cloud based application that runs the business.

I'm looking for a good way to image the existing computers so that I can restore them quickly in the event of a hard disk failure.   I'm not as concerned about losing individual data files but would like the option to do daily updates on select computers if needed.  This is not a must however.

I was thinking about using Acronis to perform image backups to an external hard drive twice a year.  This would be a manual process going from one computer to another moving the Acronis disk and the external hard drive.   I might be able to skip backing up each computer individually since I have four copies of one model computer and 6 copies of another.

As I've looked at this, I have considered Windows Home Server but figured that it may not be that economical and may be more time consuming by the time that I get done converting an old computer to a storage server and buying the extra hard drives.

I've also looked at Seagate's Black Armor NAS 110 with a 2 TB disk.  Price on that comes in at about $200 which isn't bad.   It only has a license for 5 computers but I can purchase additional licenses if I want image copies of everything.

I understand that QNAP might also be an option.

So at a minimum I want to image the comptuers I have, getting at least one image for each model that I have.     If I go with an onsite backup it would be nice to be able to access it remotely.    Also, if I go with onsite it would be nice to have automatic backups of individual computers, anywhere from one to all 12 depending on how easy it is.  I don't mind purchasing multiple NASs if it makes sense.

I don't have a need right now for any shared files.  

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Question by:kdubendorf
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by:prerakg
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Looking for some hardware or software solution?

Did you checked R-drive? You can do script creations for frequent or unattended actions.
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by:shahzoor
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i think Acronis is still good for that purpose
You need a NAS and Acronis or Paragon Backup and recovery installed on remote machines
http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/

Do check Acronis Backup and Recovery Advanced Workstations
http://www.acronis.com/backup-recovery/advanced-workstation/

 Paragon is free where as Acronis will cost you
You can define initial full backup and the incremental backups thus it would consume less space on the NAS. Scheduled tasks will run automatically and you wont have to manage the backup tasks

Acronis Snap Deploy 4 (http://www.acronis.eu/enterprise/products/snapdeploy) is good for the purpose that it pulls the image and deploys it to the target machines without personal involvement. Universal Restore allows you to deploy one image to different computers with entirely different hardware specifications. Make sure your Microsoft license permits you to adopt the imaging technique.
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by:Aaron Tomosky
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I you install Acronis on a computer you can do an image backup while it's on. Acronis workstation also comes with the "server" part to manage all the workstation backups from one place.
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by:gmbaxter
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Why don't you consider a basic server running small business server (microsoft) you could then do centralised user logons, data, and profiles, along with group policy for management, windows deployment services for imaging/restore, and wsus for updates.
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concepcionmark earned 167 total points
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you may try acronis, http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/products/  free trial or clonezilla., http://clonezilla.org/ which is free
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by:kdubendorf
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I am very familiar with SBS and generally like it a lot.   Even in a small low end server it will be more expensive than I want to go for this network.    

I'm definately looking at Acronis.   I also took a closer look at Windows 7's backup.    Might that work just as well as Acronis for the Win 7 computers?
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