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Image Software Guidance

Posted on 2014-01-24
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
Hi, I am new to EE and would like some guidance on imaging software.  I am more of a Cisco guy, but with my new job am in charge of the entire infrastructure at all levels.  I am trying to find out if there is a single imaging software/suite that will fulfill the following business needs.

Image non-RAID partition on different servers, backup to third party drive or network share, restore to newly created RAID-5 partition on original servers with new larger physical drives.

Image existing RAID-5 partition on server, restore to the same or even a different server on RAID-5 with same or different physical hard drives.

Image desktops/laptops and restore to same desktop/laptop (hardware dependent)

Image desktops/laptops and restore to different desktop/laptop (non-hardware dependent).

All 4 requirements are for Windows operating systems.  No unix/linux required.

Thanks.
Spadmin1
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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:Jeff Perry
ID: 39807034
Microsoft's Imaging solution has matured quite well in my opinion.

MDT (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit) along with WDS (Windows Deployment Services) are pretty easy to use and are available without any extra purchase.
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Expert Comment

by:epichero22
ID: 39807038
If this is going to be an ongoing project on a large scale, I would recommend something like Symantec's Altiris.  We used that at a community college I worked at and it was great at enabling PXE imaging based on MAC addresses.  You can contact Symantec to discuss this in further detail at 1-888-252-5551.

If it's a smaller project then I would just go with Acronis True Image and do them all manually.  It might take more time but the costs will be way lower.
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:Adam Leinss
ID: 39807044
Acronis with Universal Restore will cover all your requirements, although it will be pricey.  If you can live with 2 products: it's probably best to use MDT from MS for free for desktops/laptops and then Acronis for the server stuff.
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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 39807388
Image non-RAID partition on different servers, backup to third party drive or network share, restore to newly created RAID-5 partition on original servers with new larger physical drives.


Image existing RAID-5 partition on server, restore to the same or even a different server on RAID-5 with same or different physical hard drives.


To be clear, the above two are backup and restore, not imaging per se.  You need something that can restore to dissimilar hardware.  (Why aren't you virtualizing?  Virtualizing would make this easy and basically a non-issue as you could temporarily move the servers even to a workstation class system, rebuild the VM host, and move them back.  Acronis would do this.  TECHNICALLY so would Symantec, but I wouldn't touch a Yellow box product if they paid me to try it.  They are awful in general (in my opinion and about 50% of my colleagues)

Image desktops/laptops and restore to same desktop/laptop (hardware dependent)


Again, backup and restore.  The Windows 7 Backup program should do this for you.  As should any other bare metal restore capable backup program and any imaging program.

Image desktops/laptops and restore to different desktop/laptop (non-hardware dependent).

And now we reach the question of the hour - are you doing this for DEPLOYMENT purposes or backup and restore purposes... the previous points suggest ONLY backup purposes... in which case WDS/MDT is NOT an appropriate solution (it's a deployment solution, not a backup solution).
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Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 39808576
A Technician License of this tool will fulfill all your needs: http://www.paragon-software.com/small-business/hdm-business/
It has all tools inclusive, resize, copy, image, virtualize, migrate, restore to dissimilar hardware.
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