Bare Metal Backup or Image Based to backup servers?

We have several servers that we currently backup.  Right now we back up all the most important files to the cloud, but we've been setting up/revamping full onsite backups as well.

With our backup client we have two options for a full onsite backup, bare metal and image based.

Which would be the best to use for Windows Server 2003, 2008 and 2012?

We want it to take the least amount of time as possible, and also to be able to recover to different hardware if needed.
Jason KidmanIT Consultant & CEOAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

If you are backing up Virtual Machines or if you have duplicate identical hardware where you can perform an image restore to different physical hardware, them image backups are worth considering because restoring will be a little more straight forward.  If not, then bare metal would be necessary in order to recover in a DR scenario where you need to restore onto different physical hardware.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Actually image based bare metal backup is the same. Bare metal backup includes system and boot partitions. Where image can include system, boot and data partitions.
If you are imaging files already you need bare metal backup.
Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I think it would be good to get the terms straight first.  I will give my understanding and others might refine this:

 - bare metal backup refers to the target system being the "bare metal".  It generally requires nothing on the target hard drive: operating system, etc.  This backup can be used if a hard drive crashes catastrophically to restore the system as on a new hard drive.  If the computer main board is new/different then there are a number of new issues having to do with licensing, drivers, etc.
 The backup can be on a cloned hard drive or it can be in the form of an image file - these are relatively equivalent.  The problem with such backups is that they are as large as can be and one might be motivated to only create them periodically.  This means that the data in the backup is old to one degree or another.  So, such backups are frequently used with a data backup restore following their application / implementation.
 It may be that some confuse "bare metal" with a hard drive clone.  One has to do with the  target and the other with the restore mechanism.

 - a "full backup" might be anything but is most likely a backup of data and is most often contrasted with "incremental backups".  This is generally a different animal than the bare metal type.

 I'm a bit unclear regarding what you want to accomplish.  It's best to start from basic principles and move to the tools as the second step.  That said, what *are* the tools you refer to?
Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

Jason KidmanIT Consultant & CEOAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help, I'll try and clarify a little.

We are currently using a version of Cloudberry Bare Metal Backup, which includes 2 backup options:  System Slate/Bare Metal Backup and Image Based Backup.

I've tried setting up both,
Image Based is quick and puts out a small backup (less than 50gb), while Bare Metal takes days and puts out a huge backup file.

The destination is an external HDD.

We simply want to use whatever will be best in a situations where the server crashes.  Being able to restore to different hardware is definitely a bonus.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
What I can read here says exactly the same what I wrote in my previous comment:
Bare Metal Backup takes only image of system critical volumes only. Thse are Windows C partition and MSR partition plus system state.
Image backup takes backup of selected volumes. It seems that in this case it is doijg backups of changed blocks which changed since full bare metal and thus it is smaller than bare metal backup.
Bare Metal Recovery uses Windows Backup to create the backup which is a full backup of the entire system (hence the large size).  You use the Windows Server DVD to perform the bare metal restore, which starts with an OS installation which allows restoring to different hardware.

Image backup is performed by the CloudBerry software which defaults to a only backing up the blocks that have changed since the last backup.  The restore choices are physical disk, virtual disk, and Amazon EC2 instance.  I haven't tested it, but I don't think there's any special driver generalization going on so it may be hit or miss as to weather you could actually restore to different physical hardware.

CloudBerry Image Restore Options

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Storage Software

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.