By Henry Baltazar  |  Posted 2006-06-05 Print this article Print

The Acronis True Image 9.1 family of products delivers quick and easy-to-implement backup and bare-metal restore for a wide variety of markets, ranging from the home to the enterprise.

Traditional tape-based backup utilities do a good job of backing up files, but they cannot match the operating system and application restoration capabilities of image-based backup solutions such as Acronis True Image 9.1. With Acronis Universal Restore option, server images can be restored to new hardware or even as a virtual machine.

eWeek Labs liked the ease of use and manageability of the Acronis True Image 9.1 backup tools, and we found the solution to be a worthy contender to better-known bare-metal recovery solutions, including Symantecs LiveState Recovery.

Click here to read a review of the Double-Take continuous data protection platform. Acronis offers versions of True Image 9.1 for Windows workstations and servers; a version for Linux servers also is available. The Enterprise Server version of Acronis True Image 9.1 is priced starting at $999, while the Linux server version starts at $699. The Workstation edition, for power and home users, costs $79.

During eWeek Labs tests of the Enterprise Server edition, we were impressed with the products remote management features. Using the Acronis Management console, we could easily launch remote backup and restore operations throughout our network.

Acronis True Image 9.1 can store backup images onto a wide variety of storage media, including NAS (network-attached storage) and file server shares, SAN (storage area network) volumes, DAS (direct-attached storage), FTP servers, and even tape.

We backed up our servers to a file share sitting on an Adaptec Snap Server 520 NAS appliance, and performance was peppy on a Gigabit Ethernet network.

Acronis gave us many backup options, including full backups, incremental backups and differentials. We also could perform backups on files and folders.

While we were impressed with the products backup capabilities, the real strength of the Acronis True Image 9.1 software is in its restore capabilities. For example, we were able to mount read/write volumes based on older backup images, a useful feature for times when you need to recover an older file but dont necessarily want to roll back the entire file system.

The Acronis Secure Zone feature allows users to store backup images on hidden system partitions, allowing remote users to perform their own recovery jobs while they are out in the field. Remote recovery jobs are initiated by hitting the F11 key during boot-up, and the recovery utility allows users to roll back to a previously working image to repair their laptops quickly.

The Acronis Universal Restore option allows IT managers to recover server, laptop or workstation images to heterogeneous hardware. This feature is similar to Symantecs Live-State Recovery Restore Anyware option.

We created an Acronis recovery boot disk that we used to boot up a clean system, with no operating system or application installed. Using the recovery console, we were able to search for a new backup image on our network and transfer it to the new hardware. During the recovery process, we were able to add device drivers to the recovery image to help ensure that the new server would be able to function well at the end of the recovery process.

The Universal Restore proc-ess preserves user profiles and the SID (security identifier) on Windows systems, eliminating the need to rejoin domains or remap network drives.

When working with dynamic window volumes, Universal Restore successfully moved volume contents, but it did not carry over mirroring volume properties to the new machine. A lack of support for Unix and Apple platforms was another limitation we would like to see addressed in future releases.

The Universal Restore option costs $29 for the Workstation edition and $299 for the server editions of Acronis True Image 9.1. Free trial software can be downloaded at www.acronis.com/download.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.


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