Hard drive imaging

Commodork64

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I would like to backup (image/clone) the hard drive on my small business server without having to call the IT guy to do it for me. I’ve tried to do it using a backup utility and also using Robocopy, but the relational database I use for my business always has some files open, and there are always other files in use which causes them to be skipped.
In the past, I’ve gotten around this problem by booting up a computer with the server HDD connected as a slave and cloning it that way.

The server I have now though has 2 hot-swappable HDDs with RAID (mirroring). I have Acronis and was wondering if I were to shutdown the server and connect one of the drives as a slave to my PC, if I could clone it like I did with my older server in the past. Will spinning the drive up as a slave and copying it in this way compromise the RAID setup when the drive is disconnected and the server boots back up (if I don’t power the server on until it is returned to its regular configuration)? Like, will something be changed on the drive I connect to and copy that will cause it not to be synced up with the other drive when the server is rebooted?
 

crjdriver

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I think you are making this way more difficult than it needs to be; simply boot the system with an acronis boot usb. The drive or raid array will not have any files open SO you can image the complete drive/array.
I would like to backup (image/clone)
Do understand that an image and a clone are different things;
1 A clone is an exact copy of the drive or array in question.
2 An image is a single compressed file that is also a copy however some items are not included in the image; page file, hiberfil.sys and a few other files that windows creates when it boots. In addition, an image can use compression. This means that IF the array has say 100gig of data, the image file would be somewhere around 35~40gig depending on the level of compression you select. You can even store multiple image files on your backup media.

If it were me, I would use an image and store the image on an external or NAS [if you use a NAS]

I do have a saying; "No backup is worth anything until you validate your ability to restore the backup" We see many, many threads where someone made an image and the restore fails. If this is a mission critical server, I would do a test to be sure I could restore the image. After a drive failure, virus, ransomware, etc is NOT the time to find out you are unable to restore the data/info.

Where I used to work, we had some very strict rules regarding data backup. Backups had to be made every 8hr and stored off site in a fireproof room, safe, etc. This included all pilot records, FA records, training records, maintenance records, etc, etc. This way IF the airline were hit with ransomware, the very most that could be lost would be 8hr of records and that would be pretty easy to restore.
 
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I agree with crjdriver , and for the part of copying the opening files, Robocopy can't copy the opining files or the in-use files but it can be handled via the alternative tools to Robocopy which has the ability to copy the open files like GoodSync, Gs Richcopy 360 and Carbonite, search all
 

zx10guy

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First. What hardware are we talking about here? And no...DO NOT connect any of those drives in the RAID 1 to another computer as an external drive. You'll most likely cause data corruption to the drive. In addition, it's highly unlikely the drive can be read as a standard hard drive as the RAID controller has laid down the data in a specific way unique to that RAID controller.

Next. How big of a database are we talking about here? The use of Acronis may or may not work depending on the RAID controller as Acronis may need specific drivers to be able to recognize the RAID controller.

Since there is an IT guy for this business, are you authorized to do this type of work on this server? I know it sucks but you're better off letting the IT guy do it. Doing work on a server which is outside of your scope is a quick way to getting disciplined or let go from a company. If the company or IT guy is forward thinking, there should be specific backup software which will backup databases regardless of whether the database is up or down.
 

Fireflycph

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Since there is an IT guy for this business, are you authorized to do this type of work on this server?
The OP does say "MY Small Business Server"
It could be assumed that he/she is the owner of the business and therefore entitled to do whatever they want.

Other than that, I completely agree with you. DO NOT remove any RAID disks. DO NOT break the mirror as total data loss can result.

Af for the Database files. It may be possible to "shut down" the Database engine to allow copying of the files..
All depending on which database is used.

OP, again I totally agree withzx10guy, get your IT person to do it. If you don't know what you're doing, you can damage the system beyond all repair.
 

crjdriver

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I have used acronis with a promise raid controller, a highpoint raid controller, onboard amd controller, and onboard intel controller. They all work without a problem.
I have never used acronis with a LSI controller however I suspect it would work without issue.
 
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zx10guy

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I read the OP's post a bit differently and can see how they could be the owner.

As to doing an Acronis backup, I guess cloning the drive can be done. It's not the best way as doing backups this way is clunky. An enterprise level backup program would be able to perform a backup on an actively running database. In addition, it'll have other features such as dedup and compression which would be absent from doing a bit for bit copy.

One final thing is since this is a server, the type of drive interface would need to be known. If it's SAS or NLSAS, forget trying to move that drive to a regular PC to clone it.
 

crjdriver

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As to doing an Acronis backup, I guess cloning the drive can be done
While it is possible to clone an array, a much better solution would be an image. When I used to run dual raptors in raid, acronis never gave me an ounce of problems imaging OR restoring a raid array.
That was with acronis 2012, and 2016. I did try acronis 2020 and could not go back fast enough. It seems like many programs, the vendor keeps "Improving" the program until it is useless.
 
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zx10guy

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While it is possible to clone an array, a much better solution would be an image. When I used to run dual raptors in raid, acronis never gave me an ounce of problems imaging OR restoring a raid array.
That was with acronis 2012, and 2016. I did try acronis 2020 and could not go back fast enough. It seems like many programs, the vendor keeps "Improving" the program until it is useless.
But you're cloning the drive with Acronis as Acronis can't read the drive data in any appreciable context. So you're copying everything which makes using Acronis for backing up a database highly inefficient. Not to mention slower to recover data versus using an appropriate backup solution.
 

crjdriver

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I think you are missing something. Acronis reads a raid array just fine. No you are NOT cloning; you are creating an image file. If you just want to backup the database, then that is a different issue.

From the original poster's first post
I would like to backup (image/clone) the hard drive
He is asking about backing up a drive, not a database. While it is possible to clone a raid array, it is not efficient and you would need additional drives to create the target array for the clone. An image is much more efficient in that it can be stored on an external, extra hd not part of the array, a NAS, network share, whatever AND you use compression. You can store multiple images on whatever media you are using; deleting the oldest image and making a new one.

You are not going to store multiple clones unless you want to have a lot of drives sitting around not really doing anything. Again you could do that however it is very inefficient AND you would need to label the drives as to position, etc.

Note all of these comments are regarding acronis 2012 and 2016. I only used the newer version of acronis once and that was enough for me; back to 2016.
 
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zx10guy

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From the OP's post:

"I’ve tried to do it using a backup utility and also using Robocopy, but the relational database I use for my business always has some files open, and there are always other files in use which causes them to be skipped"

Key part is relational database. I read it one way and I guess it can be read z different way.

Even though an image is created through Acronis, it's still way less efficient than a true backup solution in terms of space savings. And using a true backup solution will give you the option to store it in many different mediums to include external hard drives and backup tapes.
 

crjdriver

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You can store an acronis image on any media you want; external, NAS, network share, whatever. Using compression, if the drive contains 100gig of info, the image file can be somewhere around 50gig or less depending on the level selected AND you can store multiple images on whatever media you are using.
That seems pretty efficient to me.
IF the intent is to backup ONLY the database, then I agree with you. He did state in the original post that he wanted to clone the hard drive.
 

zx10guy

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If Acronis was that efficient, I'd see it used in the Enterprise market. I haven't seen one instance of it being used. Not one. I have seen it used a little for end point imaging and that's it. The Enterprise market is always looking for ways to cut down their storage costs.
 

crjdriver

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I do not know what we used at the airline I used to work. I know they had some very strict rules regarding backups; had to be made at least every 8hr, stored off site in a fireproof facility, etc. When you work with govt regulators......
 

zx10guy

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It's probably one of the big players such as Avamar, Netbackup, Commvault, etc. All of these solutions will do incremental backups that can be scheduled right down to every few minutes. These solutions will also meet Federal certification/requirements such as FIPS 140-2.
 

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