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6 Bare Metal Backup and Recovery Options

Introduction

For server and workstation recovery, we include the following products in this discussion:

Symantec Backup Exec 11d System Recovery Windows Small Business Server Edition plus Backup Exec System Recovery Desktop Edition (12 licenses)

The Rationale Behind Bare Metal Backup

Bare metal backup and recovery (BMBR) products are great for SOHO operations. The best of these products lets you back up and then restore servers and sometimes networked workstations at either the level of discrete files or the entire disk volume. When you restore a disk volume to a new empty disk drive, this is what’s called "bare metal recovery" or "disaster recovery."

Most products let you restore to a drive temporarily mounted in any computer. Most also let you boot your original repaired computer from a CD-ROM and restore your disk drive from CD-ROM, a second disk drive connected to the computer, a disk on the network or, in some cases, tape. Bare metal recoveries save lots of time - they can take less than one-sixth the time of a discrete file recovery. That’s because they operate at the disk image level and can write disk content sequentially as fast as the I/O channel will allow. No jumping around for individual files is needed, nor lots of individual file I/O activities like opening, writing, closing, and updating directory information for each file.

Some readers may be concerned that BMBR solutions are prohibitively expensive. There’s some ground for concern here, but the products we’ve chosen don’t add more than $150 per seat to a small network’s overall costs; sometimes even less. They provide substantial peace of mind when it comes to protecting key productivity and information assets like the servers and workstations everybody depends on to get their jobs done and to conduct business. For small shops using Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS), two of the three server products mentioned here come in special packages designed to handle Microsoft’s do-it-all offering for shops with fewer than 25 users.

We maintain the following assumptions that were made for the original article that this story updates:

Your computer system supports about a dozen users.

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