Acronis True Image Echo Enterprise Server review
Offering file archiving and disk imaging, Acronis True Image addresses both system- and data-recovery issues in a single package. This latest release builds on the formula of previous versions: local agents are installed on each system, while the Backup Server software is installed on a central server to provide archiving and imaging facilities across the network.
Local agents are available for both Windows and Linux systems. All are controlled by the Management Console software, which can also carry out remote installations of the agent software. It provides access to the system’s job scheduling system that can be set up to provide an automatic backup and system-imaging environment. Acronis supports FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS file systems on Windows and ext2, ext3, JFS, ReiserFS and Reiser 4 on Linux, making it suitable for use in most mixed network situations. The lack of Linux versions of the management and Backup Server software means any network using Linux exclusively will need a Windows system installed to use the software.
This release also provides the Echo Enterprise Server local software, which can be installed on individual workstations. On top of the agent software’s facilities, it gives local control over backup and recovery, plus other imaging and archiving operations. It can create bootable rescue systems on a variety of storage media, while its imaging facilities can be used to move an existing operating system and software from an installed drive to a new one.
Archives and images can be created using local storage in designated Secure Zones. A Secure Zone is an area of disk that can be accessed only by the True Image software. Storing images locally provides an easy way of restoring a damaged system when the central server is inaccessible. Backups and images can also be created on the backup server.
We installed the backup server software on a system with twin Intel Xeon 2.8GHz processors and 2GB RAM running Windows Server 2003 R2. The True Image Echo Server software was installed on a PC with a 1.6GHz Pentium 4 processor and 768MB RAM running Windows XP Professional. Both systems used 10/100 ethernet cards. We made an image of the PC’s system partition to the backup server, copying 4GB of data across the network in 13 minutes.
A useful new feature is the Virtual Disk Conversion wizard, which allows you to convert partition or drive images to any of several virtual disk formats. Virtual disks are files used by virtual machine software such as VMware’s VMServer or Microsoft’s Virtual PC to store virtual system images. This could be useful in software development and testing, since it allows a system to be created once and then cloned into virtual environments. It also allows live systems to be migrated to a virtual environment, perhaps to consolidate several separate systems onto one large server.
We’ve come to expect great things from Acronis True Image, but this release provides an even more flexible solution to backup and recovery issues.