All of our office computers are running Win 7 at the moment. We want to create a disk image nightly and send it to a server we house in one of our other offices. We have explored syncing the hard drives to the remote server as well. The purpose of this is so that in the event of a hard drive failure we can take the image or backup from the server and deploy it onto a spare hard drive in a matter of minutes (hours?).

It's very possible I'm over complicating this, but what would be the best method for storing the entire data on a hard drive on a remote server? Once the data is on our server, how could most quickly and efficiently transfer that data to a new hard drive to then be swapped out with a failed hard drive?

If we were to utilize Windows 7's built in disk image, what is the typical size of the disk image? Reason for asking, I could set up a task to take a disk image and then upload it to our remote server for filing.

The ultimate goal is to have a mirror image of a hard drive no older than 12-24 hours available on our remote server so that we could quickly deploy the image to a new hard drive for as close to immediate swap out as possible.

Thanks for the advice in advance.

  • Unless this remote server is configured to be a network drive most solutions will require local storage and/or local network storage and simply move the backup image to the remote server through some other process. – Ramhound Jul 31 '13 at 11:28

This is the principle we use for a small shop, it works great, there's not much maintainance, the one-time setup is only a couple of hours of work.

  • the disk images are full dd images meening they contain every single bit of the complete HD exactly, from beginning to end. To create these we need the dd command hence linux
  • every machine has a small (300mb or so) partition with a linux distro installed
  • the destination machine for the backups has huge storage capabilities, raid fo course, and is on the network via nfs and samba
  • when linux boots it automatically starts the back up:

    #/mnt/net is where the storiage is mounted
    dd if=/dev/sda of=/mnt/net/backups/$hostname.img bs=1M
    shitdown -h now
    #or grub-reboot 1 to restart in Windows if needed
  • when starting the pc it will automatically boot into linux unless told not to, so initiating the backup is just a matter of restarting from Windows

Applying a backup (if ever needed) is done by booting the machine using a dedicated live boot usb stick. Or if ou need only some files, by mounting the image as a windows drive using ImDisk.

  • Thanks for the response and advice. I'm going to do some more digging on this. – Wes Dollar Aug 1 '13 at 16:53

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