Is there any particular backup / imaging software which seems to be a good fit for our situation, or is there some other direction I should be looking in to meet our requirements? I realize this is a strangely-written question. Please comment if there are specifics that would help answer.
To give the necessary background information: we are a VAR looking to engineer a reasonably reliable backup strategy for our customers. Each of our customers has this environment:
- One workstation-class computer running Windows XP or 7
- Two semi-dumb terminals running Windows XP Embedded (not very powerful machines, but each plays a unique role so they aren't interchangeable)
- All machines are networked together
We want to accomplish the following goals:
- If any one of the machines goes down, new hardware can be plugged into the network and remotely imaged with the HDD contents of the machine the night before it crashed.
- We can recover from a crash of either a terminal or of the workstation.
- Backups are hosted at the customer's location, not across the Internet somewhere
- Configuring the backup tasks and running restore tasks should be scriptable. The restoration tasks should be able to be performed by a telephone helpdesk technician with as little training as possible. In my mind, this means scripting it so it's as simple as double-clicking a script.
We have previously used Acronis True Image 9 with the strategy of imaging each machine nightly and storing the data on a second hard drive attached to the workstation, but we found the following challenges:
- Creating the backup tasks on each computer is tedious and error prone, and Acronis does not provide any scripting mechanism that allows creating a scheduled backup job.
- If the workstation needs to be recovered, the customer must be blindly walked through using bootable media to start the recovery.
I've been looking into using Acronis 10 or Backup Exec, but those systems appear to be even more complicated to set up and as far as I can tell also do not provide any reasonable scripting interfaces.