Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a small business customer who needs a solution similar to Acronis's SBS Server backup.

Essentially, I would like image based differential backups to be performed nightly to the external drive connected to their PowerEdge server. If anything crashes, I can guide them over the phone on how to restore the previous image via the Acronis startup restore option.

Here's the problem: the $499 price tag. I'm afraid the client is not willing to pay $500, especially since they are aware that the software does much more then they require (it does backups of Exchange for instance... which this customer does not need/use at all!).

Any other similar options? I know Windows Backup -- but on Windows 2003 SBS its simply terrible (no differentials, no easy bootup restore, terrible differential backups, etc).

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by mdpc, kce, Tom O'Connor Aug 26 '13 at 23:55

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." – mdpc, kce, Tom O'Connor
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Their data mustn't be worth much too them if $500 for a solid, reliable backup system is too much. – womble Dec 24 '09 at 1:32
I'm afraid that in today's economy, small businesses, especially ones like this feel that they need to prioritize their money. As such, since I currently have a system which keeps their data safe, they are not compelled to move to a new system. My only argument right now to move to Acronis is simplicity with recovery, not the security of the data itself. – BSchlinker Dec 24 '09 at 1:49
The point womble is making (if I may be so bold) is that the data IS the business. 80% of businesses that experience a complete data loss go out of business within 2 years of said loss. Imagine trying to conduct business without any records of customers, vendors, transactions, accounts payable and receivable, etc. Imagine trying to reconstruct everything from paper records, if they exist. The data is an asset as important as the product, people, process, etc. and needs to be treated with the same care, caution, and protection. – joeqwerty Dec 24 '09 at 3:28
I understand womble's point -- but I also already stated that the client's data is backed up and safe. The objective I currently have is to reduce the amount of work required to restore the server if a failure did occur. Right now its hours of labor, reinstalling the OS, reimporting information, etc. The data is safe. It's backed up in two onsite locations and one off site location every 12 hours, with daily (stored for 30 days), 1 month, and 3 month backups created. – BSchlinker Dec 24 '09 at 4:04
It's great the data is backed up & safe. How much money would the client lose if the server were down for 2 days while you restored everything? What would be involved in that restoration? How many people would they be paying to sit doing nothing since the systems couldn't work? How many clients would they lose because they couldn't service them? If the answer to these questions is less than $500, then they are likely doing the right thing. If this would cripple the business, then it's clearly short-sighted. Recovery software such as this is INSURANCE against business downtime & lost customers. – Multiverse IT Jan 10 '10 at 13:34

Take a look at Drive XML. From the Drive XML website:

DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives.

Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup! Restore images to drives without having to reboot. DriveImage XML is now faster than ever, offering two different compression levels.

DriveImage XML runs under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Vista and Windows 7 only. The program will backup, image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS.

It says it works fine on Server 2003, and technically SBS 2003 is Server 2003... but as most SBS people say "It's Just Different" so you might want to to a little bit of testing first.

share|improve this answer
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I solved this problem by looking into Paragon Drive Backup -- $250 less then Acronis and all of the features which the customer needed.

Saved the customer money while still achieving 100% of what the more expensive solution would have provided.

share|improve this answer
Why didn't you just use the built in Windows Server Backup? It has the capability to create image backups. – joeqwerty Mar 11 '11 at 19:01
@joeqwerty not in SBS 2003 though. – northirid Mar 11 '11 at 21:35
Sorry, missed that. – joeqwerty Mar 12 '11 at 4:49

I'm currently looking at Clonezilla, which is an opensource ISO/USB-key to clone and restore PCs.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.