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"Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging" (Read 28608 times)
El_Pescador
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"Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Mar 25th, 2007 at 11:33am
 
"Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"


"PowerQuest" versus "Binary Research"


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Rama
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #1 - Mar 25th, 2007 at 11:20pm
 
Sometime ago, I recall seeing a msg by NBree in the Symantec forum describing how the hot imaging is handled in Windows environment and that from a user point of view the snapshot made by the program is quite reliable. However, there seems to be a very rare possibility of the contents of a file getting changed while the imaging in progress.

It looks like if one wants absolute certainity with the image, one should go for cold-imaging and may be able to sleep well with the confidence that we have a good image for restore purpose if a disaster strikes. While the cold-imaging user interface may not be as easy for the occasional end user customer, I feel the learning curve with cold-imaging is after all worth it in the long run. Customers generally are not sensitive about the backup/restore issues until they get burned by a hardware or software disaster. Personally I have been there in the past.

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Rad
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #2 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 9:44am
 
There's also a higher chance of generating a conflict. For purposes of this discussion, I'll include a link to my thoughts on the subject, which we've debated:

http://ghost.radified.com/norton_ghost_90.htm
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #3 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 12:51pm
 
A discussion of this subject may be found in this thread.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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John.
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #4 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 1:26pm
 
I'm almost hesitant to weigh in here, because this topic keeps coming up.  But since this thread is in the Ghost 9/10/S&R board, let me give a few of my comments.

Rad wrote on Mar 26th, 2007 at 9:44am:
There's also a higher chance of generating a conflict.

I would say that use of DOS and Ghost 2003 creates a higher chance of generating a conflict.

4 years (from 2003 to 2007) is several generations and many light years in terms of PCs and operating systems.  There was DOS, Windows 3, 3.1, 95, 95SE, 98, Me, NT, 2000 Pro, XP, and now Vista.  The real issue is keeping an old operating system and old software working on newer designed hardware and software.  Since 2003, we've had usb, usb2, SATA, PCI express, new motherboards, Core 2 Duo, 64bit, and now Vista which has a completely different boot process than XP.

I'm not saying that you *can't* make Ghost 2003 work today and tomorrow, but the challenge is greater (and the risk of failure greater) each year.  For example,  over the last 2 or 3 years, there have been innumerable threads, questions, posts, about how to get an external chipset and external usb2 hard drive to work with DOS, because you have to have you own drivers for DOS.  I can't even enumerate all the combinations that do or don't work or may or may not work.  

If you are a tinkerer (as many on this forum apparently are) then DOS (and cold imaging) is fine.  I liked DOS 10-15 years ago, and considered myself an expert at tinkering with it.  In 1957 I also liked the '57 Chevy but today I would say there is a higher degree of chance of conflict with a '57 Chevy than a new car.  They are still on the road, and tinkerers love them.

Regarding hot imaging, however, I believe that is a separate subject.  Many large corporations have online databases that are literally online 24/7/365.  Yet they somehow make hot backups keeping our financial and other records safe.  Of course, a purist (tinkerer) could say, "shut them down each day for an hour (maybe even a day for big corps), and take a cold backup" but that's not realistic, and not practical.

Hot imaging and hot backup is built into the design.  That is why vendors are not marketing cold imaging (shut your pc down and boot from this other cd or diskette) products.  They are taking advantage of the current operating system and hardware designs to take a reliable-image-backup.  Whether it uses Snapshot Technology or Volume Shadow Services or some other proprietary method, I personally believe it is less risky that attempting to get DOS programs to work in 2007 on 2007-type hardware and software.

We're already at another DOS/Ghost 2003 hurdle with Vista boot.  I'm sure the tinkerers here will find a way to accommodate that.  Make DOS work with Vista.  How about 64 bit processors?  There will probably be a way to accommodate that as well.  How about new storage devices, flashdrives, ReadyBoost and others that are coming?  There will probably be a way to write or create DOS device drives for that too.

I'm not belittling a tinkerer because I consider myself one.  But I am realistic as to the future.  I try and find current solutions to resolve problems for current PC users on today's hardware and today's software.

Getting stuck 4 years ago or 10 years ago can be nostalgic, but we need to get "back to the future".

(just my 2 cents worth)
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #5 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 3:15pm
 
Ghost4me, your Reply #4 is exceedingly well stated!

If a user can tinker and get Ghost 2003 to work properly on a PC, there is no reason not to use it.  But, that fact does not constitute an argument against using a “hot imaging” solution (e.g., Norton Ghost 10).

There is simply no evidence – logical or empirical – that a “hot imaging” solution is less reliable than the old “cold image” (DOS) variety.  A few years ago, it was quite understandable to question the reliability of “hot imaging,” since it was a relatively new technology.  Today, however, we are well past that milestone.  It’s not even a question that is asked anymore by the IT intelligentsia, except perhaps by a melancholy few who long for the days when MS DOS was dominate.  (Ah, I remember it well…)

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ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #6 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 3:19pm
 
Pleonasm, I had a feeling that for once we would just have to agree to agree!   Smiley
 

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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #7 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 4:20pm
 
Hey, Ghost4me – let’s not make it a habit!  I enjoy our ‘interactions’ far too much!

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El_Pescador
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #8 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 8:57pm
 
John. wrote on Mar 26th, 2007 at 1:26pm:
"... I'm almost hesitant to weigh in here, because this topic keeps coming up.  But since this thread is in the Ghost 9/10/S&R board, let me give a few of my comments..."

Actually, to truthfully confess the very reason that I placed nearly-identical posts with such headings and marquees "on-both-sides-of-the-aisle" was not to incite argument but instead to "unravel" the confusing nomenclature promulgated by Symantec through the use of the phrase 'Ghost' or 'Norton Ghost'.  When folks rattled off Version 11 or Version 12, my poor head began to spin because I literally did not know which genera of Ghost was being referred to.

In fact, I am of the opinion that these posts may someday merit a sticky!

EP
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John.
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #9 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 10:26pm
 
El_Pescador wrote on Mar 26th, 2007 at 8:57pm:
Actually, to truthfully confess the very reason that I placed nearly-identical posts with such headings and marquees "on-both-sides-of-the-aisle" was not to incite argument but instead to "unravel" the confusing nomenclature promulgated by Symantec through the use of the phrase 'Ghost' or 'Norton Ghost'...

OK; thanks for the chart.  Another example of The Law of Unintended Consequences.   Smiley

One easy to use rule of thumb is that products labeled "Symantec..." are aimed at corporate customers, while products labeled "Norton..." are consumer products.


Just to confuse matters more, I read somewhere (can't find it anymore) that Norton Save & Restore is actually just a combination of Norton Ghost 10 + Veritas BackupExec (which does the file backups).  From my experience using S&R I would say that the file/folder backup part is definitely an addon and doesn't have the look, feel, or design of Ghost 10.

I agree the version numbers though between Ghost and Symantec are beginning to stumble on top of each other, causing more confusion.
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #10 - Mar 26th, 2007 at 11:28pm
 
John. wrote on Mar 26th, 2007 at 1:26pm:
I'm almost hesitant to weigh in here, because this topic keeps coming up.  But since this thread is in the Ghost 9/10/S&R board, let me give a few of my comments.


The facts you stated address the issue of evolution of the situation.

For almost all end users who are not in 7/24 uptime mode, cold imaging should be adequate. However some of us would like to keep uptodate as to what is going on in the technical world where hardware and software innovations take place all the time. May be one day in the near future every one will be using  hot imaging. We will have to wait and see.

For those who are comfortable only with cold imaging for now, Symantec Ghost 11 (enterprise) provides a reasonable answer since it addresses all the issues relating to the internal handling of data by Vista.  Only current hurdle for end users like us is the licensing and I have posted a long msg in Symantec Ghost SS forum suggesting Symantec consider selling single licenses so it is cost effective for individual customers. My hope is Symantec will come up with a way for us to acquire single licenses so that we can own a legit copy of the Ghost 11 (enterprise).

/me  Smiley

 
 
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #11 - Mar 28th, 2007 at 6:24am
 
Rama wrote on Mar 25th, 2007 at 11:20pm:
Sometime ago, I recall seeing a msg by NBree in the Symantec forum describing how the hot imaging is handled in Windows environment and that from a user point of view the snapshot made by the program is quite reliable.

That's true, I said that and it's very true with one caveat - it applies to Windows XP and above, not to Win2k. When Microsoft introduced the VSS system, in Windows XP the way the default snapshot provider worked was to send an undocumented IOCTL called (from memory) IOCTL_VOLSNAP_FLUSH_AND_HOLD_WRITES down into the storage driver chain for a volume.

This primarily made the volsnap.sys filter driver (interposed between the filesystems and the mass-storage drivers) do its thing which was the "hold part", buffering disk writes in memory until the snapshot was released, when it then caught up by releasing the held writes to the mass-storage drivers. But in addition to this was a special magic part in the filesystem drivers for NTFS and FAT32 - which also knew about this IOCTL and when they saw it, before chaining it on did everything necessary to ensure that the storage was perfectly consistent (at least from the filesystem's viewpoint).

In addition to the above, the user-level component that takes care of the kernel-level magic above uses a COM-based system where any program at all can plug into the snapshot system and ensure that things are logically consistent around the kernel-level snapshot operation - it's a little more elaborate than the power-management APIs that let applications do similar kinds of tidyup when Windows is hibernating, but basically the same idea in principle. It's really hard to fault the architecture of VSS from a technical point of view.

With Windows 2000, Microsoft didn't provide a backport of the filesystem drivers with their part of this adaptation; there was some third-party system that purported to provide VSS support for Win2k, and that's what PQ licensed for what became V2i - and one of the terms they got the original makers to agree to was to not license it to Symantec, which is really the primary reason Ghost32 didn't have VSS support. Anyway, I've never had a chance to look at how the third-party Win2k version  of VSS managed the equivalent to what Microsoft did in Windows XP; whether it was as solid or not I simply don't know.

Now, separately to all of the above is the fact hot-versus-cold is simply not an either/or proposition. It's a continuum; the ability to hot-image allows some neat useful things to be done - for instance, in GSS2 it would allow us to treat the GSS2 console machine in way where it appears under management in itself, alongside the other clients; customers do ask us for that, and it's a perfectly sensible thing to want that we can't really provide seamlessly without using VSS. Enlarging the range of scenarios and letting Ghost fit into more elaborate processes is how we'd have approached VSS, and we wouldn't have forced anyone to use it nor thrown away our capability to take images the old way.
 
 
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #12 - Mar 28th, 2007 at 9:23am
 
nbree

Very nice input--I appreciate your perspective--thank you!
 

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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #13 - Mar 28th, 2007 at 10:32am
 
Quote:
Rama wrote on Mar 25th, 2007 at 11:20pm:
Sometime ago, I recall seeing a msg by NBree in the Symantec forum describing how the hot imaging is handled in Windows environment and that from a user point of view the snapshot made by the program is quite reliable.

That's true, I said that and it's very true with one caveat - it applies to Windows XP and above, not to Win2k
. When Microsoft introduced the VSS system, in Windows XP the way the default snapshot provider worked was to send an undocumented IOCTL called (from memory) IOCTL_VOLSNAP_FLUSH_AND_HOLD_WRITES down into the storage driver chain for a volume.......

With Windows 2000, Microsoft didn't provide a backport of the filesystem drivers with their part of this adaptation; there was some third-party system that purported to provide VSS support for Win2k, and that's what PQ licensed for what became V2i - and one of the terms they got the original makers to agree to was to not license it to Symantec, which is really the primary reason Ghost32 didn't have VSS support. Anyway, I've never had a chance to look at how the third-party Win2k version  of VSS managed the equivalent to what Microsoft did in Windows XP; whether it was as solid or not I simply don't know.

Now, separately to all of the above is the fact hot-versus-cold is simply not an either/or proposition. It's a continuum; the ability to hot-image allows some neat useful things to be done - for instance, in GSS2 it would allow us to treat the GSS2 console machine in way where it appears under management in itself, alongside the other clients; customers do ask us for that, and it's a perfectly sensible thing to want that we can't really provide seamlessly without using VSS. Enlarging the range of scenarios and letting Ghost fit into more elaborate processes is how we'd have approached VSS, and
we wouldn't have forced anyone to use it nor thrown away our capability to take images the old way.



Thanks for clarifying details about how things are handled inside the Windows and the insight is very valuable for us tinkerers and end users.

Since many of us are still using W2K, at least for me, I feel very safe to stay with cold-imaging which is supported in GSS.

/me 
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Re: "Hot-imaging" versus "Cold-imaging"
Reply #14 - Mar 28th, 2007 at 6:39pm
 
I noticed in nbree's (Nigel) profile that he's a Ghost developer ("Principal Software Engineer"). Certainly that gives him huge credibility when it comes to discussing the intricacies of the prgm.

http://radified.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?action=viewprofile;username=nbree

http://nigel.bree.googlepages.com/

Welcome.

I can't help but wonder how long he's been developing Ghost. Back when I first started using Ghost (v5.1), it was hard (impossible) to find any help for it. I had to learn the hard way.
 
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