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ShadowProtect (Read 38159 times)
Pleonasm
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ShadowProtect
Sep 17th, 2007 at 1:26pm
 
I am writing to start a thread on the StorageCraft ShadowProtect Desktop Edition image backup tool, to collect perspectives from individuals who may have used it as well as Norton Ghost.  While the two products appear to be highly similar, what are the relative advantages/disadvantages of one versus the other?

A few things that I noticed in reading the ShadowProtect Desktop Edition 3.0 User’s Guide about this tool that were of interest include:
  • Creating image backups from within the recovery environment
  • Performing a hardware-independent restore
  • Writing to an existing image file and thereby updating it
  • Performing differential as well as incremental backups
All comments are welcome.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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huntnyc
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #1 - Sep 17th, 2007 at 8:50pm
 
I have used both Ghost 10 in the past and now ShadowProtect 3 Descktop Edition.  What you have said regarding your observations are correct.  Also what I may add has to do with comparing to earlier version of Ghost, version 10.  But at present I am using this program compared to that version for the following reasons.

1.  Light footprint from an install file that is around 11-12 MBs.

2.  Speed of imaging in Windows is very good.

3.  Reliability of restoring images is excellent.

4.  Booting of Recovery CD about 2:30 on my laptop.

5.  As you mentioned, you can image from recovery CD.

On the other hand, it lacks some of the interface automations that I liked in Ghost 10 and other programs such as

1.  Verify automatically after creating image.

2.  Easily configure email notification.

there may be others but cannot think of them now.  Anyway, maybe this will get the thread going.  I am glad you started it and look forward to others input.

Gary
 
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Brian
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #2 - Sep 18th, 2007 at 2:36am
 
Same comments as Gary. I lost interest when I found it can't automatically verify an image. That's no good if you want everything to run on a schedule.

It has much the same extra features as Backup Exec System Recovery.
 
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #3 - Sep 18th, 2007 at 10:04am
 
Based upon conversations posted on the StorageCraft Support Forums (which are moderated by company personnel in an excellent manner), ShadowProtect is expected to have the following features added:
  • Ability to verify an image as part of the backup job process, rather than as a separate step by the user following the image creation (due in the “next release”, which I interpret to mean “3.1”).
  • Support for a VBScript interface, so that the functions of ShadowProtect may be invoked through a script.  This capability currently exists, but the documentation has not yet been released.  Note that with this capability, a user could write a script to backup a partition and then verify it.
  • Support for Windows Vista 64-bit editions (in addition to existing support for Vista 32-bit).
 

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Pleonasm
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #4 - Sep 18th, 2007 at 12:18pm
 
See this thread on the StorageCraft Support Forums for a set of sample VBScripts - including one to verify an image.  Additionally, this thread illustrates a command-line approach to verifying an image.

In either case, one ought to be able to schedule the verify operation using the Windows “Scheduled Tasks” facility.  Of course, this isn’t quite the same as integrating the verify into the backup job, but for practical purposes, it would allow both the backup and the verify to be fully automated (requiring no user interaction).  Perhaps an existing ShadowProtect user can test these two approaches and post the results?
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Brian
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #5 - Sep 19th, 2007 at 2:17am
 
Pleonasm,

See http://forums.storagecraft.com/Forums/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1593 for scripts related to image verifying. Interesting, but I'd still like to see it in the program as well.
 
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #6 - Sep 19th, 2007 at 7:03am
 
Brian, on a side note, isn't it amazing that you posted a question on the StorageCraft Support Forum and — not only was the question answered by a technical support representative — but that person actually authored and shared code to help with the problem?  Personally, this level of support (in a pre-sales mode, no less) is above and beyond my experience with many other companies.

Huntnyc, have you tested the use of any of these approaches to automate the execution of the verify image operation with ShadowProtect?
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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NightOwl
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #7 - Sep 19th, 2007 at 8:58am
 
huntnyc and Brian

Quote:
Same comments as Gary. I lost interest when I found it can't automatically verify an image.

Oh, you *automation* people  Wink !

Quoting from ShadowProtect Desktop Edition:

Quote:
StorageCraft ShadowProtect Desktop Edition 3.0 provides quick and reliable disaster recovery, system migration and data protection for Windows desktops and laptops. ShadowProtect Desktop Edition 3.0 provides hardware independent restore for physical to physical system (P2P) recovery. ShadowProtect Desktop 3.0 also supports conversion from physical systems to virtual environments (P2V), virtual environments to physical systems (V2P) and virtual environments to virtual environments (V2V).

Isn't that the *holy grail* of restores!!!  You can have your system get fried (it just happened to a friend's computer--motherboard *died*--no known reason--and the system was 4 years old and no source of replacement--Asus no longer was making or marketing that model--or anything close to it!), go out and buy a replacement box--presumably with newer updated components, and restore your image on that new equipment--and you're up and running!!!

That alone might be *worth the price of admission*!

I'm going to look more closely at this software--Ghost is great if all I have to do is pop a new HDD in and restore it to that new HDD--but if my motherboard goes down--well, yes I can copy files over to a new OS install--but that's not the same as being able to protect against motherboard failure--and restore my current OS to new hardware!

Very interesting software--I wonder how well it will keep up with new hardware developments over time!?

It would be really nice if there's someone out there that is just building a new system, and has not already begun to use it, and test if they can take their image of a system that is several years old, and restore it to a new system with current hardware technology on board!
 

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John.
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #8 - Sep 19th, 2007 at 12:05pm
 
There are several ShadowProtect threads in the Wilder's Security Forum:

http://www.wilderssecurity.com/forumdisplay.php?f=48
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #9 - Sep 19th, 2007 at 12:25pm
 
NightOwl, one of the features of ShadowProtect that might be of most interest to you is the ability to create a “cold image” through the Recovery Environment, if doing so is desirable.

FYI:  Backup Exec System Recovery 7 (i.e., the ‘corporate version’ of Norton Ghost 12) also has the hardware independent restore feature, too.
 

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Brian
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #10 - Sep 19th, 2007 at 9:14pm
 
NightOwl wrote on Sep 19th, 2007 at 8:58am:
Oh, you *automation* people  Wink !

NightOwl,

I'm spoilt and lazy.

I'm using Backup Exec System Recovery on my main computer and you would think that BESR and ShadowProtect were written by the same company. They are very similar. In looks and function.

The main difference between Ghost 12 and BESR is Restore AnyWare, which I haven't tried. Yet.

 
 
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #11 - Sep 20th, 2007 at 8:55am
 
Pleonasm

Quote:
one of the features of ShadowProtect that might be of most interest to you is the ability to create a “cold image” through the Recovery Environment,

I saw that!  Their Recovery Environment must be a WinPE like Ghost 9, 10, Save & Restore, and 12--so their Windows based hot imaging program can run.  Wonder how/why they are not concerned about use of their program on multiple systems--which, I presume, is why Symantec doesn't enable such a feature!

Brian

Quote:
I'm spoilt and lazy.

Well, my comment was *tongue in cheek*--I've been working on a project that *automates* Ghost 2003 so that all one has to do is click one shortcut link, and the system shuts down, boots to a hidden partition, deletes the oldest backup, increments all the other backups by one, and then creates a new backup of the primary HDD, does an image Integrity check, and then boots back to Windows--and Ghost 2003 Windows interface need not be installed at all on the system--just using the DOS based program!

The biggest problem I have run into is the variability of how the BIOS supports and handles booting to DOS!  Each system I have tried it on has required customization because there is a *hidden recovery/utility* partition like on Dell systems, or the BIOS reports inconsistent HDD data compared to the DOS master boot record program for controlling which partition is active and/or hidden.

Most recently, I've been attempting to add USB External HDD support--primarily for those who have a laptop and no secondary internal HDD to use--I've found the BIOS and *legacy USB support* to be another variable issue!
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #12 - Sep 20th, 2007 at 10:56am
 
Brian,
RE:  “...would think that BESR and ShadowProtect were written by the same company”
Well, yes, in a sense they were written by the same company!  In both cases, the core, underlying snapshot technology comes from StorageCraft.  Your point, though, is well taken:  the similarities between Norton Ghost and ShadowProtect far exceed the differences.

NightOwl,
RE:  “...Recovery Environment must be a WinPE”
Yes, I tested the ShadowProtect Recovery Environment today (without having installed the application), and it worked well.  The ShadowProtect Recovery Environment is similar in spirit to that of Norton Ghost, with the primary exception that you can create backup images.  Additionally, the ShadowProtect Recovery Environment contains a basic file manager (“Windows Explorer” lite), which is quite handy for copying/deleting files.

Ghost4me,
RE:  “There are several ShadowProtect threads in the Wilder's Security Forum”
I wonder why users are posting questions on the Wilder site, when StorageCraft provides it own forums?  By the way, I know that you especially appreciate quality technical support—and, for this reason, I believe that you’ll be pleased to see the interactions occurring on the StorageCraft forums, which include prompt and excellent commentary directly from company personnel.

P.S.:  For those who are interested, please see ShadowProtect 3.0 Demo for a 15-minute movie that illustrates ShadowProtect in operation.
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #13 - Sep 23rd, 2007 at 6:27pm
 
NightOwl, don't know if it will help with your project (Reply #11), but see Read machine name and bios version for an example of how to retrieve the characteristics of the PC BIOS from the Win32_BIOS Class.
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #14 - Sep 27th, 2007 at 9:25am
 
Pleonasm wrote on Sep 19th, 2007 at 7:03am:
Brian, on a side note, isn't it amazing that you posted a question on the StorageCraft Support Forum and — not only was the question answered by a technical support representative — but that person actually authored and shared code to help with the problem?  Personally, this level of support (in a pre-sales mode, no less) is above and beyond my experience with many other companies.

Huntnyc, have you tested the use of any of these approaches to automate the execution of the verify image operation with ShadowProtect?


Their support has been excellent.  No, I have not tried any methods regarding automating verify.  i guess I will just wait until it is in the UI.  Sorry I did not respond to this but for some reason did not receive email notification on the thread.  Hopefully, I will in future.

Gary
 
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