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Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less” (Read 7137 times)
Pleonasm
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Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Jan 7th, 2008 at 11:51am
 
In the spirit of “full disclosure,” I must admit to the forum community that my image backup utility of choice is no longer Norton Ghost (NG), having made the switch to ShadowProtect Desktop (SPD) by StorageCraft.

I like SPD not only for what the product has (e.g., ability to backup from within the Recovery Environment), but also for what the product doesn’t have (e.g., folder/file backup).  In addition, I am astounded by the professionalism and availability of support provided by StorageCraft, through its user forum as well as by email and telephone.

Ah, I would certainly recommend NG to anyone, but my preferences have changed to SPD.

Change happens.  Rad switches to Norton Ghost 12.  Pleonasm switches to ShadowProtect Desktop.  What will happen to the preferences of Brian, NightOwl, El_Pescador and others?

P.S.:  Does my switch from Norton Ghost mean that I am now a persona non grata on this forum?   Sad
 

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: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #1 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 1:32pm
 
Accurate and orderly comparison in your other post and thanks.  i agree with your observations and I have been using SPD for quite a while now.  I was going to respond to your ocmparison in other thread by pointing out the very thing you mentioned regarding the relative leanness of this product while still packing a reasonable enough feature list to hold and keep my loayalty as my primary imaging product.  Imaging programs that have ballooned and morphed into jacks of all trades in backup technology have not appealed to me at all. 

Again, thank you for review and I would hope maybe other ocmpanies might eventually to some rethinking about the directions of their imaging products and at least offer some more focused slimmer alternatives to the public.

Gary
 
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Rad
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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #2 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 2:06pm
 
I've long been of the opinion that *some* type of imagine/cloning utility is far more important than *which* one you use.

I'm curious tho .. as to the "confidence" factor. I mean, features are nice, and support wonderful, but how do you mangage to put your TRUST in an app with which you have no experience?

What if (heaven forbid) you need top restore an image? Won't you be a little jittery?

That was the problem for me.

No, we still love you, Pleo, and look forward to hearing more about your new imaging utility. How much does it cost?

PS - Did you keep a spare Ghost image on hand? .. just in case.  Smiley

Linkage:

http://www.storagecraft.com/products/ShadowProtectDesktop/

Looks like 80 bucks:

http://store.storagecraft.com/acb/stores/1/

NS&R is ~ half that:

http://www.buy.com/prod/norton-save-restore-2-0/q/loc/105/204038662.html
 
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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #3 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 4:27pm
 
Rad, not speaking for Pleonasm but I have used and restored images with Acronis True Image, Ghost 9 and 10, Powerquest products, Image for Windows and lastly with ShadowProtect.  Have had no failures with SPD.  That does not mean there will be a fialure but it does help me to rtust in the app, as much as I trusted in various other image apps.  Also, as Pleonasm mentioned in his overview in the other thread, the driver (older version used by Ghost 12) doing the "hot" imaging is developed by Storagecraft.  Therefore, it tells me that Symantec as well as Storagecraft have confidence in this technology made possible by the driver.

I am sure there are other factors involved regarding how the driver is integrated into the whole program and so forth but I would encourage anyone interested to give it a try.

Another positive is that the recovery VistaPE based CD really works on a very wide range of hardware and this has not been my experinece regarding other imaging programs but I will have to say that I never had problems along this line when I used Ghost 10.

Gary
 
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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #4 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 4:58pm
 
Rad, I completely agree that the use of any image backup utility is better than none.

Concerning the issue of confidence, at the end of the day it is a personal decision.  You can read about the successes (and tribulations) of others, but confidence really comes from experience.  To-date, I have performed about three or four flawless restore operations with ShadowProtect Desktop, and so my own confidence level is very high in the product—even when restoring to a virtual machine and using the “hardware independent restore” functionality, which surely is more complex than just a normal restore.

It may be purely subjective, but my confidence in ShadowProtect Desktop is also increased by the fact that the core component—the snapshot driver produced by StorageCraft—will always be more “new & improved” in ShadowProtect than in Norton Ghost.

Yes, ShadowProtect Desktop ($80) is more expensive than Norton Ghost, but if it has the attributes you want/need (e.g., ability to create images from the Recovery Environment or excellent technical support), then it is quite worth the few extra dollars, in my opinion.  There is a time and a place to be a spendthrift, but it’s not when you are purchasing an image backup solution.  Additionally, if you purchase a maintenance agreement ($16/year), you also gain free access to all major upgrades issued by StorageCraft during its term.

I don’t think it is wise or helpful to argue that ShadowProtect Desktop is “better/worse” than Norton Ghost, especially since there is so much “overlap” between the two.  I think a better way to think about the problem is “fit”:  which image backup utility is more appropriately aligned with your needs and preferences?  The answer to that latter question will, of course, vary for each individual.

P.S.:  Good to know that I have not been banned from this forum as a consequence of switching to ShadowProtect Desktop!

Smiley
 

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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #5 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 6:52pm
 
yes, i agree about pinching pennies not being the place when considering an imaging utility. i realized that afterward. dumb of me.

a restorable back-up image can be priceless.

well, you got me interested, since i know how well researched you are. your confidence (and gary's) in the software gives me confidence.

the world of back-up imaging has room for users of all cloning tools.

tell me more about your virtual environment. what are you using, and for what purpose?
 
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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #6 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 7:22pm
 
huntnyc wrote on Jan 7th, 2008 at 1:32pm:
 I was going to respond to your ocmparison in other thread by pointing out the very thing you mentioned regarding the relative leanness of this product while still packing a reasonable enough feature list to hold and keep my loayalty as my primary imaging product.
Gary


I am a little intrigued by your comment on the "leanness" of the product. I use the Ghost from the GSS2.0.1 - which is the current version of the original Ghost for all my backups and I consider the program to be quite lean. Would be please comment further on the leanness of the program under discussion.

Rama  Smiley
 
 
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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #7 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 9:51pm
 
Installation file is around 11 MB or so.  Does not take up much disk space for a Windows based program in comparison to others.  Only other Windows imaging coming ahead of it is Image for Windows 2.0 as far as i know.  That's all I meant by leanness - less bloat compared to others.

Gary
 
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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #8 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 9:39am
 
Pleonasm

Quote:
P.S.:  Does my switch from Norton Ghost mean that I am now a persona non grata on this forum?

I don't think which *imaging program* you use determines your *membership* in the Radified Community--obviously the beginning and foundation of Rad's forum was his Ghost Guide for Symantec's imaging product--one of the first--but as hardware and software change over time--we all have to keep our options open for future needs that are not being met by previous products.

Quote:
In addition, I am astounded by the professionalism and availability of support provided by StorageCraft, through its user forum as well as by email and telephone.

I'm curious--how *big* is StorageCraft?  In the past, you have put forth that your level of confidence goes up in proportion to the size and market share of a company--equating bigger size with more resources to bring to bear on product development and customer service!  How does StorageCraft compare to Symantec?
 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are Wink !
 
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Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
Reply #9 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 2:55pm
 
Quote:
tell me more about your virtual environment...

Rad, I’ll start another thread on this subject in a week or two, so please “stay tuned” . . .

Quote:
...how *big* is StorageCraft...

NightOwl, it appears to be a privately held company, so not many details are known.
  • I did see one recent news release that the company has leased 6,629 square feet of office space.  If you assume an average of 100 square feet per employee, it would imply that the company has about 60 employees.
  • StorageCraft was founded in 2003.
  • StorageCraft is essentially focused exclusively upon image backup, so its resources are tightly allocated to this one problem domain.
  • If you think about, in a sense, every copy of Norton Ghost 9/10/12 that is sold is, in part, a StorageCraft product, too; since it contains at its heart the “snapshot” driver produced by StorageCraft that enables the creation of a “hot image”.

    Obviously, StorageCraft is smaller than Symantec, but Symantec offers a much, much broader range of products.  If you compare just the “hot image backup” team in Symantec to that of StorageCraft, I wonder whether or not there would be much of a difference in quantity of personnel or resources.  (Maybe Nbree would be able to offer insight on this point?)
  •  

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    nbree
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    Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
    Reply #10 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 4:45am
     
    Pleonasm wrote on Jan 8th, 2008 at 2:55pm:
    If you assume an average of 100 square feet per employee, it would imply that the company has about 60 employees.

    Apply a big margin of error for any kind of per-area estimate; because of the business disruption moves always cause, companies that are growing move into new facilities with overcapacity to deal with several years of growth. Secondly, testing facilities can take a lot of room. And lastly, with so much outsourcing going on these days it's a dicey thing to use bums on seats as a measure of business strength anyway.

    That's particularly true when it comes to the engineering side. The obligatory mention: orders of magnitude differences in developers, an observation that has basically been around since computing was in short pants. It's a real, real thing - which this short piece from an amazing collection of short essays provides an interesting evolutionary perspective on. The "long tail" at work.

    So, not only could the percentage of the company being engineering vary in a pretty wide band, ours is a field where even a single individual of extreme enough ability can make a disproportionate impact. It's not a numbers game.

    Quote:
    If you think about, in a sense, every copy of Norton Ghost 9/10/12 that is sold is, in part, a StorageCraft product, too; since it contains at its heart the “snapshot” driver produced by StorageCraft that enables the creation of a “hot image”.

    That's kinda an overstatement; the StorageCraft stuff was needed to primarily to implement (an equivalent to) the Microsoft defined IOCTL_VOLSNAP_FLUSH_AND_HOLD_WRITES command for Windows 2000 since Microsoft didn't want to backport their system to 2k.

    PowerQuest's imaging tools wanted a storage filter driver anyway to create a sector-change bitmap for their incrementals so there was a certain "fit" in their architectures which wasn't there with Ghost, but StorageCraft's piece of that driver was only necessary for Win2k.

    That doesn't diminish the fact that it was a good piece of work, which they've clearly built on since, I just wanted to point out that it's hardly central in a technical sense.

    Quote:
    Maybe Nbree would be able to offer insight on this point?

    Discussing those kind of business specifics would get me into hot water, and it's worth remembering that there are some ... extra dynamics, I guess you could call them, in terms of comparing a small company versus a corporate anyway that would make that kind of comparing hard and the results kinda moot even if they mattered at all (which I don't believe they do).
     
     
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    Pleonasm
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    Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
    Reply #11 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 5:17pm
     
    Quote:
    Apply a big margin of error for any kind of per-area estimate...

    Absolutely agree with your comments, Nbree.  My intention was only to provide a “guess-estimate”, based on the very limited information about StorageCraft that is publicly available.

    Quote:
    ...StorageCraft's piece of that driver was only necessary for Win2k.

    I am confused, Nbree, about this comment, since the version of “symsnap.sys” (6.0.1.21380) in Norton Ghost 12 is still a product of StorageCraft (as indicated by the copyright designation on the driver) and is used on Windows XP and Vista.

    By the way, a semi-technical description of the StorageCraft snapshot driver (aka “symsnap.sys” in Norton Ghost) is described in this post.  It is based upon this description that I labeled the “snapshot” capability as “central” to the “hot imaging” process.
     

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    Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
    Reply #12 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 6:19pm
     
    Having such a filter driver is central to hot imaging, but in Windows XP and above the snapshot facility is already there in the core OS through VOLSNAP.SYS -  as I said, V2i also needs a filter driver ***in exactly the same place in the I/O stack** to produce the changed-block bitmap for their incrementals, so don't read too much into it.
     
     
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    Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
    Reply #13 - Jan 10th, 2008 at 1:54am
     
    Huh. There I was having to be all elliptical since I wasn't allowed to mention it, but - but today it got announced on the last line of the linked post. Not that it's a consumer product, but it makes the point clearer that volume snapshot is just a standard piece of Windows XP onwards.
     
     
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    Re: Pleonasm Is “Ghost-less”
    Reply #14 - Jan 10th, 2008 at 10:05am
     
    Nbree, I fear that I may be asking a few elementary questions here, and - if so - I ask that you temporarily tolerate my ignorance . . .

    Quote:
    ...in Windows XP and above the snapshot facility is already there in the core OS through VOLSNAP.SYS -  as I said, V2i also needs a filter driver ***...

    To clarify, are you saying that in Windows XP and Vista, Norton Ghost 12 uses the Microsoft VOLSNAP.SYS for the “snapshot” functionality and the StorageCraft SYMSNAP.SYS driver only for its “changed-block bitmap” functionality?

    Quote:
    Well, I guess now is as good a time as any to make the following announcement:

    The next version of Ghost will deliver an integrated Universal Imaging capability - which will also work as a stand alone tool as well as integrated within clone tasks in the console.

    Ghost will make changes to the HAL, mass storage drivers & NIC drivers to suit the actual hardware found on the client machine.

    When used from within the Console, Ghost will detect the hardware and automatically download the correct drivers for each client machine. Of course this is subject to the drivers being in a driver database on the Console machine - we will provide simple tools for adding drivers to this db. Assuming the drivers are available in the db, all of this functionality will available by checking one check-box in the task.

    In the stand alone case, the driver database will have to be accessible during the clone operation. This could be achieved by embedding the drivers in the image (they could be deleted off the client after the clone & hardware retargeting has occurred), or available from a connected network share.

    We anticipate shipping this product in May, and are currently on schedule for this. Naturally I can not guarantee this time frame Smiley

    Oh, and in case I forget, you'll be able to create your images hot if you want ...
    Source:  Universal Image?!

    (1) This thread is in reference to the Ghost Solution Suite (GSS).  Do these same comments apply to Norton Ghost 12, too?

    (2) Does this announcement mean that the StorageCraft SYMSNAP.SYS driver will no longer be used by Norton Ghost 12?

    (3) Does the comment “you'll be able to create your images hot” mean that GSS will now support the ability to create an image of a Windows system partition while Windows is running (as can be done by Norton Ghost 12)?

    (4) Does the comment “Ghost will make changes to the HAL” mean that GSS will provide a “hardware independent restore” capability (i.e., restoring an image to a hardware configuration that is dissimilar to the one upon which it was based)?  Does this also mean that Norton Ghost 12 will now be able to offer a “hardware independent restore” capability, too?

    Thank you.
     

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