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Norton Ghost 14 - continued (Read 24347 times)
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Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Mar 9th, 2008 at 8:59am
 
This new thread is a continuation of the orginal thread titled "Norton Ghost 14," which has grown to 5 pages:

http://radified.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1202684531
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #1 - Mar 9th, 2008 at 12:05pm
 
Quote:
Pleonasm, can you check the version of *snap.sys in c:\windows\system32\drivers?  Volsnap.sys is the MS version, symsnap.sys is Symantec's licensed StorageCraft version.  I don't know what the filename is in the StorageCraft version.

Bill, the StorageCraft Volume Snapshot Driver is:  “C:\Windows\System32\drivers\stcvsm.sys” (version 2.1.0.29).
 

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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #2 - Mar 21st, 2008 at 9:53am
 
NG14 has licensed updated technology from Storagecraft, and fully supports VSS (volume shadowing).  This is arguably the most important factor to consider when looking at hot image backup software.  You can tell NG14 supports it by running the vssadmin command:

Code:

C:\Documents and Settings\Woodb000>vssadmin list providers
vssadmin 1.0 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001 Microsoft Corp.

Provider name: 'Symantec Software VSS Provider'
Provider type: Software
Provider Id: {262b716e-bb23-41b5-aaef-e2c15e767167}
Version: 1.0

Provider name: 'MS Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
Provider type: System
Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
Version: 1.0.0.7


I checked the symsnap.sys file in NG14, and its made by Storagecraft, version 7.0.1.24397, Copyright 2001-2008.

NG10 does not have a VSS provider.

Can someone with NG12 run the "vssadmin list providers" command to see if NG12 has a VSS provider?  Also, what is the version of symsnap.sys?
 
 
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #3 - Mar 21st, 2008 at 1:12pm
 
Bill, this is from NG12 (Vista SP1):

Quote:
C:\Windows\system32>vssadmin list providers
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.

Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
   Provider type: System
   Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
   Version: 1.0.0.7


symsnap.sys is version 6.0.1.22984 (again NG12 Vista SP1), modified dated 10/5/2007
 

Ghost4me  Ghost 9, 10, 12, 14, 15.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7
 
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #4 - Mar 21st, 2008 at 2:55pm
 
John. wrote on Mar 21st, 2008 at 1:12pm:
Bill, this is from NG12 (Vista SP1):

Quote:
C:\Windows\system32>vssadmin list providers
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2005 Microsoft Corp.

Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
   Provider type: System
   Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
   Version: 1.0.0.7


symsnap.sys is version 6.0.1.22984 (again NG12 Vista SP1), modified dated 10/5/2007


Wow, interesting - NG14 is actually the first version of Ghost with a true VSS provider.  Among other things, this means that you can use it to back up programs like Exchange that are VSS-aware and can put their database in a consistent state before the backup begins.

This would seem to be the major benefit of NG14 over NG12?
 
 
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #5 - Mar 22nd, 2008 at 2:51pm
 
Bill, unless I am misunderstanding the situation, the existence of the Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider isn’t a feature of Norton Ghost 12 or 14; rather, it is a feature of (some editions of) Windows Vista.

Quote:
…this means that you can use it to back up programs like Exchange that are VSS-aware and can put their database in a consistent state before the backup begins.

The situation may have changed, but as of August 2006, your assertion wasn’t true:

Quote:
Microsoft provides a framework called the "Volume Shadow Copy Service" (VSS) to assist in the creation of clean backups. This service can be used by backup products (called "VSS Requestors"), as well as by applications (called "VSS writers), which create data (such as Exchange, SQL Server, etc). When a backup product requests a backup, it can tell VSS to "quiesce" these VSS-aware applications. This will cause these applications to perform a quick flush of their critical data, without interrupting anything, so that the snapshot device driver will capture their data in its optimal state. Interacting properly with VSS is critical to performing a good quality backup and if you are an enterprise customer you really need to give this particular issue some weight. Symantec's online knowledge base indicates that you must take down your Exchange server in order to successfully backup its data. StorageCraft and Acronis allow you to backup your Exchange server without taking it down. VSS-aware snapshot device drivers which provide snapshots of volumes to backup software are called "VSS Software Providers" and of the three products only StorageCraft's snapshot device driver is a true VSS Software Provider. Neither Symantec's nor Acronis' device driver is a VSS software provider. You can verify this by installing these three products and then typing the command: C:\> vssadmin list providers You will see Microsoft's system provider "volsnap" as well as StorageCraft's VSS software provider.
Source:  http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=829901&postcount=275

Note that when I run “vssadmin list providers” on my Windows Vista Business SP1 system, it explicitly reports the existence of the StorageCraft VSS provider:

Quote:
Provider name: 'StorageCraft Volume Snapshot Software Provider'
Provider type: Software
Version: 1.0.0.0

Provider name: 'Microsoft Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
Provider type: System
Version: 1.0.0.7
 

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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #6 - Mar 22nd, 2008 at 9:23pm
 
Pleonasm, you must have missed my earlier post.  NG14 does have a VSS storage provider, albeit created by Storagecraft - this is what I get on my Windows XP machine:
Quote:
C:\Documents and Settings\Woodb000>vssadmin list providers
vssadmin 1.0 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001 Microsoft Corp.

Provider name: 'Symantec Software VSS Provider'
Provider type: Software
Provider Id: {262b716e-bb23-41b5-aaef-e2c15e767167}
Version: 1.0

Provider name: 'MS Software Shadow Copy provider 1.0'
Provider type: System
Provider Id: {b5946137-7b9f-4925-af80-51abd60b20d5}
Version: 1.0.0.7

So that Aug 2006 quote is out of date, it applies to NG12 but not to NG 14.  See my point?

Also, the MS VSS provider has existed since at least Windows XP.
 
 
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #7 - Mar 23rd, 2008 at 12:13pm
 
Bill, I see your point – thanks for the clarification.  Interestingly, however, the user guide for Norton Ghost 14 contains no assertion that the utility is “VSS-aware”.
 

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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #8 - Mar 23rd, 2008 at 5:19pm
 
Yes, I don't know why they don't publicize it.  The NG10 Readme.txt file specifically notes that its not:
Quote:
****************************************************************
KNOWN PRODUCT ISSUES
****************************************************************

This section includes known issues that were not yet resolved when Symantec Norton Ghost shipped to customers.

----------------------------------------------------------------
General Issues
----------------------------------------------------------------

1. Norton Ghost is not integrated with Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy service

However, the NG14 readme makes no mention of the fact that it is a VSS provider.
 
 
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #9 - Mar 24th, 2008 at 2:38pm
 
While not trying to be pedantic, Norton Ghost should be called a “VSS requestor" rather than a “VSS provider”.

Quote:
Requestors: Initiating Shadow Copy Creation

The Volume Shadow Copy Service is invoked by the requestor, which is typically a backup application that creates shadow copy volumes to back up data while the source volume continues to operate in production. Requestors can also be management applications that manage shadow copy creation and usage, or fast recovery solutions which are specific products that reduce service level agreement (SLA) times for specific applications.

The requestor also communicates with the writers to gather information about what should be backed up and how it should be backed up.

Software-based Providers

Software-based shadow copy providers typically intercept and process I/O requests in a software layer between the file system and the volume manager software.

These providers are implemented as a user-mode DLL component and at least one kernel-mode device driver, typically a storage filter driver. The work of creating these shadow copies is done in software.

A software-based shadow copy provider must maintain a “point-in-time” view of a volume by having access to a data set that can be used to recreate volume status prior to the shadow copy. An example of this is the copy-on-write technique of the system provider. However, the Volume Shadow Copy Service places no restrictions on what technique software-based providers use to create and maintain shadow copies.
Source:  How Volume Shadow Copy Service Works

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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #10 - Mar 24th, 2008 at 5:37pm
 
NG14 is both a requester and a provider, as is ShadowProtect.  When backing up, it requests services from the provider to maintain the "point-in-time" view of a volume.  According to the Storagecraft forums, the MS provider is buggy (leaks memory), perhaps that's why Storagecraft created their own and licensed it to Symantec.
 
 
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #11 - Mar 25th, 2008 at 11:51am
 
Quote:
NG14 is both a requester and a provider…

Depends on what you mean by “NG14.”  From my viewpoint, the Symantec application (i.e., Norton Ghost 14) is a “VSS requestor” only, and the StorageCraft Volume Snapshot Driver is a “VSS provider.”  True, these two components are packaged together into one product, but they are nonetheless distinct.

Quote:
…the MS provider is buggy (leaks memory)…

I have also read that the StorageCraft provider is faster than the one from Microsoft.  Additionally, it is my understanding that StorageCraft licenses an older version of its Volume Snapshot Driver to Symantec – i.e., the “latest & greatest” StorageCraft technology will be found in ShadowProtect but not in competitive products (e.g., Norton Ghost) that use the StorageCraft driver.
 

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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #12 - Mar 25th, 2008 at 4:36pm
 
That's why I asked you about the version number on your Storagecraft Volume Snapshot Driver, but the version was completely different than the Norton-supplied one by Storagecraft so no way to tell how "old" the Norton one is.  However, this discussion has established that it is the first time that NG has even licensed the provider technology from Storagecraft, so it could be relatively new and shiny and good.
 
 
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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #13 - Mar 26th, 2008 at 8:08am
 
Quote:
…it is the first time that NG has even licensed the provider technology from Storagecraft…

Actually, Symantec licensed and used the StorageCraft Volume Snapshot Driver years ago, beginning with Norton Ghost 9, and it is also present in version 10 and version 12, too.

The confusion here, I believe, is due to the fact that the StorageCraft driver can be used with or without VSS (see section 2.2 of the ShadowProtect Desktop Edition 3.1 User Guide).  As noted previously, VSS is a characteristic of the operating system and not of Norton Ghost or ShadowProtect.

Quote:
…the version number on your Storagecraft Volume Snapshot Driver, but the version was completely different than the Norton-supplied one by Storagecraft so no way to tell how "old" the Norton one is

Yes, I have looked at this previously, and it seems that there is no correspondence between the version numbers used by StorageCraft for their Volume Snapshot Driver when packaged with ShadowProtect versus with Norton Ghost.  I do recall reading, however, posts on the StorageCraft forums by company personnel stating that the Volume Snapshot Driver used by ShadowProtect is newer than that employed by competitive products.  It makes sense – StorageCraft is presumably ensuring that it maintains a competitive technological edge, even in the presence of sharing its “secret sauce” with the competition:  the best of both worlds, no?
 

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Re: Norton Ghost 14 - continued
Reply #14 - Mar 26th, 2008 at 3:57pm
 
A nice, easy-to-read overview of the architecture and use of VSS by a backup application can be found in this brief Dell white paper:  Volume Shadow Copy Service.
 

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