Has a Mirror Image (Bare Metal/Full) Backup Been Recommended for your System? DataHEALTH has a more efficient option!

A question frequently asked of DataHEALTH Representatives is “Do you do a full backup (mirror image backup)?” DataHEALTH can perform mirror image backups, however, they are not preferred or even necessary in most cases. DataHEALTH stores master copies along with iterations which we find to be more efficient. A master copy is the entire data file less the program file. An iteration (change) is a snapshot in time compared to the original master.

Utilizing the method of iterations during backup, DataHEALTH creates one master copy along with 13 iterations every 14 days. So, in a 30-day period there are two masters and 28 iterations of the same file. DataHEALTH protects the integrity of the backup by incorporating an ongoing health check for any anomaly that may arise during the backup period.

The Mirror Image method is also referred to as bare metal or full backups. This backup method takes a snapshot of the entire machine including programs, hardware drivers, personalized user settings, desktop themes plus the user data. In theory this seems like the best plan; however, there are some issues especially when restoring the image to a new machine.

A similarity between the two methods is that the restore time is about the same with either. Below you’ll find a pros vs cons comparison of the two methods.

Pros and Cons of Mirror Image vs Master Copy with Iterations


Mirror Image

  • Captures all user & computer settings
  • Stores Desktop themes. i.e. settings, type of hardware attached to system. (Only beneficial if restoring to exact machine.)
  • All user data.
  • May not have to reinstall programs (not guaranteed.)
  • Storing programs add storage space and cost that’s not needed since they are easily reinstalled.
  • If not restoring to the exact same machine, hardware differences will create time consuming errors/challenges.
  • Longer backup time required.
  • May not be able to utilize the machine during the backup process.
  • The method may not use VSS* so if actively using a file while the backup occurs it could become corrupt.

Master Copy with Iterations

  • More cost effective. Smaller storage size due to only storing critical data.
  • Backup takes less time. (minutes vs hours)
  • iDrive advantage**
  • Lower internet speed & bandwidth requirements.
  • DataHEALTH’s platform uses VSS* to take a snapshot of the file. (Most files can be accessed while being backed up.)***
  • Programs need to be manually installed.
  • Will need to reconfigure personal settings. (Would have to with mirror image on a new machine anyway.)
  • In rare instances, backup structure can become corrupt making the entire backup set unusable. However, due to the continuous health check DataHEALTH utilizes, this is not an issue.

* Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) is a method of backing up the file while the file is actively in use. **With iDrive advantage -you can spool up your server either online or locally within a matter of minutes. It can serve as a temporary substitute server online or locally. *** A small percentage of software inherently does not work well with VSS. However, procedures can accommodate the backup of this data.

Some added benefits using DataHEALTH’s backup platform:

  • Can back up online content (content that’s not local to your computer) i.e. Microsoft Office 365, Sales Force, G Suite.
  • Can also store:
    • Exchange server
    • Email messages
    • Sharepoint server
    • VMware- virtual machine infrastructures
  • DataHEALTH only installs one agent to reach across the entire network. Therefore, software isn’t installed on every machine.

DataHEALTH is capable of performing mirror image backups if preferred by the customer. However, DataHEALTH recommends the iterations method. Using iterations, the data takes up less space, requires less time, internet speed & bandwidth, uses VSS and health check.

Contact DataHEALTH today at 888-656-3282, Option 1 to sign up for cloud backup service.

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