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Desktop Imaging – Good or Bad

bva gets many inquires about how should organizations back up local desktops.  Of course as technical professionals, bva recommends having nothing on the desktop with regards to important data.  But never the less it is always a subject matter that gets voiced and requested from management.  Having the ability to build and push an image to a user desktop is a great and easy way to ensure user satisfaction and lowers administration time.  That being said it is starting to be a common development when moving email into the cloud such as Exchange Online with BPOS/Office365.  There is currently no way of backing up the mail store which is painful.  That being said the way around that is to back-up the local OST file that can be backed up to local disk from the desktop.  Of course for restoration purposes you really need to move the OST to PST for restoring with typically takes another migration tool that is not free and needs to be purchased per mailbox.  A great way around that is to simply image the desktop and keep that image locally on slower or cheap disk.  That covers you on many levels from our perspectives and has many copies of data on different sets of hardware,  something to consider.

The popular software that we are using as of right now are as followed:

  • Acronis® Backup & Recovery™ 11 Advanced Workstation  Website Link – Use console to manage machines locally or remotely, Includes Acronis Management Server for single point of centralized management, Group machines into static on dynamic groups, Automatically include multiple machines or group of them to backup task, Monitor backup and recovery activities on all machines from a single place, Build customizable reports.
  • Symantec Backup Exec 2010 Desktop and Laptop Option  Website Link – With the majority of business-critical information residing outside the data center or off corporate servers, protection for desktops and laptops is a must. The enhanced Desktop and Laptop Option delivers continuous data protection to desktops and laptops whether in the office or on the road. Not only improving data protection and efficiency, this option enables users to restore their own files and maintains synchronization between multiple desktops and laptops so the most up-to-date file versions are available on all of a user’s computers. Because the Desktop and Laptop Option does not require a dedicated stand-alone server as competing products do, it easily integrates into existing IT infrastructure and policies, helping lower the total cost of ownership.  The new push-install functionality from within Backup Exec centralizes deployment. Backup Exec 2010 includes support for Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP 64-bit OS, as well as delta file transfer, reducing the total amount of data being backed up. With this release, this option is integrated with Backup Exec Retrieve (available with the Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server) for even greater simplified file recovery.