I’m planning to add a computer to my home network which will act as a combination of a media server and backup for our other desktops. It’s going to have two or three Very Big Disks, with only the media partition backed up locally. All the other disks and partitions will be used only to back up other computers on the network. I’d been toying with buying a purpose-built NAS, but they seem temperamental, or expensive, or sometimes both, and this just seams easier and cheaper.
But I’m unsure exactly how to set this up. Ideally I would download or even buy some sort of tool which would load on the machines that need to be backed up and would automagically image the desktops in the dead of night and have a restore function I could run from a floppy or a CD. This dream tool would create a new image once a month, say, and incremental backups nightly. Each new image would, I suppose, have to overwrite the old one, as even the Very Big Disks are not going to be big enough to host multiple images from the many pretty big disks lurking on the various machines on our network.
Most of the machines that need backing up are running Win XP SP2, but one is dual-booting XP SP2 with SUSE, one runs SUSE alone, and one runs Ubuntu. For starters I’m most concerned with copying the XP2 machines and partitions, since they have work stuff on them, but in the long term I expect to transition the household to some flavor of Linux since Vista doesn’t seem acceptable. (There may be a holdout gaming machine for the kids if they are sufficiently persuasvie.)
I have a licensed copy of Win XP currently installed on the server-to-be. Inertia has an edge, but I could scrub it an put in some flavor of Linux. I’ve read both good and bad things about Norton Ghost 10.0 and Acronis, but little good about how either work for backing up to a network drive as opposed to attached storage. The feedback on Ghost suggests that the new version doesn’t image, and that the old one, which does, wants to be run from a floppy — that’s not a standalone, run in the background app. Worse, I fear I’d need one copy per machine I’m backing up — that gets expensive!
I found a list of Free Hard Disk / Partition Imaging and Cloning Software, but I don’t really want to trust something this critical to an unknown tool.
I don’t much like to bleg, but if anyone is doing this at home and has advice or pointers, I’d be grateful for it.