Dynamic storage support in Acronis True Image Server
Dynamic disks are a central part of Windows storage management on the Server and XP Professional platforms, but the same features that make them so powerful make them difficult for conventional disk image software and backups to handle. Server versions of Acronis True Image disk imaging software meet the challenge in several ways.
Simply put, dynamic disks offer more management flexibility without the partition limitation of conventional (or "basic" in Microsoft-speak) storage. Dynamic disks can contain an unlimited number of volumes, but they cannot contain partitions or logical drives.
Volumes in dynamic disks can span several physical disks (spanned disks), or be striped across multiple disks for better performance (in striping, parts of the same file are physically located on multiple physical disk drives). Volumes in dynamic disks can also be mirrored or set up as a RAID 5 array. Dynamic volumes can even be confined to a single disk.
Since you can perform disk and volume operations on dynamic disks without restarting Windows, dynamic storage gives storage administrators a lot of options to deal with the rising flood of data. However, because dynamic disk volumes are usually virtual volumes rather than contiguous chunks of space on a single disk, they pose special problems for backup and especially for disk imaging software.
Dynamic storage is a good-news/bad-news proposition. While dynamic disks offer new powerful tools, they also have some serious limitations that aren't present with conventional disks. Many of these limits relate to backup and restoration.
Dynamic storage can scatter pieces of files across several disks, which means that many conventional disk imaging tools that read blocks off the disk sequentially won't capture a usable image.
Dynamic volumes are the key to managing dynamic storage. Rather than dealing with dynamic disks, Acronis True Image Server and Acronis True Image Enterprise Server makes images at the volume level, something like backing up a basic hard disk and partition at a time. As a result, you get fast, flexible backup of dynamic storage data without having to worry about the way the data is distributed across physical disks.