August 05, 2006
Press release

Acronis True Image 9.1 Enterprise Server pt. 3

Complete Transcript of Stephen Lawton — Acronis Interview Let's Talk Computers August 5th 2006

Virtual Machine and Virtual Server Technology require a special "Backup and Recovery Strategy"

Alan: Here on Let's Talk Computers, we talk a lot about how important it is to back up all your workstations, and we talk about backing up all your servers, but what about this new breed of machines, called "virtual machines", or "virtual servers"? This takes a special type of software to back these up. Today, we'll continue our conversation with Stephen Lawton, Senior Director of Strategic Marketing with Acronis. And welcome back to Let's Talk Computers, Stephen.

Stephen: Thanks for having me back.

Alan: Talking about a virtual machine — it has to have all the requirements of an actual, physical computer, plus it has virtual components that are not hardware. How does this come together?

Stephen: A lot of companies are considering the installation of virtual servers as a way of reducing the number of physical boxes that they have in their building. Now, you've got to cut costs everywhere. How do you cut costs on the IT side? Well, you reduce the number of physical servers and increase your number of virtual servers. We talk about virtualizing software. There's also virtualizing hardware, and virtualizing software, and virtualizing storage. There are so many different types of virtualization out there. There's a new website that's going on line, called That's a website that will be again, "vendor agnostic", just talking about education issues for anybody that's interested in using virtual technology. That's a website, I don't believe it's up yet, but your listeners may want to check it over the course of the next week or so. I understand it should be going up very, very soon. (Note: Let's Talk Computers has found that this site is active at the time of transcript.)

Alan: I know we had Microsoft on the air some time back, talking about their virtual servers, their virtual machines in the workplace of the future.

Stephen: We work very closely with Microsoft; as a matter of fact, when Microsoft announced Virtual Server 2005, back in October of last year, we were part of that announcement. We work very well in Microsoft environment. We work exceedingly well in a VMware environment, as well.

Alan: The ability to back up virtual machines. Because, there's a lot of software out there that doesn't.

Stephen: One of the things that a lot of companies are looking at is taking a physical machine and then putting it out on a virtual machine and they think, "Isn't this great, we've just eliminated one physical piece of hardware?" Well, there are some applications that, quite frankly, will not work in a virtual environment. They must have a physical machine. We have the ability to take a virtual machine and move them to a physical environment. That's really important.

Alan: That is a very important piece of news, because when you start doing backups, especially in large corporations, being able to move datasets from one machine to another machine, to a virtual machine, from a virtual machine to a physical machine, is where it's at, now.

Stephen: You might want to think of 2006, as "the boom of virtual servers". There's been so much development work, so much progress made by the various virtual software vendors. Virtual servers may have a different hardware configuration from the box that you've moving your data from.

And with Acronis True Image Universal Restore, we actually have the ability now, to take that image of the physical box, (let's say you might have it on a Dell Server), and restore that image to an IBM Server, running VMware or Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. And whatever the physical devices are in that server, we can allow the user to add those drivers during the restore process. And the system will be back up and running again, as if you were putting it right back on the same piece of hardware.

Alan: Especially in a development environment, if you're doing software developing, there are points in time where you want to go back and find out what did I do two weeks ago? That worked and what I'm doing now is not even close to working. I wish I had back what I had two weeks ago. And if you're just doing backups after backups, that's not going to really work.

Stephen: When you're doing development work, you might want to build the system, put on a virtual server, and test it. Test multiple components. Test different software configurations. You can do that with images. And you can do that very easily in a VMware environment or Microsoft environment, or if you're on a workstation, using something like Parallels or Xen, put the different versions on different virtual machines and run them simultaneously. Just move from one virtual machine to another.

Alan: More businesses are moving to the 64-bit hardware. That brings its own set of "Gotchas", too, doesn't it?

Stephen: The 64-bit hardware is becoming a standard in certain industries, which is the financial services industry, where not only are they saying, "we're only going to buy 64-bit hardware", to be future approved, but we're only going to buy 64-bit applications future approved, as well." When you start combining 64 and 32-bit, it can be a real challenge. Acronis has looked at this and we now have full 64-bit-support support. We don't care what the hardware is. Again, we're hardware agnostic; we're software agnostic. You can have 64-bit software applications, 32-bit, you can have them both on the same machine. And we can image them, as well as if we were imaging a Windows XP machine that you picked up for your kid's college days.

Now, you can take an image, restore that image, either to the same hardware or, (and this is very important), different hardware. And it doesn't matter. It'll restore right back to a known, good state.

Alan: And a corporation, one of the things that administrators do is they write custom scripts. They want to be notified about what did get backed up; they want to know what didn't get backed up. And how customizable is the Enterprise Edition? Can we put our own scripts in?

Stephen: The Enterprise Edition is extremely customizable. We absolutely do not only house scripting, but we encourage it. There's s much information that is company-specific that you need to know. We're constantly expanding our scripting capability. Today, you can certainly write your own scripts. We do have a command line interface. From that interface, there's a great deal of flexibility for the IT Manager. And we're continuing to add additional flexibility to each new build.

One of the things that we do encourage all of our users, whether it's the Home Product or the Corporate Product, is to come back to our website frequently and to see if there are new builds being put up on the website. If you have a current version of Acronis True Image 9.1, whether it's the Corporate Workstation or the Server, you can continue to get free downloads, (free builds), as long as that's the current version of the Product. We're constantly adding new capabilities. The edition of the DVD Writing was a free update to the Product. We don't charge for that.

Alan: Again, I can't express how important that is — is to always have the latest version of the software. When you are backing up mission critical files, you want to make sure that if any bugs are found or anything that has changed, that you always get the latest.

Stephen: We have the ability to download the latest build. We have not implemented an automatic download. We still leave it up the IT Manager. And we do that deliberately, because again, we're trying not to bog down systems with a lot of background operations that would eat up network time or CPU time. So, we want the IT Manager to know when this is being done.

Alan: To an IT Manager, the worst thing is something that automatically gets done without his permission. And if it does right, hey, that's fine, but if it gets done wrong, that could be a major headache to and Administrator, can't it?

Stephen: You know, it absolutely can. And Windows Update, it'll automatically go out and download updates and then want to reboot your machine. And if you're not there to say, "Don't reboot", it'll reboot it automatically. I've seen it happen where users have lost data because a machine has rebooted automatically and they weren't there to save the latest document.

Alan: And corporations, and especially in medium-sized businesses, what kind of bandwidth we have on our network is critical. If we're trying to do critic data updating, we really don't want to do backups on top of that. You actually have it where you can set throttle?

Stephen: We allow you to set not only, the priority of the job, but how much bandwidth your backup will take, vs. other applications that you have running. For example, if you do have an application running and that application must have a certain amount of bandwidth to operate correctly, you can lower the priority of the backup and make sure that that application gets the amount of network bandwidth it needs. By the same token, we also allow you to set the priority on the hard disk. So, the backup doesn't take too much hard disk time away from the other applications. You can prioritize the jobs so that the applications that must have the most hard disk read-write priority will get that over the backup.

Alan: I don't know how many times when I'm working with a client and we may be logging in offsite, and the first thing is, that they have to apologize to me for is probably that it's after-hours and two, that they're saying, "Well, the whole network is slow because we're doing backups right now," — then you really don't know how to do backups.

Stephen: There are very few excuses for a slow network. There's a lot that can be done to optimize a network. IT Managers and Network Managers lose sleep over that everyday. Trying to figure out how to make their networks faster. The last thing you want to do is to add another application that's going to "bog down" that network. And your backup certainly does not have to be bogging down the network.

Alan: And the other thing that I've seen, so many times is that backups back up things that are not important, because software programs do not have the ability to decide what to backup and what not to backup. Like, I could just really see me backing up all my temporary Internet files for every workstation that is in my organization. That's ridiculous, isn't it?

Stephen: I think it's worse than that. You might have an employee who got an .mp3 file to play on his machine, while he's working in the back shop or you might have another employee that is bringing in a lot of digital photographs to share. With Acronis True Image, we can exclude certain extensions and you have to put in that extension that you want to exclude. So, if you want to exclude all .mp3 files or all .gifs of all .tifs, you may not need to save image files; what you need are your data files or your spreadsheet file. You might custom extensions that go with special software that you have.

So, you can make sure that you're not backing up anything that's just going to fill space, and take up time. Again, you want your network to run as quickly as it can. You don't want to be backing up all of the .mp3 files that your employees are putting on their office computers.

Alan:Plus the fact that you don't want to be backing up say, locally. And to make sure that everything that you're backing up stays locally, you want to have the ability to say, maybe backup to an FTP Server. Can we do that?

Stephen: Absolutely. We realize that IT Managers have a lot of choices. There's a lot of different places that they want to backup their images. Again, there's a question of how quickly can I restore this image? Where am I going to put it, where I can get to it, most quickly? And if that means putting it on an FTP site, where I can reach that site very quickly from any where in the world, we're not going to stop them from doing that. We're building in the capabilities for them to store their images anywhere, so that they can get to their image as quickly as possible.

Alan: What are we looking as far as the cost of the True Image Server and what are looking at as far as the Enterprise?

Stephen: The suggest list price for the Standalone Acronis Image Server for either Linux or Windows, is $699. For the Enterprise Server, it's $999. The only option that we offer is the Universal Restore Option, and I strongly recommend that is something that everybody needs. That's an additional $299. For an Enterprise Server with all the bells and whistles, you're looking at roughly $1,200.

Alan: And if somebody would like to find more information about your products, and especially backup strategy in general, can they go to your website and find a lot of White Papers?

Stephen: They can find White Papers; we have a section that we call Resources, that includes little tips, short little snippets on for example, why do you back up, how do you back up? What should you look at, what should you consider when you're doing a backup. There's a tremendous amount of information there. There are Technical White Papers; there are Key Studies of how various customers of ours have used our technology. They can find everything at and then simply click on resources. That'll take the customer to the Acronis Resource Center.

Alan: So, they can find out what the difference between a differential backup and an incremental backup and a full backup. So many times you see backups, it's a father, grandfather, you type process hierarchy and they're looking at it and you say, "I have no idea what you're talking about. All I want to do is make sure that all of their computers and all of their critical data gets backed up."

Stephen: Absolutely. And that's what the Tips and Tricks are all about. It's vendor neutral. We talk about what's the storage tip of the month or what's "clustering storage"? How do you do different things, and it's really there as an education for the customer. These are not Acronis-specific questions. These are questions that questions that a Network Manager and an IT Manager will face every single day. It's a great resource and we add the Resource Center, we're adding more articles and more Tips and Tricks.

Alan: Stephen, again, it's been our pleasure to have you as our guest here on Let's Talk Computers, and we look forward to next time.

Stephen: Thanks so much for having me and I look forward to coming back again.

About Acronis:

Acronis is a global cyber protection company that provides natively integrated cybersecurity, data protection, and endpoint management for managed service providers (MSPs), small and medium businesses (SMBs), and enterprise IT departments. Acronis solutions are highly efficient and designed to identify, prevent, detect, respond, remediate, and recover from modern cyberthreats with minimal downtime, ensuring data integrity and business continuity. Acronis offers the most comprehensive security solution on the market for MSPs with its unique ability to meet the needs of diverse and distributed IT environments.

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses. Learn more at
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