Acronis True Image Enterprise
As some of you know, I've been fighting to live with Windows Server 2003 SP2 and Virtual Server - without much success, I might add. I strongly suspect it's related to networking, but whatever the cause, it's been a disaster here. After losing two days last weekend, reinstalling Windows Server multiple times while I tried to figure out what the cause was, I finally got smart. I poked around and found my copy of the server version of Acronis True Image. After I got everything working as I wanted to, with the basic patches installed, all my apps on there (Gvim, Hypersnap, and PowerShell), I installed Acronis True Image on the host system and took a full image of the C:\ (system) drive of the server (an HP ML-350 G5) and stored it locally on the E: drive. So far so good. Then I set a task to do a differential backup every night. (I could have used an incremental backup if disk space had been in short supply, but opted for differential to provide the best possible fall back position.)
Well, sure enough, Friday night it started misbehaving, giving all the symptoms of last weekend. It was 10 o'clock at night so I left it and went to bed, Got up in the morning, still broken, so I fired off Acronis in the running Windows Server 2003 R2 x64 Enterprise Edition system. Click on Restore, walked through some prompts, told it to blow away the existing image and to restore the one from Wednesday morning. It rebooted the server, I went away to get a make coffee, and by the time I got back, I was looking at the Windows Server 2003 login prompt. For a moment I thought it hadn't run. Wrong - it had restored the image and booted back into Windows without any further intervention on my part. And with no muss, no fuss. Gotta love it. This is how things are supposed to work.