Paragon Software Wins “Best in Show”

Paragon Software Group was invited to the  Orange County SMBTN (SMB Technology Network) meeting in Irvine recently. The group consists of local IT consultants and resellers. The focus of this meeting was to have a shootout between the who’s who of disaster recovery software. The players in this competition were Acronis, Windows 7 imager, StorageCraft, Windows Home Server, Symantec and of course Paragon Software.

The scope of the comparison was all the source machines were to have a basic OS installation (no data). These machines would be backed up and timed. Once imaged the backup archives would be restored to dissimilar hardware.

All of the software preformed backups without errors except for Windows 7 imager. A time comparison was made and gig for gig Paragon’s speed was at 1 GB per minute to USB 2.0 which put it in the middle of the pack.

All the destination machines were booted to their respectable boot media. All were WinPE or Linux based. Paragon was the only software that had the option to boot to flash memory. Paragon was one of the only applications that was able to do this recovery to dissimilar hardware without extra steps. Paragon restored from a Gateway laptop running Vista to a Dell Latitude 6500.

For the next round of restores, the destination machines were switched. Paragon was tasked to restore on the same box where Storage Craft failed. Paragon Drive Backup restored the partition and did the P2P adjust. The restored image started without any issue on the optiplex 270.

SMB Technology Network, thank you for having us at your event and showcase our Drive Backup software. We appreciate getting the “Best in Show” award and look forward to the next meeting.

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The SMB Technology Network has its roots in partner groups focused on IT solutions & services for the SMB (Small Medium Business) space. Our focus includes Windows platforms including SBS (Small Business Server).  One of the first SBS focused groups in the nation was created in 2002 by Roger Otterson in San Diego, California.  Shortly after attending the San Diego meetings in 2005, Jim Locke formed the Los Angeles SMB User Group.  Additional groups have formed in, Orange and Ventura County, the Inland Empire, Bakersfield, Fresno and across the country including the Carolina’s.  All consolidated as SMBTN.  Each group holds monthly meetings to discuss the latest small business trends.  In addition, the group has partnered with Microsoft at Connections and TS2 events, further penetrating the SMB space.  All groups have decided to merge under one umbrella to best serve the interests of the members.  The network is in an exciting position, poised to further expand and generate new opportunities for both our members and partners.

The Top Five Problems of Virtual Server Migrations.

The top five troubles of migration to virtual environments. How to avoid or successfully solve them.

Migration to virtual environments is not always an easy operation. It includes many implicit issues, manipulations and processes, any of them can be incorrect or cause a failure for the entire server. Moreover the whole operation’s success relies on the initial scenario of the system migration.

Evaluations of virtual systems also demands several new approaches as it is significantly different from working with traditional physical machines. The top five issues you may face before, during and after a system migration are
described in this post. Each of them has a solution, but only Paragon Virtualization Manager unites them all.

#1 Changing target virtualization environment

Today you have a wide range of virtualization software (VS) to choose from. Some of them are free and a little reliable; others carry a price tag but have also been tested in large enterprises. It is always better to determine what functionality, security and support level you want from your virtualization vendor before its implementation. One wrong decision may cause significant expenses of both time and money.

But what if you really decided to change your virtualization software vendor? For example you have been disappointed in Microsoft Virtual PC and bought VMware Workstation. What will you do in this case? Or you

have bought a brand new Windows 7 OS alongside with its embedded virtualization environment and want to transfer all data from your Parallels virtual machines? The answers may be several, let’s describe some of them. The first way is most obvious: you just reinstall OS and software from a scratch. Then copy all data by any means. Of course this is the most time consuming solution. The benefit is that you do not need to use any additional utilities. But this scenario can be initially doomed If you do not have software distributives anymore.

The second way is to somehow store your virtualized system into an image and then restore it inside of another virtual machine (virtual machine). Deployment of the whole system with software and data is much faster than the previous scenario, but you have to use an imaging utility. If you chose this way you will need to adapt the recovered system for the new virtual machine environment because different virtualization software emulate different hardware.  Concerning Windows family OS this issue can be crucial as these systems are very hardware-sensitive.

The better choice would be using one solution, which supports reading data from both source and target virtualization software. It also should be system adaptation aware, that is it should automatically tune OS for the new virtual machine hardware.


Paragon Virtualization Manager
has all the needed functionality to accomplish this.

The solution of the problem with Paragon Virtualization Manager is the following:

  • Create the target virtual machine with an empty virtual drive.
  • Attach both source and target virtual disk files to Paragon
    Virtualization Manager with the ConnectVD tool. Paragon Virtualization
    Manager supports VMware Workstation, Microsoft Virtual PC and Sun VirtualBox
    virtual disk formats.
  • Copy all partitions from the source virtual disk to the target one. Thus you will get  the exact clone of your environment in the target virtual machine.
  • Perform target OS adaptation for different hardware with the P2P Adjust tool.

Finally you will get the needed virtual machine with all your software and data.

#2 Repartitioning of a virtualized system

The volumes configuration of your actual physical system before migration may not be appropriate for the virtual environment (VE). For example you may decide to reallocate space between partitions or distribute data to volumes on several virtual disks. Of course you cannot perform all these actions with the source environment itself,  repartitioning should be done inside of virtual machine.

You have several options here, the first one is to install a partitioning utility on the system inside virtual machine and use it for repartitioning. This approach is literally the same as for the physical system with two important moments:
You will have to acquire another license for the program installation (and usage) and set it up on the system, which is not the best choice since this solution is one-time use and will be redundant.

The second approach is to use a bootable media and run the virtual machine from it. You can leverage the utility without its installation but you will be constrained to the limits of the virtual machine. You will not be able to exchange data between disk files of different virtual machines or transfer data directly to the physical one.

Paragon Virtualization Manager is a much more comprehensive solution that is able to perform different repartitioning tasks, and copying and migration scenarios. If you have access to virtual disk files or snapshots you do not need to install the solution or boot the special environment. All you have to do is attach the virtual machine containers (virtual disk files, snapshots) and perform the needed operations. Paragon Virtualization Manager is able to treat data on virtual disks of running virtual machine, but in the read-only mode.

Just attach the needed virtual machine container (or several) with the ConnectVD tool of Paragon Virtualization Manager and you will be able to perform:

  • Create, format, delete volumes;
  • Move/resize partitions;
  • Convert file system;
  • Change cluster size;
  • Change partition ID and other parameters;
  • Merge partitions, redistribute free space;
  • Defragment file system;
  • Copy volumes;
  • Undelete partitions and much more;

Any data operations are easy to perform with Paragon Virtualization Manager. Its broad functional covers nearly all possible data management scenarios and it is all concentrated inside of one handy solution.

#3 Reviving outdated environments as virtual machines

Computer hardware is improving very fast; a high-end computer bought in the past year is a middle-class machine today and become outdated in the next year. So everybody makes upgrades or purchase brand-new systems. But if
you have a well-configured and tuned system with your favorite software you will naturally want to use it after computer upgrade. Unfortunately sometimes differences in the previous hardware and new one make this scenario
impossible.

The better option is to conserve your old environment inside of virtual machine. And again as in the first scenario you will have to deal with manual or utility-assistant migration process. However you probably have some archives
of your system, thus you become able to make virtual machine directly from such archive copy even if you do not have a physical machine anymore.

You may also have some old images of your system which you want to transfer into virtual environments for future use. virtual machine can be a handy substitute for any archived image as it can be run at any time. Combining all these sources as virtual machine is another task for Paragon Virtualization Manager that it successfully solves.

Paragon Virtualization Manager enables you to revive old environments with Windows OS (versions since Win2K) in a virtual machine with the help of the P2V Adjust tool. You can restore the old archive in a virtual machine by any means and then perform OS adaptation.

Moreover if you previously used other Paragon solutions for system imaging, you can simply convert or .PBF archives into virtual disks of the needed format. Just run the P2V Restore tool and Paragon Virtualization Manager will create
the virtual disk with all your software and data.

#4 Transferring data between virtual machines

Exchange of large amounts of data between several types of virtual environments can be a hard labor. You will have to use some kind of media to connect many virtual machines, which could be rather slow, unreliable and inconvenient. Also you probably will not want to download or install a particular tool to perform a single data transfer between your virtual machine and one you got from a remote source.

For example you need to quickly transfer data from a virtual machine to a brand new virtualized system. You may use a network connection, a flash thumb drive or any other mean, but only if both virtual machine can work with these things.

Paragon Virtualization Manager is the best choice for fast data transfer of large amounts of data between different virtual machines and physical computers. Its ConnectVD tool is able to attach as many virtual disks as you want, then you may do whatever you want with data on them.

Connection of snapshots is another great opportunity as you become able to rapidly copy some data from an old snapshot to the actual virtual machine you work with. Even if you make wrong actions or delete some files – you may simply copy them from the previously created snapshot or the archived image.

#5 Returning back to the physical machine

Deployments to a physical machine from a virtual one is even more difficult than initial migration to virtual (P2V). This is caused by a lack of appropriate solutions for this task on the market as there are only several typical virtual machine hardware configurations for each virtual vendor and the endless number of physical hardware configurations that the software will have to adjust to.

Despite that the issues of deploying to physical machines is not related with migration to virtual environments directly, this is kind of a backward process. You can face it if you made a mistake when chose the virtual vendor or decided to give up virtual implementations. It is also possible that you run a development server in virtual space and then need to transfer the data to a physical server.

The solution depends on what you exactly need to do with the data. It is not very difficult to copy some data from virtual machines to your computer, but a whole environment deployment is a rather complicated task.

As in the first scenario you can reinstall all from a scratch and copy data. The limitations are the same: absence of distributives and time expenses. As in the first scenario you can restore an image of the system, but you will face hardware incompatibility issues and get a non-functional system.

Paragon Virtualization Manager can significantly speed up the whole deployment process. Its tools can help you copy all data from the source virtual machine to a physical HDD and tune up the system.

The solution with Paragon Virtualization Manager is the following:

  • Boot the physical machine with Paragon Virtualization Manager WinPE media. Thus you will be able to use Paragon Virtualization Manager without any actual system installed on the computer.
  • Mount a network share or get access to the source virtual disk drive by any other way.
  • Attach the source virtual disk drive to Paragon Virtualization Manager with the ConnectVD function.
  • Copy all partitions from the virtual disk to physical one.
  • Perform target OS adaptation for the different hardware with P2P Adjust tool.

In the end you will get the physical machine with the needed software environment and data. Process speed depends on the amount of data that needs to be copied.

Paragon Virtualization Manager is able to help you successfully solve many tasks related to migration into virtual environments and virtualized data management. The key opportunity of Paragon Virtualization Manager is that it has comprehensive and diverse functionality inside of one application. Thus you do not need to search and buy different utilities to perform any task.

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A Better Backup for Mac OS

Every Mac has a backup utility called Time Machine, but given the opportunity for a different backup software many Mac fans . Time Machine has its pros and cons. Under the hood of a glossy interface with “bells and whistles” it’s nothing more than a simple file-backup utility, which can’t even work with locked files on demand. There is no simple way of restoring your system after a disaster. You will have to restore the Mac OS then use Time Machine to restore all of your files. Obviously this isn’t an ideal situation and a rather long procedure.

I want to tell you about Paragon Volume Snapshot for Mac, an application, which implements a new level of data security in the Mac World. As it can be seen from its name Snapshot for Mac is a snapshot technology application (as opposed to Time Machine). In fact Paragon Volume Snapshot is the first snapshot backup solution for Mac.

Snapshot Backup for Mac

Basically a snapshot is a image of your entire hard drive including your OS and data. Snapshot for Mac is an online-backup technology, thus it’s able to work with locked files and folders at the time of archive creation. It’s closely related with the Disk Image utility, so in the end you will get images as well-known DMG files. And finally, you can boot your Mac with the Mac OS X installation disc; perform quick restore of your whole application environment from a DMG image in several minutes without any fuss; boot your Mac as usually and continue your work as if nothing had happened.

Let’s see how to use the Paragon Volume Snapshot utility. Just click on the installation package, choose where to install Snapshot for Mac and restart your Mac. The restart is needed for kernel extension installation.

Click the Paragon Volume Snapshot icon in the Applications window, the program’s main window will open.

Here you can see all available volumes on hard drives in the system. Choose one you want to backup and click the “Backup” button.

The program will ask you where you want to store the image, we suggest you to use an external media (HDD or a flash drive) for this purpose. You may be prompted to enter the administrator credentials to continue.

Then you are all set. The backup will begin and you will take your first image of your Mac and have it stored for easy recovery. The Disk Image utility takes approximately 50% of one CPU resources for the DMG packing; the process is rather quick: 1GB of data per minute.

In the end you will get a DMG file with your system and data. You can mount this image as usual and recover some files and folders, or restore your whole environment later.

Paragon Volume Snapshot for Mac is a simple but robust solution, which you can use for disaster-recovery backup of your Mac computers. It provides a new level of data security that cannot be achieved with the use of Time Machine.

If you are interested in doing an online review of our Snapshot for Mac product, leave a comment.

Let us know what you think about Paragon Snapshot for Mac or your favorite Mac backup solution and you could win a copy for yourself.

A Tale About Adaptive Restore

For several years the company has been constantly improving the Adaptive Restore Technology which is intended to solve all issues with dissimilar hardware restore and migration. Its goal is to help you make an operating system functional again after any complex hardware replacement like installing a new motherboard or RAID controller.

The first version of Adaptive Restore supported only Vista and Windows 2008 operating systems due to use of a very simple adaptation algorithm. In short: because of the fact that these OS’s have many hardware drivers on board but in the inactive state the program just only activated them during adaptation assuming that it will make an OS bootable. There was not any possibility to add third-party drivers. The lack of this approach was obvious: some important drivers may not be found or adaptation should affect deep system layers. So the next version of Adaptive Restore was able to change OS core settings and install any additional drivers.

After several revisions Adaptive Restore become what it is now, a complicated technology with many background manipulations.

What makes Adaptive Restore Tick

Basically there are two main operations. First of all the program adjusts the OS kernel including proper HAL selection. Secondly the program installs any additional drivers. Now Adaptive Restore supports modern Vista, Windows 2008, Windows 7 operating systems alongside with deprecated Windows 2000 and going out of date Windows XP/Windows 2003.

Adaptive Restore is intended to be both simple and comprehensive. It usually doesn’t demand special attention or manual actions during the operation set up, but informs you about any hardware without properly installed drivers. Inexperienced users can completely rely on the internal Adaptive Restore algorithm during the operation when others, who feels themselves skilled enough, are able to change Adaptive Restore behavior.

If you choose a simple scenario you will need only to pass a path to the drivers’ repository in the program. There is no limit to amount of these repositories; the program will scan them all while searching for appropriate drivers. If the program fails it will ask you to provide a path to another repository. The lack of this scenario is that you cannot control which driver will be actually installed.

A long but detailed and interesting way to bring your system back on rails is to use the advanced Adaptive Restore scenario. In this case the program will provide you with additional Adaptive Restore parameters and tuning. First of all in this scenario you can see all the information about the hardware which drivers have to be installed for in an easy to understand manner with device names. Continue reading A Tale About Adaptive Restore

Backup Software Weekend Giveaway.

Backing up your computer is not an option. The thought of losing your precious pictures of  friends and family and your entire music collection should keep you up at night. A computer crash from that nasty virus you downloaded by accident from the website you shouldn’t have visited can erase everything you have in seconds.

You should have an external hard drive. If not, go over to our Facebook page and enter to win a free 1TB drive. Even without an external drive you do not have an excuse for not having a reliable backup of your computer.

Free Backup Software Giveaway

With the move to the new blog and a growing community around our products, we want to offer our readers a free copy of Drive Backup Professional. Typically sold for $49.00 we are going to give away this must have backup software. Do you want a copy? Of course you do. Continue reading Backup Software Weekend Giveaway.

Best Practices on Virtual Server Backup Strategy – White Paper

Are you looking for the best practices in implementing and maintaining a virtual server environment?

Download the latest white paper explaining the best practices in virtual server implementation and maintenance.

IT systems have become such an integral part of the business process that down-time must be avoided at all costs. Those responsible for enterprise systems, both large and small are asking tough questions when it comes to business continuity and disaster recovery, questions such as:

  • How can we keep down time to a minimum?
  • How can I future proof my business continuity solutions?
  • What new technologies deliver improved 24×7 access?
  • How can I demonstrate the Return on Investment (ROI) of a disaster recovery solution?
  • Is there a way to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with new technologies?
  • How can I build synergy into a backup solution that delivers future value?
  • How can I avoid dead-end technologies?
  • What criteria should I use to select and integrate recovery products?

Simply put, businesses large and small needing to maintain 24×7 access to IT resources are looking for a better way to deliver 24×7 access, prevent disasters and recover quickly from unpreventable events, all without breaking the bank and still maintain scalability with products that are future proofed. Continue reading Best Practices on Virtual Server Backup Strategy – White Paper

Partition Manager 11 – A Data Center’s Best Friend

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Paragon is about to release the latest version of Partition Manager and has built in technologies that have again made this product the leader in server optimization. Any server environment can use a tool like Partition Manager. The real power of the software can be seen when used in a data center. Partition Manager’s ability to redistribute free space across a large storage environment is a cost saving beast. Just ask RackSpace.

With this new release we are also introducing a virtual edition of the product that is ideal for companies using virtual machines to run applications and virtual storage space. We are going to be holding a webinar on Partition Manager 11. Register at the bottom of this post.

10 licenses of Partition Manager 11 Server will be given away to some lucky attendees.

Maximize performance of physical Windows® Server!

Partition Manager 11 Server includes all the functionality to maximize the use of storage while minimizing downtime and the required technical applications used when optimizing and administering a physical Windows Server.
· Partition alignment to boost performance of storage
· Drive re-partitioning and system optimization
· Comprehensive bootable environments
· Backup and disaster recovery options
· Disk Editor and Boot Corrector…

PM for Virtual Server
Manage hosts running virtual Windows® environments!

Partition Manager for Virtual Server bundles Partition Manager Server and Virtualization Manager to provide a cost-effective storage management for virtual machines that run on a single physical host

* License per physical system hosting up to 99 virtual machines
* Management of virtual machines
* Partition alignment to boost performance of storage
* P2V, V2V, V2P, and P2P migration for Windows OS
* Exclusive system reconfiguration and disaster recovery tools…

Continue reading Partition Manager 11 – A Data Center’s Best Friend

Volume Snapshot for Mac OS X

The only snapshot based backup solution for comprehensive protection of both data & systems!

Easily create an exact point-in-time copy of your data & system, and when a disaster strikes – get everything back in minutes. Unlike Time Machine and other file-level backup utilities, our solution has very fast backup and restore capabilities. Now you can backup running applications and locked system files, and if your system fails – there is no need re-install, just boot from the Mac® OS X Install DVD and launch the restore operation. This is a huge time saver compared to other methods.

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True live protection

Traditional backups involving file archiving has a number of drawbacks, like:

  • Running applications usually require exclusive rights for processed files, thus preventing a backup program from copying them.
  • During a volume backup to ensure accessibility of files and the data integrity, a program requires suspension and/or termination of all running applications. For high-capacity disk systems, this could take hours.

Snapshot-based backup easily solves these problems. It’s a common industry term denoting the ability to record the state of a storage device at any given moment (make a snapshot), and then preserve that snapshot as a guide for restoring the machine in case of emergency.

Fastest Recovery

The old way: In case of a system malfunction (it fails to boot), you should re-install the system first. To do that, you need to boot from a distributive CD and install the system (~40 minutes). After that, you need to set up Time Machine and roll back to the required state of the system. This process is time-consuming as it involves re-installation of the operating system.

The better way: With Paragon Snapshot for Mac you don’t need to re-install the system, just boot from a Mac OS X Installation DVD and restore via Disk Utility. Moreover, data retrieval from snapshot is accomplished through private interfaces, which is faster, than processing files on a file system level. Reduce the number of steps it takes to restore your system with Snapshot for Mac®.

Read more…

Adaptive Restore Week

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About two weeks ago I had a computer crash. Not just a bad virus or other corruption but my PC gave me the dreaded blue screen of death and nothing I seemed to do was going to bring my PC back from the dead. I had a recent backup image of my computer. I was using Drive Backup scheduled for an image on a weekly basis but that alone wasn’t going to help since I was going to need a completely new computer to replace the one that was fried. Granted it was time to buy a new computer, the one that died was on it’s last leg and was over 3 years old.

I ordered a new PC online and when it was delivered I wanted all of my old data to be on the new machine. I was sure that our product had functionality to do this but wasn’t exactly sure how it worked or how difficult it would be since I was now using a completely new set of hardware. I asked my favorite Tech Support rep how hard it would be to restore my computer on the new hardware and he just about  laughed at me. He explained that with Paragons Adaptive Restore, I could restore my backup image onto ANY computer and it would be just as easy as running a regular restore with one minor adjustment. Adaptive Restore would do the rest automatically. Continue reading Adaptive Restore Week

How to Search your iPod for Music and Video with Paragon HFS+ for Windows

Search your iPod for Music and Video with Paragon HFS+ for Windows.

If you have an iPod you may probably know that it contains all your music inside some sly hidden folders. And when you attach your iPod (excluding Touch models) to the system it can be seen as a simply Removable Flash Drive. It’s not a secret.

In case you use iPod with iTunes under Windows, its internal volume is FAT32 formatted. This file system is native for any Windows OS. So you can simply check it contents for special folders and music and do whatever you want with them. There is no any special issue.

But things are getting worse if your iPod was configured and synchronized with iTunes under Mac. In this case in Windows you’ll see just another RAW volume, which contents you cannot access.

Paragon HFS+ for Windows driver can solve this problem. Let’s see how it can help you.

After driver installation it becomes deeply embedded to the operating system. If there were any HFS+ volumes on internal hard drives, they become visible and accessible also. Any newly attached media with HFS+ partitions will be mounted automatically. So there are no special actions from your side.

As a Mac configured iPod contains the HFS+ volume with the help of the driver you become able to manage all data inside your player: music, video, files. As if it was synchronized under Windows.

Just plug your iPod in. Reject iTunes formatting proposal.

And manage all your files inside player storage, no matter where it was synchronized. You don’t need to bother what exactly file system it has. And don’t forget to safely unplug your player.

Moreover there are benefits from using your iPod with HFS+ internal file system even if you don’t have a Mac. HFS+ has several advantages over default FAT32. For example HFS+ isn’t affected by file fragmentation, which is a curse of FAT32. If you frequently modify your media library in your player with FAT32, write and change files, after some time your iPod will suffer a performance loss because of a large file fragmentation. HFS+ stores files differently and do not yield file fragments.

Also HFS+ is faster than FAT32 if you need to access to single files inside your player. So you will get a speed boost during file copying and synchronization.

The one limitation for using an iPod with HFS+ is that you cannot use the traditional iTunes player for music and video synchronization and playback. However this issue is solved very simply as there are many third-party players in the Internet.