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Storage - Memory All devices that are used to store image data.

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  #1  
Old January 18th, 2009, 09:50 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Default Software utilities for 64-bit Windows OS

Hi folks,

I seeking some opinions about 2 specific utilities, Partitioning and Software mirroring for a Windows based environment. I've looked at several offerings and would like to hear some last minute user experiences before I decide.

From what I've read, the Paragon Partition manager seems to receive good scores.
As far as Software Disk Mirroring is concerned, MirrorFolder for data mirrors, and Acronis True Image for full disk mirroring/imaging, seems to receive good notes.

Are there better offerings you have experience with, heard about?

Bart
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  #2  
Old January 18th, 2009, 10:28 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Hi Bart,

So you have found out about the MirrorFolder. I was going to recommend it to you but I don't use it myself since I do not need real time mirroring. I use another synchronization program called Backer. It is not real time, but it syncronizes assigned folders with regular intervals. It has very powerful batching facilities as well.

Re. the other two, Paragon Partition Manager is great although you should also take a look at the Acronis Disk Director. I use the two programs from Acronis, the DD and the True Image. So far, together with Backer, they do everything I need to do and you know that I continuously juggle with multiple OSes and HDs in my PCs.

Cheers,
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  #3  
Old January 18th, 2009, 02:14 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
As far as Software Disk Mirroring is concerned, MirrorFolder for data mirrors,

Are there better offerings you have experience with, heard about?
I favor using version control over mirroring. Then you simply need to back up the version control archives.

This can be an expensive proposition in terms of disk space. But it is a spectacular way to manage project files. I use TortoiseSVN in 32-bit. I have not tried the only 64-bit server side I can find.

What is your workflow here? What are your goals? Are you looking for image archive backup? I make mirrored copies of RAW files with Image Ingester (not 64-bit AFAIK) when they move from CF to hard disk. Would that be a better place in your workflow?

Or are you looking to backup a clean install of your bootdrive with all your applications installed? Acronis True Image and other tools would meet that need. On 64-bit with enough RAM virtualization is another option for keeping your system clean. Virtualization also allows you to run legacy 32-bit apps in a 32-bit OS.
some thoughts,

Sean
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  #4  
Old January 18th, 2009, 04:33 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
I use another synchronization program called Backer. It is not real time, but it syncronizes assigned folders with regular intervals. It has very powerful batching facilities as well.

Re. the other two, Paragon Partition Manager is great although you should also take a look at the Acronis Disk Director. I use the two programs from Acronis, the DD and the True Image. So far, together with Backer, they do everything I need to do and you know that I continuously juggle with multiple OSes and HDs in my PCs.
Hi Cem,

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check them out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant View Post
I favor using version control over mirroring. Then you simply need to back up the version control archives.

This can be an expensive proposition in terms of disk space. But it is a spectacular way to manage project files. I use TortoiseSVN in 32-bit. I have not tried the only 64-bit server side I can find.
Hi Sean,

Also thanks for the suggestions. Versioning might be next on my list, although one might achieve similar results with incremental backups, but much less user friendly. I may consider it for larger project software development.

Quote:
What is your workflow here? What are your goals? Are you looking for image archive backup?
Valid questions! What I'm seeking to accomplish is multifold. First of all I want to be able and create/manage partitions for multi-OS booting. This is for software development when I need to verify compatibiliy under multiple OSes. It can also be used for redundancy, to keep or create a relatively clean version of the OS for quick recovery. Virtualization would also be an option, if not for a small voice in the back of my head that says that in practice, there may be a small difference (who'd claim 100% error free virtualization software) with the real deal.

Quote:
I make mirrored copies of RAW files with Image Ingester (not 64-bit AFAIK) when they move from CF to hard disk. Would that be a better place in your workflow?
I'll check that one out as well.

Quote:
Or are you looking to backup a clean install of your bootdrive with all your applications installed? Acronis True Image and other tools would meet that need. On 64-bit with enough RAM virtualization is another option for keeping your system clean. Virtualization also allows you to run legacy 32-bit apps in a 32-bit OS.
some thoughts,
Multiple goals, probably best served by multiple dedicated programs. The Acronis TrueImage program looks good, but that also starts to get bloated by the addition of more and more features. As complexity grows, so does the chance of bugs emerging when you least need them.

Thanks so far, I'm open to more suggestions.
Bart
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  #5  
Old January 18th, 2009, 04:43 PM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
...Virtualization would also be an option, if not for a small voice in the back of my head that says that in practice, there may be a small difference (who'd claim 100% error free virtualization software) with the real deal.
Hi Bart,

Do not underestimate the power of virtualization. Software such as VMWare, MS Virtual PC/Server and Parallels are all very mature programs. AFAIK, majority of any software testing you need to do can be done on virtually installed OSes. The only downside is if you are going to test real hardware & their drivers. Also, there are some other issues in the area of color management or other s/w components which need access to the real hardware, not the virtual counterparts.

I am a fan of virtualization. All the enterprises I work with as a professional utilize virtual servers nowadays. That should say something about the stability.

Cheers,
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  #6  
Old January 19th, 2009, 07:01 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cem_Usakligil View Post
Hi Bart,

Do not underestimate the power of virtualization. Software such as VMWare, MS Virtual PC/Server and Parallels are all very mature programs. AFAIK, majority of any software testing you need to do can be done on virtually installed OSes. The only downside is if you are going to test real hardware & their drivers. Also, there are some other issues in the area of color management or other s/w components which need access to the real hardware, not the virtual counterparts.

I am a fan of virtualization. All the enterprises I work with as a professional utilize virtual servers nowadays. That should say something about the stability.
Hi Cem, thanks for the recommendaton. I'll investigate when I have my new workstation up and running. It has enough power to handle any slowdowns the virtualization might add. The MS Virtual PC site doesn't say it will run on an Intel Xeon Quad core based processor platform, if it does then it will only use one core.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Microsoft
Virtual PC supports the use of AMD Athlon/Duron, Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium II, Intel Pentium III, Intel Pentium 4, Intel Core Duo, and Intel Core2 Duo processors.
My new box should arrive tomorrow by UPS. Unfortunately I'm very busy this week, so it might have to wait till coming Sunday before I can start installing any existing software, let alone experiment with something else. First challenge, after Antivirus software and e-mail, Color calibration with my EyeOne Photo and the 64-bit OS, I doubt whether it wil go smoothly ...

Kind regards,
Bart

Last edited by Bart_van_der_Wolf; January 19th, 2009 at 07:37 AM.
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  #7  
Old January 19th, 2009, 09:59 AM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Also thanks for the suggestions. Versioning might be next on my list, although one might achieve similar results with incremental backups, but much less user friendly. I may consider it for larger project software development.
Try it and learn it on smaller stuff. I use it for everything. If you were to automate version control archive backups you can simply consider being checked in being backed up. Although mirroring gives a similar if not smoother feel at runtime by automatically copying files, it can overwrite a good file in the backup with broken code when it automatically backs up an incomplete change. I find the TortoiseSVN explorer extension very convenient. Many IDEs also have SVN (SubVersioN) integrations that may be convenient. CVS has an even larger number of integrations, but CVS has less useful features for me.

I use SVN over CVS primarily because it supports versioning of directories.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Valid questions! What I'm seeking to accomplish is multifold. First of all I want to be able and create/manage partitions for multi-OS booting. This is for software development when I need to verify compatibiliy under multiple OSes. It can also be used for redundancy, to keep or create a relatively clean version of the OS for quick recovery. Virtualization would also be an option, if not for a small voice in the back of my head that says that in practice, there may be a small difference (who'd claim 100% error free virtualization software) with the real deal.
Who would claim 100% error free software? You cannot guarantee someone elses stack. They will likely have a different video driver. They will likely have a different screen resolution. They will likely have a different CPU model. They will likely have a different amount of RAM. They will likely have a different amount of hard disk storage. They will likely have a different keyboard. They will likely have a different mouse. They will likely have a different DVD burner. They will likely have a different case. They will likely have a different motherboard. They will likely have a different chipset. They will likely have a different drivers running for many things.

And that short list excludes all the things that could be different and it likely excludes many things that are likely different.

But, that short list also yields millions? billions? perhaps more permutations and we have not even got into installled programs and their drivers. And what about tools like anti-virus and different anti-virus settings? There are too many permutations.

What is virtualization? Virtualization is simply a standardized software created hardware configuration. You have a software video driver, software SATA drivers, and etcetera.

Even multi-booting you have a software video driver, software SATA drivers, and etcetera.

You are still running the same OS. But instead of an individualized model you are getting one with software imposed limits that are run and tested by thousands if not millions of instances daily. This is at least comparable in stability to a production run of a system for a big box store in stock configuration. The client system becomes less stable once it leaves the stock configuration. But some of the driver updates were for this stock system where thousands or millions of users were hit by a hardware bug and needed a software update to cover it.

Software updates are part of life with consumer hardware.

With 12-16 GB of RAM, you should be able to virtualize a few systems simultaneously. You can start, stop, and save the state of virtual machines. This means you can test on a virgin install every time. Or shut down a virtual machine and save it so then when the virtual machine opens, it is already booted with your tools open and ready to work. For most software testing on a 64-bit system with large RAM it should be a real time saver in many workflows.

I should note, I have used it in small amounts. But I lack the RAM on 32-bit to run enough systems.

Beyond that, for older OS'es virtual machines provide a more stable and backwards compatible platform. In some cases a virtualized OS might not even run on the hardware without the virtualization due to changes in motherboard technology.

Virtualization praise over.

The downside is lack of bare metal access. If you are doing programming on video card hardware, then you may need direct access for testing as virtualization may not work. But most non-graphics and non-video related professional software I have seen needs access to video card hardware.

If this is your case, then skip virtualization.

Remember, the goal of these tools is to improve your workflow and save your time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post

Multiple goals, probably best served by multiple dedicated programs. The Acronis TrueImage program looks good, but that also starts to get bloated by the addition of more and more features. As complexity grows, so does the chance of bugs emerging when you least need them.
Without complexity growing, machines cannot do more for us. Whether that complexity be in how we think about our tools, or in our tools themselves to make our thinking easier.

some thoughts, <smile>

Sean
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