Recently, I had the chance to work on a backup recovery project for one of my clients. They were interested in a product by Acronis called Snap Deploy. I thought I would share some of my experience with this product as I did come across a few issues.
First off, the concept behind this product, or at least how we deployed it, is to setup a laptop or desktop with all required software, then take a snapshot of that clean image. This snapshot can then be deployed to other like machines very easily to get any particular computer back to the state it was when it was brand new. Good concept if you have frequent turnover and want to deploy fresh machines to your users.
This product works well in some cases. We were able to take the clean snapshot, or master image, and store that image to an attached USB device. We could then easily copy that image to another machine from that attached USB drive without issue. With a few parameter settings, the cloned computer was up and running within 30 minutes. The issue that we had was with another feature that allows you to deploy this image from a networked server to a remote machine. Unfortunately, the performance of this restore left it as an undesired solution, taking 15-18 hours to deploy! A bit too long to wait for a new computer in out estimation. Since the USB solution was acceptable, we did not look into the cause of this time delay too much, but I did do testing on a 100Mb network where 1Gb may deliver better performance.
Another caveat that I will mention that stuck me for some time was this: Be sure that your server that you intend to deploy from only has one active NIC or if it has multiple NICs, make sure each has access to the network. My test server was a laptop with a disconnected wireless adapter, and unless disabled, would not allow connections to the remote machines.

I hope this info was helpful. if you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

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