Acronis True Image 2014 - what's new?


It so happened that the recent return of Acronis to Habr coincided with the release of a new version of our popular product Acronis True Image. By tradition, the new version will carry the number 2014 - the year in which the product will mostly live. In this issue we’ll talk about what's new in this version.

First, let me remind you what Acronis True Image is, and then I will talk about new functionality.
In short, Acronis True Image is a solution that allows you not to worry about your data. We often compare such products with insurance, of course, it would be better if it were not needed, but if a problem arose, then the data return should be reliable and fast. Therefore, we attach the greatest importance to the reliability of data storage.

Today Acronis True Image is a comprehensive data backup solution that can protect both individual files or directories, as well as entire hard drives or partitions. The most popular in our product is the backup of entire disks. This method provides the most complete protection of your data, as it can save not only files, but also the entire operating system. For example, to roll it back to a state in the past when it was not infected with a virus or one or another unnecessary program was installed.

Another important point in protecting your data is how you store the backups themselves. Acronis True Image offers a lot of places to store your backups (network, FTP server, CD / DVD, etc.). But all these storage locations imply that you yourself must manage them and take care that the backup does not accidentally disappear (well, it never happens ..). The second drawback is that in the modern world, a computer is a mobile device, and often there may not be access to the storage location of your backups.
Therefore, we thought, and we came up with the following solution - the use of Acronis Cloud for disk and partition backups. In this case, you can kill many birds with one stone:

1. The storage system in Acronis Cloud guarantees their safety. In our "cloud" - a distributed server system. Even with the failure of several servers, the data is not lost and is replicated on other servers.

2. Storage in the cloud guarantees the availability of your data from anywhere in the world. That is, if necessary, you can restore this data, for example, right at the hotel during your trip. And of course, you can upload new data to the “cloud” at any time.

3. Backing up entire disks to the cloud allows you to share your data with friends and colleagues. However, such advantages of data storage are probably known to many.

When performing a backup to the “cloud” (read, uploading a large amount of data) and restoring from the “cloud”, new product requirements arise that were not found during local backup:
• Transferring personal data via the Internet requires an encrypted protocol.
Data is transmitted over an encrypted channel (TLS), and the copy itself can be completely encrypted (AES256).

• A thin and unreliable channel puts forward separate data transfer requirements.

Here we will dwell in more detail, since the solution is complex and interesting.
The biggest problem is to fill in the first consistent backup. Of course, you should not expect that pumping, for example, even 100GB of data will pass without breaks and problems. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to fill in part of the data, survive the cliff and continue to fill from the interrupted place. In this case, you need to get a backup in a consistent state.
What have we done for this? In fact, our copy of the disk is a copy of all its files and a separate copy of the service information about the disk (active, system, partition, etc.). The backup of service information is small in size and is pumped quickly. Files are poured as in a regular file backup, so it’s quite simple to find the last point when the connection is disconnected and continue with it. That is, even if your channel is not fast, sooner or later the first copy of your disk will be filled, and then incremental data will be poured, which, as a rule, is much smaller. However, in the case of an incremental backup, downloading data works exactly the same as the first full backup.
Now let's
talk about restoring our data from the cloud. Here we have three options:

1. You needed to download or transfer individual files somewhere. This can be done either through the web interface or through a smartphone (iOS, Android).

You can simply download the file, you can create a link to it and send it. Soon it will be available on Facebook or Twitter.

2. Roll back your drive (including the system one) a while back. In this case, incremental recovery will work. Acronis True Image will find the changed files and replace them with those that were saved in the backup for a certain time. If this is a system partition, then the program will reboot into the Acronis shell (they thought for a long time how to say this in Russian) and perform the operation there.

3. Completely restore the system from the "cloud" to an empty disk or a new computer, even if there is other hardware. This option, of course, is the longest, but recovery is also being done here, which can be continued in the event of a break.
Actually, here is a short description of how disk backups work in the cloud. We look forward to your questions and comments.