Disk Image vs File-level Backup: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the different terminologies and abbreviations used when it comes to backup can sometimes make your head spin. But your data is too important to not at least have an idea of what some of these terms mean so you can select the best solution for your needs. Two concepts that come up regularly with current and prospective IDrive customers are File-level Backup and Disk Image Backup. So let’s dig a little deeper and find out what the difference is between the two terms.

File-level Backup

This is the most common type of backup out there, largely because it’s a simpler concept to grasp. File-level backups allow users to select which files and folders they want protected and schedule them to backup periodically. Typically, only files modified after the initial backup will be backed up automatically, which accelerates the process because it’s only making incremental changes. Overall, the total backup is much smaller in size, needs less capacity, and costs less than a Disk Image solution.

File-level backup is a great way to ensure your data is protected, however should a disaster occur, the data restoration process can take a longer time to complete than anticipated. First, you must start from scratch to restore your system to working order. This means installing the operating system, software applications, and the software used to backup your files. Then you can start restoring your files, but only the files you selected for your backup set will be recoverable. Everything else is lost. As mentioned before, this is a great way to make sure critical files are protected. But data restores over the internet can sometimes take time, which is why IDrive offers IDrive Express, a free physical storage shipment for speedier backups and restores.

Disk Image Backup

This is a more complete and well-rounded backup solution for businesses. Often referred to as a Bare Metal Backup/Restore (BMR), a true disk image is an exact copy of the entire physical disk or disk partition. The data is then stored locally on an appliance for quicker restores, as well as in the cloud for maximum protection.

This is especially useful for businesses who may have a need to one day quickly recover their entire system, as their entire data set is preserved. Disk image backups allow for a move to new hardware and a faster restore of all information, reducing downtime and saving money. This is most effective in the event of a total disaster such as theft, destruction of property, hard drive failure, etc., allowing you to restore the exact system state, including OS and application settings, to an entirely new device.

Instead of spending time managing intricate computer backups, disk imaging allows you to quickly and easily make a perfect copy of your computer’s hard drive. However, it is important to take the time to find the best hard drive imaging software to meet your needs. With IDrive BMR, you can utilize the following features to conveniently backup/restore your entire system:

  • Advanced block-level de-duplication and compression for maximized storage capabilities
  • Backup of multiple partitions or whole hard drives, creating recovery points for your entire system
  • Bare-metal restore uses snapshot based image restore for point-in-time recovery
  • Machines are auto-detected by the server once the agent is installed, with no other configuration necessary on the client side
  • Monitoring of backup status and activities remotely through a centralized web console
  • Restoring data from the server to your machine using nothing more than a pre-configured boot CD or USB drive
  • Allows users to restore backed up data to multiple computers simultaneously