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StorageCraft ImageManager HeadStart Restore (HSR)
Take Charge of Your Backups–Onsite, Offsite, and in the Cloud

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StorageCraft ImageManager


StorageCraft HeadStart Restore (HSR) technology lets you start a restore operation before a disaster hits. Should a server fail, a pre-staged restore operation greatly reduces downtime, especially when multi-terabyte systems are involved. Migrate or restore in the time it takes to reboot a server.

How does HSR pre-stage a restore operation?

  • Our backup software generates a base backup image file of your server. This backup includes systems, applications, services, configurations, settings, and data.
  • HeadStart Restore applies that base backup image file to a new volume. That new volume becomes your standby volume, and your existing server continues to run as usual.
  • The standby volume stays up-to-date because StorageCraft ImageManager™ “restores” copies of the ShadowProtect incremental backup images from your backup image chain to your standby volume.
  • If your server dies, your standby volume is identical to your dead server’s volume, short of one or more incremental backups. Those can be added, and then you’re ready to restore.
  • Your standby volume can be a virtual or physical disk. Virtual disks can be restored to a local or network drive or to a VMware ESX/ESXi Server. Physical disks can be restored to a locally attached device.

Use StorageCraft ImageManager in these scenarios

  • Verifying and re-verifying backup image files to ensure the backup is ready when needed
  • Managing continuous incremental backup image chains through consolidation and retention policies
  • Replicating backup images to a local drive so as to be prepared for the most common disasters, such as human error or hardware failure
  • Replicating backup images over the network or remotely so as to be prepared for a site-wide disaster (may require buying a job license, depending on the file-transfer technology you choose)
  • Reducing recovery time by pre-staging a backup on a virtual machine (VM) or local physical disk

Use HSR in these scenarios:

Hardware Failure
While you repair a downed database server, the business won’t even notice it’s not available. Employees can still access the database because you’ve set up a temporary virtual machine (VM) with StorageCraft VirtualBoot technology. In this VM, changes to the database will continue being recorded and stored in incremental backups. You would then set up an HSR to the repaired database server. Once the most recent incremental backup from your temp VM is applied to your repaired server, finalize the HSR job, take the VM down, and bring up the database server—as if nothing happened (as far as your clients know, that is).

Planned Migration
Migrate a 2TB database server to a new environment without needing three days of downtime to get it done. While your database server continues to run, use HeadStart Restore to send a full backup image of this server’s disk and subsequent incrementals into a VM file. Once you’re ready to switch over, you’ll then apply the most recent incremental backup to your new server and bring it online. Use StorageCraft Hardware Independent Restore technology to get the migrated operating system to boot on the new machine.

Virtual Standby
Be prepared with a standby if your primary server fails. You can set up HSR to create your standby volume as a virtual disk and place it on an ESXi host. If the server does fail, then you finalize your HSR job (which stops adding changes to the volume) and reboot (with the help of the StorageCraft Recovery Environment). Bring your standby copy online as a replacement for the failed primary server.

StorageCraft ImageManagerStorageCraft ImageManager

Data growth continues at an astounding rate. Forbes magazine recently reported that “More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.” This not only shows the immense amount of data we create and consume, but also the exponential growth rate of data year over year. In today’s high-tech world, data is the life blood of any organization. Those who are able to protect, access and manage their data will be the ones best equipped to succeed long into the future.

In order to mitigate a data disaster, organizations not only need to maintain an effective backup solution, they also need to carefully manage their vital backup images. They need to direct where their backups are stored, how long they are preserved, and how often they are updated. They need to be able to verify that each backup completed successfully, and that each backup is accessible at a moment’s notice, in the proper format.

StorageCraft ImageManager meets the need for complete backup image management. It is seamlessly integrated with StorageCraft ShadowProtect® SPX and ShadowProtect® 5 to provide a powerful yet easy-to-use image management solution. It consolidates and collapses backup image files and lets users set up retention policies to help save valuable storage space. It also replicates backup image files to an offsite location while controlling and reporting back each step of the process. This allows for a quick and complete recovery from any disaster, large or small.

Technical Information

StorageCraft ImageManager uses a folder structure, which makes job setup and organization simple—configure policy settings on a parent folder (called the backup store), and those policies will automatically apply to all its subfolders. Expand managed folders to see detailed job information, and filter folders to see job details.

This free management software provides continual backup image verification through MD5 validation. For additional verification, set backup images to automatically boot into a virtual environment. Once booted, you receive an email with an attached screenshot of the system login screen showing success or failure.

Use consolidation and retention settings to manage your continuous incremental backup jobs. StorageCraft ImageManager collapses incremental files into daily, weekly, monthly, and “rolling” files, which reduces the length of the backup chain needed for a recovery.

To replicate, set StorageCraft ImageManager to send copies of backup files to a local drive. Or, with one of our file-transfer technologies, send to a network or offsite location of your choice.

Also included with StorageCraft ImageManager is Headstart Restore, a technology that enables you to pre-stage a recovery. Multi-terabyte systems can take a long time to recover, even with solid, well- managed backups. That’s why pre-staging a recovery can reduce downtime to however long it takes to reboot your server.

Features & Benefits:

Managed-folder Structure
Managed-folder Structure

Reduce time spent configuring settings on managed backup jobs.

Image Verification
Image Verification

Know your backup image files are in a known good state for fast and reliable recovery.

Advanced Image Verification
Advanced Image Verification

Regularly get visual confirmation that backups are working as they should.


Reduce restoration time, risk of backup-file corruption, and needed storage space by automatically consolidating continuous-incremental backup image files.


Balance storage space and file recovery needs through retention policies that you set.

Notification and Monitoring
Notification and Monitoring

Easily watch over backup jobs in the user interface and receive notice when an issue arises.

Throttling and Concurrent Processing
Throttling and Concurrent Processing

Maintain strong system-wide performance by managing how StorageCraft ImageManager uses system resources.

Local and Network Replication
Local and Network Replication

Replicate backups onto a local drive or to a network share so that you're prepared for a small-scale disaster.

Offsite Replication
Offsite Replication

Replicate backups offsite to a remote server, co-location facility, data center, or the StorageCraft Cloud so that you're prepared for a site-wide or regional disaster.

Pre-staged Recovery
Pre-staged Recovery

Pre-stage the recovery of a server before disaster strikes, and reduce downtime.


Verification: Users can configure image verification to occur daily, weekly, or monthly; automatically verifying the integrity of the backup image files and chains through MD5 validation. They can define how frequently the image files are verified and re-verified. Finally, users can setup an advanced verification by automatically booting into a virtual environment, following which, they receive an email with an attached screenshot of the System Login Screen showing success or failure.

Consolidation: Users can reduce restoration time and the risk of backup-file corruption by automatically consolidating continuous-incremental backup image files, which can be consolidated into daily, weekly, and monthly files to reduce the length of the backup image chain. They can roll up multiple monthly consolidated files to further shorten the process.

Premium Features: StorageCraft ImageManager allows users to replicate encrypted backup image files to the StorageCraft Cloud (with a StorageCraft Cloud Services account) StorageCraft ShadowStream technology accelerates file transfer speeds up to five times faster than traditional FTP protocols, to a private or public cloud, remote offsite storage location, or even a co-location facility.

Retention and Recovery: Users can minimize storage space for backups by managing the retention policies for continuousincremental and consolidated backup image files. They can also manage backup image file cleanup for all managed folders on a network through global retention policies. Users have the flexibility to set different retention policies for backup images replicated locally versus replicated offsite. Users can recover in minutes by pre-staging their local backups into a virtual or other machine for standby failover.

Technical Specifications:

HSR is a component of StorageCraft ImageManager backup management software and works with StorageCraft ShadowProtect SPX and StorageCraft ShadowProtect.

HSR supports the creation of the following volume types: .VHD, .VHDX, .VMDK, and physical volume.

System Requirements

Minimum Hardware Requirements

ImageManager has the following hardware requirements:

  • At least 1 GB physical RAM (4 GB recommended).
  • At least 75 MB of free hard disk space for installation files.
  • Must meet the minimum operating system support requirements listed in the following section.

Operating System Support

ImageManager runs on:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 (Requires .NET 3.5) (64-bit x64)
  • Windows Server 2012 (Requires .NET 3.5) (64-bit x64)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2011 (64-bit x64)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation (64-bit x64)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows Server 2008 (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2008 (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows EBS Server 2008 (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows Server 2003 (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows 10 (Requires .NET 3.5) (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows 8.1 (Requires .NET 3.5) (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows 8 (Requires .NET 3.5) (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)
  • Windows 7 (32-bit x86 and 64-bit x64)

Note: ImageManager runs on most Windows operating systems but StorageCraft recommends using a Windows Server operating system such as Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012.

Other Requirements

Microsoft .NET version 3.5 Required

ImageManager requires Microsoft .NET version 3.5 Service Pack 1 (for some operating systems) or higher (for other operating systems). You must ensure that the right version of .NET is installed before installing ImageManager 7. The information below will help you decide which versions of .NET are needed for your operating system.

  • Windows Server 2012 normally has .NET4.5 installed by default. You also must install .NET 3.5 manually. The installer for .NET 3.5 is under the "Turn Windows Features on or off" option.
  • Windows 10 normally has .NET 4.5 installed by default. You also must install .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1 manually. The installer for .NET 3.5 is under the "Turn Windows Features on or off" option.
  • Windows 8 normally has .NET 4.5 installed by default. You also must install .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1 manually. The installer for .NET 3.5 is under the "Turn Windows Features on or off" option.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 does not come with .NET Framework pre-installed. The installer for .NET 3.5 is under the "Turn Windows Features on or off" option and must be installed manually.
  • *Windows Server 2008 does not come with the .NET Framework pre-installed. The installer for .NET 3.0 is under the "Turn Windows Features on or off" option. However, ImageManager requires version 3.5 or 4.0. The ImageManager installer attempts to download and install .NET 3.5 or higher. If that fails, you can download and install the Framework manually.
  • *Windows Server 2003 R2 requires a manual installation of .NET 3.5 (in some cases) before you can install ImageManager 6.
  • Windows 7 normally has .NET 3.5 installed by default.

* The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 can be downloaded here.

Folder and File Names

ImageManager does not support folders or filenames containing an apostrophe ( ' ).


Download the StorageCraft ImageManager Data Sheet (PDF).