Horizon DataSys’ patented sector-mapping algorithm and incremental sector-redirection used by its software is much quicker for backup and restore operations than traditional backup and disk imaging applications. This technology is exclusively used in RollBack Rx, Drive Vaccine, RollBack Rx Multipoint Server, and RollBack Rx Server to capture and manage these softwares’ snapshots. This document only makes reference to RollBack Rx but could apply equally well, for the most part, to these other software too.
What is Sector-Mapping?
In the storage scheme on your harddisk the memory caches are divided into discrete blocks. A sector consists of segments of these consecutive blocks. Horizon DataSys’ proprietary sector-mapping technology performs read and write operations that address specific sectors. Windows, on the other hand, operates at a sector cluster level, which consists of multiple disk sectors. Since RollBack Rx works at the sector level of the harddrive it’s much more efficient in finding specific sectors. This greatly reduces RollBack Rx’s average memory access times.
Some Nitty-Gritty on Sector Mapping & Snapshot Management
When a snapshot is taken, RollBack Rx freezes the primary hard disk’s sectors to their captured sector map (or “snapshot”). RollBack Rx’s core sector management algorithm is based on incremental sector redirection. If Windows attempts to update a particular sector, RollBack Rx grabs the write instruction and redirects it into unprotected sectors to maintain the integrity of the stored snapshots. If Windows attempts to delete a snapshot sector, Rollback Rx intercepts this delete request. Additional snapshots incrementally capture only those sectors that have not been written since the last snapshot. The snapshots form a tree structure, each snapshot being based on some previous one. Snapshots incrementally backup changes from existing snapshots and this allows for much faster snapshot capture times. This enables RollBack Rx to quickly capture only incremental changes that have occurred since a prior snapshot. If a snapshot is deleted on which another subsequent snapshot is based, the updated size of this later snapshot will be greater because it will salvage unsaved sectors from the deleted snapshot.
RollBack Rx doesn’t recreate files or folders into a temporary drive space. This allows RollBack Rx to use much fewer system resources in terms to processing cycles and storage capacity. A snapshot is a bit-for-bit map of all the used hard disk sectors. It’s a record of how the PC’s hard drive is configured at the time a snapshot is taken. The snapshot includes all files including system, data, programs, settings, registry entries, wallpaper, icons, et cetera. The user can select to revert to an earlier snapshot from within Windows, which requires a reboot or logoff to take effect.
The RollBack Rx snapshots can be taken manually, on a fixed schedule, or when a particular file is executed. The installation snapshot (or baseline snapshot) is usually larger than the other snapshots since it’s a complete sector map. Each subsequent snapshot takes up roughly 0.07% of the available storage capacity (but this depends on the incremental changes made since the previous snapshot) and that as many as 60,000 snapshots can theoretically be inventoried.
RollBack Rx’s snapshots are encrypted with government-grade 256-bit AES encryption. If the primary drive on which RollBack Rx is installed is used as a slave drive on an alternative PC to the one on which it was originally installed, only the first (or “baseline”) snapshot will be visible.
More details on sector mapping and its relationship to Disk Defraggers and SSD TRIM tools:
There was a great forum article on the relationship of RollBack Rx’s Sector Mapping technology and its impact on Disk Defragmentation tools as well as SSD utilities such as TRIM. You can read more details at http://community.horizondatasys.com/forum/rollback-rx/997-rollback-rx-ssd-trim-and-disk-defraggers-support
If you have a PC with RollBack Rx Sector mapping technology installed and chose to use Windows defragger (or any third party defragger)
So you would spend over 30 minutes watching your “hard drive” get defragged… Through the GUI onscreen you would see how the defragger nicely puts all the reds, blues and whites together, in hopes to optimize and make your PC faster and more efficient. However, Once this is over what would happen? If you were to take a snapshot after the defragging is completed – you will notice that your snapshot size would be huge. The reason for this is that from RollBack Rx’s perspective there was a massive amount of “change in data” performed on the hard drive… Now lets say that you Roll-Back to an earlier snapshot – in this scenario all that time that you put in defragging your files have gone out the door. Why? Because Windows and its associated defraggers can only defrag what they can see.
Defragging is a Windows concept even though its name suggests that it is defragging at the drive level. When you were in the earlier snapshot, Windows assumes that the state that it is in is the complete system. However if you roll-out of this snapshot all that defragging is gone.
So is Defragging a good idea when using sector mapping solutions such as RollBack Rx? Sector Mapping Technology has given Defragger and TRIM tools a tough time as it is a complex algorithm and as such does not bode well with the conventional ideas of how hard drive space should be optimized. Sector mapping is slowly now being accepted as the most efficient way to optimize and use data. Especially with today’s large TB drives.
RollBack Rx doesn’t use so many resources as to noticeably slow down your PC. RollBack Rx doesn’t recreate files or folders into some temporary drive. Instead it uses a patented sector-based mapping technology that can quickly capture everything on the harddrive in a “snapshot.” This sector-map is a very concise but complete description of everything on the harddrive consisting of just the ones and zeros (1s and 0s). A snapshot is a bit-for-bit map of all the primary hard disk sectors as they existed the moment the snapshot was taken. This harddrive sector-map includes all files on the harddrive including Windows system data, all your personal documents, your various program settings, registry entries, wallpapers, icons, et cetera. In short, everything on your computer is crystallized into an explorable backup format. Unlike Windows System Restore, RollBack Rx doesn’t discriminate against what is and what isn’t backed-up. It simply backs-up everything!
Snapshots can be taken manually, on a fixed schedule, or even when a particular file is executed. Each snapshot takes up roughly 0.07% of the available storage capacity of the harddisk (but this depends on the incremental changes made since the previous snapshot) and as many as 60,000 snapshots can theoretically be inventoried.
RollBack Rx’s core algorithm is based on sector-mapping and incremental sector redirection. Windows operates at a cluster level, which consists of multiple disk sectors. RollBack Rx works at the disk sector level (just with the 1s and 0s). When a snapshot is taken, RollBack Rx freezes the primary hard disk’s sectors to their captured snapshot.
RollBack’s patented sector-mapping algorithm and incremental sector redirection allows it to capture and manage its snapshots with very few resources in terms of processing time and memory usage. Horizon DataSys is one of very few companies that have reverse-engineered how Windows stores data and we’ve optimized the capture and storage of these incremental changes sector-by-sector.
At Horizon DataSys our core focus is on instant recovery. Ensuring that you get your PC back up and running quickly after any disaster is our first priority. RollBack Rx provides the fastest and most reliable disaster recovery available today.