If you have ever lost a system disk on a server, workstation or PC, you will relate to the problems of restoring your system to its original state. It is a frustrating and complex exercise that leaves you grappling with issues associated with restoring data. You will be told that you can restore your data to the same or similar environments, provided you have created your backups for such a restoration. This could still take out an uncertain number of hours out of your workday.

Restoration of your system to its original condition may require the reinstallation of the operating system, the applications and all other configurations. You may then be able to restore your data and read it in the new system. This process could take hours, days and weeks depending on the type of operating system you had, the number of applications you installed and the amount of data that you had stored in the system and so on.

Typically, cloud backup providers encourage their users to backup their system resources along with their applications and data. The typical backup therefore, may include a backup of the operating system, applications and data components, and the data you have generated. Cloud backup service providers may use disk imaging or disk cloning software to create the snapshots of the disk at a given point in time. The system configurations and entire contents of the system so captured in the image of the disk are stored with a time stamp for ease of restoration to the same or similar environment at a later date. The restoration process recreates the configurations, the applications, data components and data to restore the original system.

Disk cloning when used for backup and restore is useful in reboot and restore operations, which require a clean restore from a master image and the restore should be in full working order at the point of restoration. Some small and medium businesses and educational institutions use this kind of backup and restore to get their systems refreshed for reuse. This type of restore may also be very useful if you want to recover your system quickly, using identical hardware after a disaster. Again this type of restore operation may be useful if you need to quickly provision for a new user or upgrade the hard drive and do not have the time to set up and configure the applications one by one.