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Secure Zone, and how to create it using Cloud Backup

What Is Secure Zone?

Secure Zone is a secure disk partition of the backed-up machine that allows you to store backups of files and disks on the same machine. It can be thought of as an intermediate location in enterprise environments, used for backup when ordinary locations are temporarily unavailable or connected through busy or slow channels.

If the disk should experience physical failure, the Secure Zone backups may be lost. This is why your backups should not be located in the Secure Zone alone.

Why Use Secure Zone?

Below are the reasons you should store your backups on the Secure Zone:

  • Enables disk recovery to the same disk where the disk’s backup is located.
  • Protects data from potential human errors, software malfunctions, or virus attacks at a cost-effective and handy method.
  • Disregards the need for a network connection or separate media to back up or recover data, which is especially useful for roaming users.
  • Serves as a primary destination in replicating backups when needed.

Secure Zone Limitations

Below are limitations for the Secure Zone backup location:

  • It cannot be organised on a Mac.
  • It is a partition on a basic disk, which means it cannot allow dynamic disk organisation or logical volume creation that is managed by LVM.
  • It uses the FAT32 file system format.
    This formatting has a 4-GB file size limit, therefore when saving to Secure Zone, the larger backups are split. The recovery procedure and speed are not affected by this.
  • It does not support single-file backup formatting.
    When the destination for a backup plan that has the Always incremental (single-file) backup scheme is changed to Secure Zone, the scheme is also changed to Weekly full, Daily incremental.

How Secure Zone Creation Transforms the Disk

Below are the effects on your disk from creating a Secure Zone backup:

  • Secure Zone is created at the end of the hard disk at all times.
    It will first use unallocated space at the end when calculating the volumes’ final layout.
  • If the unallocated space at the end of the disk is used up or no longer enough, but there is still an unallocated space between volumes, these volumes are then moved to the end to add more unallocated space.
  • Once all unallocated space has been collected and it is still not enough, free space from volumes you select will then be used by the program, proportionally reducing the size of the volumes.
    If locked volumes are resized, a reboot is required.
  • For the operating system and applications to operate, there should be free space on a volume; for instance, for temporary files creation.
    If only 25 percent or less free space of the total volume size is present, the program will not decrease the volume.
    If all disk volumes have 25 percent or less free space, only then will the program continue proportionally decreasing the volumes.

Note: It is not advisable to specify the maximum possible Secure Zone. Doing so may leave you with no free space on any volume, which may cause instability or even startup failure for the operating system or applications.

Creating a Secure Zone Backup

Here’s how to create the Secure Zone backup using Cloud Backup:

  1. Access the Cloud Backup Console.
  2. Click Devices on the left menu bar to open the list of all computers/devices connected to the Cloud Backup.
  3. Select the computer/device you want to back up, then click Backup on the right menu bar to open a Add backup plan template.
  4. Click on the WHERE TO BACKUP link and select Secure Zone.
    This option is only available if it is present on each of the selected machines.
  5. Choose which disk to create Secure Zone on.
  6. Start the command-line interface and type in acrocmd list disks to view the disk's number.
  7. Apply the create asz command of the acrocmd utility.
    The command first uses the unallocated space on the disk. Then, it takes free space from the specified volumes if the unallocated space is insufficient, as thoroughly explained above under How Secure Zone Creation Transforms the Disk.
    Examples:
    • A Secure Zone created on disk 1 of the local machine.
      The created Secure Zone will be with an average default size that is between the maximum (all the unallocated space) and minimum (about 50 MB) values.
    • acrocmd create asz --disk=1
    • A password-protected Secure Zone with a size of 100 GB, created on disk 2 of the local machine.
      If the unallocated space on the volume is not enough, the space will then be taken from the disk’s second volume.
    • acrocmd create asz --disk=2 --volume=2-2 --asz_size=100gb --password=abc12345
    • A Secure Zone with a size of 20 GB, created on disk 1 of a remote machine.
    • acrocmd create asz --host=192.168.1.2 --credentials=john,pass1 --disk=1 --asz_size=20gb

Congratulations! You have now created a Secure Zone backup.

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