Duplicate disk drives with ICS's portable duplication system

It's Wednesday morning. Your boss asks you to install 100 new desktop PCs before you leave on Friday for your 2-week vacation. Before you deploy these systems, you need to install several software packages on each computer. This process takes at least 2 hours for each machine. How will you complete the task? The solution is Image MASSter 2000 from Intelligent Computer Solutions.

The Image MASSter 2000 is a portable software duplication system that copies 1 hard disk to as many as 16 target drives simultaneously. Unlike software-based duplication systems, the Image MASSter 2000 is a hardware-based system with an optional software-driven command interface.

The Image MASSter is a small but hefty unit constructed with heavy-duty steel. It weighs 40 pounds and has the same footprint as a small desktop computer. The unit has a carrying case for easy portability. The unit can operate as a standalone unit for instant duplication of multiple drives. You control the standalone unit using a seven-button control panel and LCD display. You can also control the unit via an interface cable using software that runs on your Windows 95 PC.

The Image MASSter works with any IDE hard disk. The unit supports IDE, Enhanced IDE, and Ultra-DMA IDE hard disks and works with any size disk drive. The source and target drives don't need to be the same model or size. The unit resizes partitions as it copies them to maximize space. The Image MASSter operates with all types and combinations of operating system (OS) partitions (e.g., FAT, NTFS, UNIX). However, certain operations (such as resizing the partition during copying) do not run with UNIX partitions.

Installing the Image MASSter is simple. Unpack the box, set the unit on your workbench, and plug in the power cord. To use the unit, set up a master hard disk with the configuration and software you want to duplicate. Plug the master hard disk into the unit's Master slot and connect one or more hard disks to the target slots. Load the unit's software disk, power up the unit, and use the control panel to navigate the unit's command menus to set options and start the copy process.

To test the unit, I copied a Seagate 1.2GB hard disk to another 1.2GB hard disk using the standalone method. The master drive had one 134MB NTFS partition. My drive copy took 90 seconds to complete. As an alternative test, I copied a Maxtor 8GB Ultra-DMA hard disk to another 8GB Ultra-DMA hard disk. The master drive contained one 8GB FAT32 partition. Using the standalone copy method, the process took 35 minutes. For the final test, I copied a Maxtor 540MB IDE hard disk to three identical target disks. The master drive had one 540MB FAT partition. The copy process took 4 minutes.

The time required to copy the drive depends on the amount of data that resides on the master disk. In my test of the two 540MB disks, the master disk had only 235MB of used space. The transfer rate was 60MB per minute, which is good considering the time involved in setting up a drive manually. The transfer rate also depends on the hardware associated with the drives. For example, Ultra-DMA drives copy faster than standard IDE drives. Your copying time will be only as fast as your slowest disk drive.

The PC-Host software that comes with the Image MASSter unit runs only on Win95 and uses a parallel port connection to communicate with the unit. This connection is for command and control only--it's not a data connection. You can't load the software on a PC and then copy the PC's data to other target drives. You can use the software only to initiate transfers on the Image MASSter.

Considering the time that the Image MASSter saves you, the product is worth the investment. If you manage a large enterprise computer facility with numerous disks to duplicate, Image MASSter is the product for you.

Image MASSter 2000
Contact: Intelligent Computer Solutions * 818-998-5805
Web: http://www.ics-iq.com
Price: Starts at $3985
System Configuration: Two or more IDE hard disks, Image MASSter 2000