Trying to streamline my process and increase efficiency

I run a (primarily) break/fix shop. I’m trying to streamline some of our processes to increase efficiency and with the ADD brain I have, I’m needing to rely on more logical thinkers to point out the obvious - so bear with me.

One thing we do on a daily basis is replace HDD’s with SSD’s and either clean install Windows then copy user folders back, or clone drives outright, but mostly the former. Here’s a snapshot of a typical workflow:

  1. Copy user folders and other necessary items to network share(Synology)
  2. Replace the HDD (or reuse) then clean install Windows and copy the user folders back from the share.

We spend a lot of time sitting and waiting for data to move. BTW, this is all done through a Gigabit switch. Anyhow, my initial AHA! thought was that I would upgrade everything to 10Gbe - problem solved right? No… I’m still limited to the throughput of the source devices/drives. I asked about this on Reddit and was told that I should scrap the whole network idea and instead get into “data ingestion”. The user said I should build a machine with a threadripper so I’ve got plenty of PCIe lanes… install Linux(which I’m very familiar with) and have someone write a script which would more or less DD whichever drive I connected via SATA dock to a local storage pool.

That sounds great… but how is that better than what I’m doing now? I wanted to come here for a close and personal discussion on this.

If you were me, how would you improve the process of offloading data temporarily, then reloading it?

For reference, here is their input:

Hm, why not ditch the entire over the network copy process and setup a data ingest station? That way you could load a bunch of HDDs/SSDs have the station dump the contents into a NFS/CIFS share or even directly onto an SSD. The station will be some semi-fast PC with enough USB 3.1 ports (for the USB to SATA readers) - Threadripper gen 1 is dirt cheap and has a ton of PCIE lanes and USB 3.1 ports. Studios use that approach since they have a ton of footage that needs to be copied and they hate spending money and time waiting. There are ready made solutions as well - COPYLynx but I prefer building my own since it’s cheaper and fun. The actual software is very simple - Linux of some kind with AutoFS and a bash script to create a directory set a date and dump the data from the disk, you can even have it send you a Telegram or Email when done. To be safe always mount the source device with -o ro (read-only).
Another approach is to setup a data mirror station - you basically have two slots for source and destination plug the old device and the new one and the station does dd between them and has format detection - if you mix the source and destination it will refuse to dd since the destination has a valid partition table for example. That way you avoid the liability of storing customers data.
Given that you have the source and destination devices literally in your hands I don’t see a reason to use a really expensive network solution to copy them. When the data has to travel a few inches use USB, PCIE, SATA or similar transport, no need to get complicated with networking.

and…

The most profitable and efficient way. :call_me_hand:
Shelves beneath the TRipper-PC, on every shelf a LED signaling the status of the copy-operation and done. Setting the HW up and letting someone code you the copy-operation (with LOG) and status via LED for a 1/5 regarding the other upgrade - and you’ll be incredibly more effective.

Do a fresh install of Windows from a network drive. Remember the network and the drive speed. KEEP DATA ON THE SyNOLOGY.

I don’t understand. Currently we install Windows from a USB 3.1 drive which is faster than we can access through the network.

Exactly. What’s the point of a network if the source machines are all gigabit? Use USB thumb drive or usb nvme drives, unless you can walk away and just wait for it to finish.