First Impressions of Symantec Backup Exec 2012

 

It has long been my opinion that when Symantec acquired Veritas years ago and absorbed their products, the quality and support immediately declined. I have suffered through some pretty horrible releases starting with the migrations to version 9, 10 and then the 12 and 12.5 and recently Backup Exec 2010 and the sub-releases (Backup Exec 2010 R1, R2, R3.)

It always seemed to really just get more complex and messy at each release. It got to a point with everyone using the dominate SMB backup product that they either suffered alone with all of us, or just went “cloud” or to disk or a hybrid solution. I was always hopeful that Symantec would eventually figure it out and clean things up a little. The good news is, Backup Exec 2012 feels like the clean-up we all needed. We are current with our support contract and was not really into troubleshooting the recent mess with BE 2010 R3, so decided what the heck and played the upgrade earlier today.

We currently have a mix of Windows, OS X and Linux servers running the services across the network. The next phase of data protection for us is to probably just ditch BE and LTO tapes entirely and just go with something like CrashPlan or do some other hybrid multi-stage disk to tape solution.

The Upgrade from Backup Exec 2010 R3

The installer ran the upgrade fine and migrated the database of media, jobs, etc. You download an .iso image from the Symantec Fileconnect system, so be ready to mount it on Windows with Clonedrive or something. I didn’t care too much about migrating he jobs because I expected to have to redo them all anyway. But, they did come over and were ready to go post-upgrade. Make sure you get all your license files/codes from Symantec for BE2012.

Updated GUI

BE 2012 has really changed. The dashboard is now much cleaner. I like it. There are now four main tabs in the application dashboard and the organization of the jobs is around the servers. Here are some screenshots to give you a sense of the feel.

 

Backup Exec 2012 Home Screen
Backup Exec 2012 Editing a Server Entry
Backup Exec 2012 Backup and Restore Active Jobs
Backup Exec 2012 Storage Management Screen
Backup Exec 2012 Server Selections Screen
Backup Exec 2012 Server Platforms Identification
Backup Exec 2012 Backup Job Options Screen

Welcomed Improvements

The way the application dashboard is server-centric is really a nice improvement for me. We run backups and had jobs related to specific servers. So, the way they bake-in full and incremental backups at the server entry is great to get back up and going again with new jobs setups. In the older versions of BE, we always had to create at least a couple of jobs per server to be able to better isolate issues if something went down on a backup failure or if we wanted more options on scheduling. Fewer tabs are also a huge bonus. I have always liked less pages on navigation but the pages or screens have to do more stuff. This delivers (thankfully.)

Conclusion

I am still working through this for the next few weeks but if you are ready to get rid of BS of BE entirely and move to something like a disk/hybrid, you should give this a shot first. Symantec gets the fact that they needed to adapt to the changing landscape and resting on the product features for the last few years without doing some serious clean-up was going to kill their cash-cow.

I like the options and changes I see so far but it also might just delay the inevitable. It really does feel like an upgrade and this is the first time in a very long time I have been able to say that about a Symantec product. They just released SP1, so probably about the time to give it a try if you are a current BE 2010 user.

 

 

4 Replies to “First Impressions of Symantec Backup Exec 2012”

  1. Jonathan, Good to read your post. A lot of the changes we made in 2012 vs. 2012 are focused on bringing disk, virtualization and cloud options to the front of the product. For some longtime users the changes are a PITA. There are some tweaks we will make in the next few months to keep some of the UI features longtime users want. But, overall we wanted to make it easier to support those new workloads. For example, many longtime BE users didn’t know about our VMware support, or they were using the old approach and not the new agents/V-Ray tech. To stay the leader we need to build great products, enable our users to keep the stuff they love but also add new workloads and tech to their environments. (Though we also like to help them move to the new stuff like the P2V and P2V tech in BE 2012. Stay tuned for one more X2V option that many are waiting for coming soon.

    Keep me posted re: how it goes. A bunch of our BE team is located here in SF/MTV.

    Cheers,
    Sean Regan
    @seanjregan
    Symantec

  2. Well, the symantec employee admits the truth:
    “For some longtime users the changes are a PITA.”

    Should read:
    “All of your existing backup jobs are going to fail, exchange backups will all fail, sharepoint backups will all fail, AD backups will all fail.
    On top of all backup jobs failing, you will see all of the backup to disk files orphaned by BE from the previous versions. You will also see that deleting previous backup sets to clear out the orphaned sets will crash your media server.
    In addition, we will not be notifying you in advance that changes to backup will invalidate previous jobs; that would be way to problematic for our development team to slipstream into the upgrade process.”

    PITA is putting it mildly. It has “unmitigated disaster” written all over it.
    This is almost as bad as what has happened to ghost, norton utilities, antivirus, etc.

  3. MF, Sorry you feel that way. Drop me a note, we can help you. Of the 2m BE customers, only a subset are experiencing the issues you have. We took some features out that some of our most loyal customers liked, we heard them and added several of them back already. You can read more about what was released and what is coming here. http://bit.ly/N7K71H

    You can reach me @seanjregan and the support team @backupexec

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