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Backup Exec Install Blog (Add Server Wizard)

Created: 20 Mar 2012 • Updated: 28 May 2014 • 6 comments
Nick Elmer's picture
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Hello again! Today I want to talk about a new feature introduced in Backup Exec 2012. Many will refer to it as the Add Server Wizard, but it is so much more than that. The goal was to provide users a way to perform agent installs directly from the Backup Exec User Interface. We achieved that goal and went further. In addition, we also provided a way for users to automate patch deployment to those agents via a scheduled job. Let’s see what is new and look at some screen shots below.

The New Ribbon Icons for Install

The new icons are for Add/Remove/Update Windows Server Agents. These buttons will launch our push install silently in the background. Let us take a look. Open the Backup Exec 2012 User Interface and see the following icons at the top of the screen. The icons are in our new ribbon style toolbar, which you will see when you click the “Backup and Restore” tab.

The Add Button

By clicking the “Add” button, you are presented with a wizard (shown below) that will walk you through installing the agent on one or more of your remote windows machines. This creates an install job within the product, just like any other backup job. You were able to do this before, but you had to run the Backup Exec installer from a menu option. Now, there is a button within the Backup Exec UI that will let you perform an install to a remote machine, or group of machines. Let’s see what the wizard looks like.

Below is the sequence of screens presented for the first button “Microsoft Windows computers and servers”.

Note: If you unselect the “Upgrade the Symantec Backup Exec Agent…” option, then you will see the wizard create a machine resource in the UI as long as the server is running an older agent. This will be useful if you do not wish to upgrade the agent from say 2010 R3. Maybe you just want to restore some data to the server using the existing agent. If so, then this is the best way to add the server without upgrading its agent.

If you want the install to automatically restart the machine, check this box and it will automatically reboot after a successful install.

If the install fails, you will be presented with the opportunity to review the install log to see why it failed.

If the install is successful, you will be informed if a reboot is required, or if you checked the box, then you will be notified that a reboot was requested.

The Update Button

One additional feature I’m excited about is the ability to schedule deployment of patches to your remote agents via the update button. The driving force of this feature was to provide administrators a way to deploy their patches, without having to be in the office. This feature lets you schedule the remote agent updates at a schedule you deem appropriate. The expected use of this feature would be a scenario like the following. An administrator always runs media server patches on Friday’s before his full backups kick off on the weekend. However, he cannot patch the remote agent servers until the office closes for the evening. So, he would schedule the patch deployment jobs for say 7pm on Fridays, knowing his full backups will start at say 9pm. This will update the remote agent(s) with the currently available patches from the media server (and if specified, reboot the remote server on successful completion), prior to jobs kicking off for the weekend. Here is what the scheduling UI looks like when you click the “Update” button:

Remove Button

The remove button allows you to remove a server from the list. You will not use this very often as it will delete the server from the main page of servers. Within this server container you are removing are all associated jobs, job histories, associated backups, etc. Removing server containers should be done with care and forethought.

Feedback

The install team is confident you find this feature useful. We would also be interested in hearing the good and bad after you have used it for sometime.

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goro1503's picture

Hello install team,

I'v a BE-2012 SP1a with all patches installed. Im installing the remote agent trough the

BE-Button -> installation and licensing -> install agent ...

Then pops a window open with a list of all my remote servers which have an agent installed.

The buildup of this list takes a long time since the system has to contact all the servers and get the actual agent version. You can't work, you have to wait till the list is completed. After an installation of an agen tthis server line shows the status " ..server must be rebooted".

If you can't reboot the server at that moment, you can't use the toolagain to add an agent on another server.

Questions:

1) Why do I have to wait till the list is build up with the actual agent status?? I'd prefer to have a button

  which a can press to get the actual status. This  process hinders me to work efficently, 

  because I have to wait the buildup of this list.

 

2) Why can't I use this tool to install an agent on another system, when a reboot from a previous server is pending? 

The way this tool works is in my opinion really nonsene and useless.

 

------------------------------

Regards Goro

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Nick Elmer's picture

Hi Goro,

We appreciate you taking the time to share your insights and frustrations with the install. I'll answer your questions the best I can and also keep your input in mind for future changes.

1. Why do you have to wait for status to get built? You would prefer to have a button to get status. YOu feel it hinders you.

  • There is a checkbox at the bottom of the install which says "Save the server list for future remote install sessions". If that is checked, we remember the changes you make and will load that list back in next time you launch the install. If that box is unchecked, we will not save the list and you can create a new one each time you run the installer. You also have the option to export and import a list using the menu otions as well.
  • We then connect to the machines and load in their current state, we need to know if the agent still exists, what is the patch level? Are there any new patches required, etc. We need this information to know if you can push to this machine, is it out of date, or an invalid target. You may have just reinstalled the machine and now the agent isn't present on the machine any longer.

2. Why can't you use the tool to install on a another machine when one of the machines in the current list has a reboot pending? 

  • You can. You can export the list of current machines, then clear the list and add new machines to push to. This should help you get around the issue.
  • Just as additional information, if you look at the "Import and Export" button in the top right corner, there are a few options to help make this happen.
  1. Export to file - This option will take the list of servers and export them to a file you specify.
  2. Import from file - This option will prompt for a file created previously with the "Export to file" option.
  3. Import servers published to this media server - This option will connect to BE and retrieve a list of servers which are advertising to the Backup Exec Server. This option can be helpful for upgrading and patching agents that are being used by the Baackup Exec Server.

Finally, there is also the option specified above which you can do from the Backup Exec UI in 2012. It will allow you to push out agents in the same way you are doing through the BE Button option. Both of these methods run the installer. Both get the same results.

Thank you for your feedback, I hope this information is useful to you. I will keep your input in mind for future changes and improvements.

Thanks
Nick

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goro1503's picture

Hi Nick

thanks for your answer. I appreciate you comment. Here my answers to your explanations.

1) I understand, that the system needs, at some time, to have a actual status of the remot agents. But this could be made "user-initiated". The way it works now, it hinders the user.Think about how long this list takesto get updated, if you have not one or two remote servers, but 80 and more, as in my case. 

2) Within this tool, if a remote system has a reboot pending, then the GUI hinders me to install the agent to others servers. That's nonsense.

Let me explain my BE-agent installation situation at the moment.

I have to install the remote agent on quit a few systems (circa 30-40). In my production environement, I can't reboot every server after I have installed the agent. I have to wait for a maintance windows. If I would follow your solution, as explained in 2), I would have to export this list every time I add a new system. Then delete this system and add the next new server ... and so on...). Do you really believe, this is a serious way to work.

I know I could add more than one server together. Since I don't trust your BE-GUI,  I wanna be sure that the installation goes smoothly and therefore I wanna install the agent one by one.

Hope, you can follow my explanations. Sorry my english isn't quit good, since I'm german speaking.

regards Goro

 

 

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Nick Elmer's picture

Hi Goro,

Thank you for the explanation of your use case. It helps me understand how you are using our install. I realize that step 2 adds more work, but it does provide a way for you to get around the current functionality for now. It also offers the benefit of loading and pushing to groups of servers. So, if you were pushing patches to the HR servers, you could save them in an exported file and load them when you needed to patch, or add a new server to the group, etc.

Is there a reason you are not using the "Add Server" wizard we offer in the 2012 BE UI? It will push to a remote machine using our install. It does not remember previous servers and lets you do them one, two or more at a time. It will not reboot unless its requested as well.

Also, can you help me understand why you do not trust our install?

Thanks
Nick

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goro1503's picture

Hi Nick

thanks for your answer. I'll try to explain why I don't trust your GUI. Attached you see a screenshot from my BE->install_agent... wizard. You see that as soon as the number of remote server reaches the bottom of my window, the next servers are listed side by side. There is no vertical slider as is usual in such windows.

1) If I wanna select with my mouse such a server, the system doesn't react. I have to select one of the servers in the left columne and then move the context with my keyboard to continue the installation.

2) I let the BE-management consol open all the time. Sooner or later I have to close and reopen the mgmt console, otherwise the system shows not the actual status,  it shows an old one. Sometimes the console hangs.

3) I have a physical server with dual quad-core processors and 32 GRam. I believe, quit enough power for such a system. I have ca. 30 remote servers  configured at the moment (50-60 waiting). I feel that the system reacts slower and slower, the more systems are configured.

4) As a longtime BE user,( the oldest version we just dismantled a few months ago was 9.5), we have still v12.5 and v2010 in production. So I thougt, it be a goog idea to migrate to the 2012 version. But that was a big mistake. Now I have much more work to do. For every simple server, you have to click and click ...

I know, its not your fault, but such a tool makes you angry.

 

regards Goro

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Nick Elmer's picture

Hi Goro,

I am glad to see a screenshot of your issue! It helps me understand what you are seeing. I'll see what we can do about adding a scrollbar to that dialog. We have already had some short discussions on your other comments this morning and appreciate the feedback. I can't promise any changes since things can and do change, but your feedback has been heard and its appreciated!

As far as your other issues, I can tell you that we are working to improve your experience. It matters to us and I know you will be pleased with the results! See this the beginning of this blog for more information.

Thanks,
Nick

 

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