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Is BE2012 Really So Terrible?

Created: 17 May 2012 • Updated: 22 May 2012 • 6 comments
Brandon M. Mosak's picture
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I was just forwarded an article from a colleague which provided an interesting collection of url's and banter relating to some of the difficulties surrounding the adoption/upgrade to backupexec 2012 for seasoned users. 

The original content of which can be viewed here:

http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/data-protection/is-symantecs-backup-exec-update-really-so-terrible/

While I had hoped to post a comment on the original author's blog - the comment churned WAY longer than most comments should be - and posting comments on the site were broken altogether.  Figured I'd drop it here - in hopes that maybe someone will reap a little food for thought from it.

Disclaimer: These opinions are entirely my own (right, wrong, or otherwise).

**snip**

It seems to me that we’ve all seen this before – and will continue to into the future.

Anyone remember what happened when office 2007 released?  Statements like:  “What were they thinking?”, “I can’t get anything done with this new version.”, “The old version was good enough for me – I’m rolling it back.” It’s amazing how all the hub-bub over the ribbon bar has died down.  While it was odd getting acclimated at first – the ribbon bar is now THE standard for office productivity applications. 

I don’t care what product or manufacturer one deals with – bring a major re-visioning of a popular product to market and there is BOUND to be blowback.  While I’d be hard-pressed to say that all dramatic modifications to software are perfect the first time around – there exists, at the most basic level, the desire by manufacturers to better serve the users.  If the changes truly sucked - it wouldn’t have been brought to market.  Yes, I do remember Windows ME and Vista. 

Sometimes mistakes are made – but I don’t believe BE2012 to be one of them. 

On some level, I can understand some of the concerns surrounding Symantec’s latest offering raising a few eyebrows as it is TRULY a departure from anything we backup administrators have experienced in the past decade.  Shame on us for becoming stuck in our ways and being unable to see the forest for the trees.  For years a storm has been brewing (aided by mass adoption of virtualization technology) where we have been overextending the UI of a product that was developed at a time when server densities and backup burdens simply weren’t what they are today.  Something had to change – and Symantec blinked first.

After reading some of the posts linked in the article – I was served up enough hater-aid to keep me satisfied for weeks to come.  As the author of the article linked above said: “Guys. Guys. C’mon guys”.

I come from an environment where I’m running around 150 jobs, and in that regard, there isn’t anything particularly “odd” going on (in terms of what is being run, when, and how). 

 

  • V-ray. If you’re doing virtualization – this will save you time on backups and protect you more comprehensively.  V-Ray drove my decision to upgrade.  Period.

 

  • On the subject of upgrading from a previous version:  It isn’t as clean as backup administrators with prior be-upgrade experience are accustomed to…  Can’t stress that enough.  When you begin to think about how complex of an upgrade it is from 2010 to 2012 – I’m amazed that the option to upgrade was even offered.  Given how unique each backup admin’s environment is – I struggle to comprehend what the translation logic looks like.  Without a doubt, the most important document you can read when upgrading is the pre-upgrade output from the job migration engine.  Prior to pulling the trigger to complete the upgrade process a document is produced showing you EXACTLY what the migration engine will do to your jobs.  If at any point you become uncomfortable – you are given one last chance to NOT pull the trigger.  Experience over several upgrades has taught me that getting the few jobs that were not properly translated fixed is quite easy.  The best tip I can give you for the aforementioned process is to leverage a revamped feature called edit backups (using ctrl-key to do a multi-select) – read about it in the admin guide.  Knowing what you’re getting into ahead of time will absolutely ensure a smooth(er) upgrade than going in dry. 

 

  • The new interface has removed TONS of clutter from the job window.  In the past having jobs for backup to disk / dupe to tape really made for an extremely cluttered experience.  And while I can appreciate the granularity of seeing EVERYTHING, sometimes there was simply too much to deal with effectively (a problem that was only going to worsen over time as more and more resources were being backed up).  While some of the things that were part of daily use were removed due to forward compatibility and design decisions – setting up complicated backup jobs now happens faster and more reliably than it ever has.  Sure it’s a little click-centric – I’m not going to argue about that.  The ends justify the means.  It was all a bit awkward at first – but after a few hours using the interface actively – and referring to the admin guide for quick pointers… I’m sorry – the benefits outweigh the gripes I have by a rather large margin.

 

  • The ability to set job stages against server resources is wonderful – as not only could you see EVERYTHING related to how the logical object was being backed up in one easy to read screen – but you could get every bit as granular with staged actions without some of the confusion which was present in the older versions.  Not to say that things were confusing in older versions – but any seasoned backup admin will admit the occasional battle with a complex job. 

 

  • No longer do you have to create media sets for b2d jobs – retention policies are set granularly by the job (EDIT:  the aforementioned implies use of NON-Removable disk media.  Removable disk backup media should still be managed by customary retention policy). This is huge for me – as there are some b2d jobs that I want to keep around for a few days – and others that as soon as they’re popped to tape can be expired.  This easily allows me to keep that which is important on disk – and nuke the stuff that isn’t.  In the past the number media policy sets required to do this would have related directly to how complicated I needed my retention to be.  Huge time saver.

 

No it isn’t that bad.  Nowadays, in internet land it seems more commonplace to read posts about that which sucks – instead of how well it is working.  When was the last time any of you got in on a “love fest” in a product forum?  It’s been a long time for me - that’s for sure.

Mark my words guys.  Windows 8 w/ metro is right around the corner (“where’d my start menu go?”)…  We’ll all be seeing this again… and again…. ad nauseam.

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pkh's picture

No longer do you have to create media sets for b2d jobs

This is not true.  It is only true if the job is targeted at a Disk Storage.  If it is targeted to a Disk Cartridge Device, you would still need media sets to manage the media.  See my blog below

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/zh-hans/bl...

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Brandon M. Mosak's picture

Thanks for the heads up.

I'll clarify that in the original post.

 

Neglected to even think that people were using disk-carts.  Been quite some time since i have seen any removable-spinners-in a cartridge being used. 

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CraigV's picture

...nice blog post!

 

Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/blogs/alte...

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Lesta G's picture

Actually, if you live in a virtual word, the pain is not as bad as it could be in a physical world......

Regards
Lesta
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bduce's picture

Well my company is looking for a new Back Up program after the Symantec BUE 2012 upgrade. I haven't seen such a poor piece of software since Windows ME and Vista. Management of jobs is almost impossible, creates a multitude of jobs after submitting the jobs. Terrible and leaves little doubt which direction we will will head.

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AmolB's picture

@bduce

I would suggest you to refer to the 1st post of the below thread. Symantec has come up with a list

of features which needs to be worked upon for better administration.

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/forums/impressions-backupexec-2012?page=3

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