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Backup Exec

Did you know- How to navigate the user interface and find tasks in Backup Exec 2012?

Created: 30 Oct 2012 • Updated: 28 May 2014 • 10 comments
Jessica_BEusability's picture
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Did you know- How to navigate the user interface and find tasks in Backup Exec 2012?

The newly designed Backup Exec 2012 interface, like any new UI, will take some getting used to. If you are upgrading from Backup Exec 2010 to 2012, you can expect a different navigation experience as well as a shift in how you access your tasks in the toolbar. Initially there will be a learning curve, but to get you up and running faster, I’ll deconstruct the core navigation and the toolbar layout. If you understand the basic principles that were followed when designing the UI, you may find it easier to navigate and locate tasks.

Let’s start with navigation. Backup Exec 2012 has four main tabs, Home, Backup and Restore, Storage, and Reports. The Home tab is a configurable user interface that gives you a high level overview of your environments. It includes information about alerts, backup status, storage usage, help and documentation links, etc.

 

The Backup and Restore tab has three levels of navigation, the Servers view, the Details view, and Properties.  The Servers view displays a list of servers that you are backing up as well as high level information about servers such as backup status, a snapshot of the last seven days of backup, active alerts, and the next scheduled backup. The Servers view is the main location where you will configure backups. The Details view includes information about the server such as scheduled jobs, job history, backup sets, alerts, and credentials.  The Properties view filters the data even more granularly and is only available on certain content in the Details view, such as backup sets. To navigate to the Details view, you can double-click a server or select a server, and then click the navigation arrow labeled “Details.” The properties view is accessed in the same way from the Details view.

 

The Storage tab has the same navigational hierarchy as the Servers view. The three levels of navigation are: All Storage, Details, and Properties. The All Storage view has high level information about the configured storage devices and media such as alerts, trending, state, capacity, etc. The Details view includes information that is specific to the storage device you selected. It has details about the jobs, job history, alerts, backup sets, etc for a storage device. The third level of navigation is the Properties view, which shows particular properties of the storage device. Navigating to the different levels is the same, no matter what tab or view you are in. Double-click an item or select an item and click the “Details” arrow.

 

The Reports tab has only one view. You can use the report groups to view the custom reports that you create, to view scheduled reports, or to view the regular reports by topic.

 

Now let’s move on to the tasks in the toolbar. Understanding the toolbar layout will help you discover tasks quickly. Each tab and level of navigation has a different toolbar. All of the content on the toolbar is specific to the tasks you can perform in a view. Depending on what is selected in the content area of the user interface, the tasks will be enabled or disabled. If a task is disabled, it’s a task that cannot be performed on the item you selected.

 

The items in the toolbar are organized into groups. The group name is identified at the bottom of the group box. Card sorting activities were conducted with customers to understand how tasks should be grouped and named. The results of the card sort showed that users wanted tasks that had similar functionality in the same group. For example, tasks that apply to a backup are in the Backups group and tasks that are restore-related are in the Restores group.

The order of the tasks was also considered and tested. The tasks that apply to multiple views are all in the same location. For example, the Views group has tasks for filtering, sorting, and changing how the view looks. These tasks apply to multiple views in the application and are therefore always accessible as the first tasks in the ribbon on any tab that you visit.

The next group includes tasks that are most frequently used. This group is strategically placed under the tab header since eye tracking data has shown that users look under the tab header more often than any other location in the toolbar. The tasks that are most commonly used are the backup, restore, and configuration tasks.

 

The Details view all have the same set of core groups. The last group in the toolbar changes depending on which Details tab you are viewing. The tasks that are specific to that view will appear. For example, if you are in the Jobs tab, you will see a group called Jobs with tasks that are specific to jobs.  You won’t need job tasks when you are in the Backup sets tab view, so the Jobs group is removed and the Backup sets group takes its place.

I hope this explanation of the newly designed Backup Exec 2012 interface helps you get up and running quickly.

 

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boe1's picture

I work with 3 other IT consulting companies besides myself - all of TRULY hate the new interface.   Everything was significantly more efficient in the old interface.  THE MOST IMPORTANT tab is the one that shows the current jobs. 99% of the time  you set up your backups and leave it on that page and always only care about that page.   It showed exactly what was going on in enough detail in the old version.

Managing tape groups was also much better in the old version - very cumbersome in the new interface.   I'm guessing the person who created it was trying to make it friendly for an iphone or something like that but as a result made it obstacle driven for people with workstations and server keyboards and mice - you know like IT administrators.

 

PLEASE bring back the job status page so I don't have to drill down 2-3 pages for EACH of the many servers I back up.

Also make it easier to tell if a tape is in the drive, manage media sets.

Actually - you could just give users a choice between the old efficient interface and the new playschool interface.

The three other consultanting companies I know are sticking with the old version of backup exec - I keep thinking I should do the same.  I've been using it for months now and still hate it with a burning passion.

I just showed an IT manager the new backup exec who was coming over from arcserve.  He had played with the old backup exec a few weeks ago before we implemented his new backup server - he's asking if we should go to the old backup exec as he can't find his way around this version but could the old version - so it isn't just people who have been using BE for years - even newbies hate the new interface.

I've called Symantec for assistance twice on it and you can tell by the way they phrase their answers they hate the new interface too.   Who managed to get this by testing?    If people don't like the new interface and can't use it - who will upgrade to it - lost sales for symantec.

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Andrew Wiggin's picture

I think that we struggle with this interface because it approaches backups & restores very differently than our minds currently view them. Instead of looking at it from a backup job perspective, it focuses more on the protection of each server. From the perspective of the one who has to configure the jobs, it is more cumbersome.

I agree with Boe's point that the current jobs tab was far and away the most important. I am disappointed that instead of improving that page, it was abandoned and replaced by the new approach. I hope that you have received some constructive feedback on this interface and I look forward to the next iteration.

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Colin Plaw's picture

We have been using Backup Exec since Symantec bought it from Veritas. Each new version has bought with it improvements, stability and continuity.

This version is substantually different, a new product with little continuity and as such will require staff retraining. Since retraining would be necessary with any new package this opens up the opportunity for us to re-evaluate our backup needs and to evaluate packages from other vendors.

 

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Jessica_BEusability's picture

I appreciate your feedback. I have noted your concerns and will bring it to the BE team for discussion. It is very helpful for us to understand your upgrade gains and losses. If you would like to participate in upcoming upgrade usability sessions, please sign up here: https://www.timetrade.com/book/T338M

By participating in our usability studies we can learn more about your environment. We are listening and making changes based on user feedback.

Thanks,

Jessica

 

 

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boe1's picture

Thanks - it is great Symantec is listening to our feedback.   One thing all the consultants and I would love is for cancelling an active job to immediately cancel a job - no waiting 10 minutes, no having to stop and start services etc.   Frankly most of the time the fastest way to kill a job is to just reboot the backup server.   I was really hoping by 2012 that this issue would finally be fixed.

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mmohando@cisco.com's picture

Hi,

When I tried to add linux Client  machine(installed with backup exec agent) to Backup exec server 2012 which is installed on windows machine 2008 R2  .i got error as "unable to connect to the is not installed with agent".Could you please help on this issue?

 

Environment Details

Backup Exec Server 2012 hosted on a Windows 2008 R2 Server

Client Machine RHEL 6.1

 

I have successfully installed the Backup Exec Agent on Linux Machine

Please find the Attached Log of Agent Installation
 

 

Regards

 

Mangalapriya.M

 

AttachmentSize
installralus.zip 2.5 KB
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boe1's picture

After wasting weeks with the new Symantec BE, I finally just installed the old one and it worked on the first try.    It seems the new BE is probably well designed for people with a single server and they want to run backups directly on a production server.

All of my clients have multiple virtual servers if not multiple physical servers and have a dedicated backup server, which only makes sense as about the only time you'll have to do a restore is if something happens to the physical box any ways.

With the NEW BE, you CANNOT schedule a group of backups and set priority on a folder, drive or even server.  On the NEW BE, you CANNOT easily schedule which backup job ejects the tape.  With the NEW BE you CANNOT select a group of servers as a single backup job as it breaks them down to individual backups which makes organizing your backups, reviewing your backups and tweaking your backups a nightmare.   With the NEW BE, you CANNOT easily say never show me this warning again like you could the old BE.

After submitting these issues to Symantec a couple of days later the response was that I'd be better off using the old BE.   While I regret wasting weeks on the new BE, I'm relieved to be using the vastly superior old BE 2010 again as it makes administration significantly more efficient and reliable.

My suggestion would be to call the new BE something else - e.g. Norton Backup and use the old interface, the advanced functionality of BE2010 and continue to improve that product and call it Backup Exec.    Clearly there is little similarity between the two and one is well suited for corporate customers and I'm sure BE2013 is well suited for somebody else.

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VADon's picture

Where is the toolbar, why did you follow the ever so hated micrsoft ribbon button? This isn't some web email program in use by the general public, we don't need "pretty icons and buttons" we just need software that is easy and quick to navigate.

Why two rows of menu icons at the top, why...

What is up with all the sliding menus? Just show me a tree list view like before so I know where I am... had to stare for a long time to even know there was an arrow to navigate. Horrible....

Will have to play with the trial version for a little longer to see if I can find everything I need, can't even see where my jobs setups list is or my job monitor.. those two tabs are used daily and yet they are hidden well in this new version.

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jreylor's picture

We're really angry with the new  "Interface?". Are you kidding Symantec? Do you consider us children? An Enterprise Backup tool NOT IS a playstation. Please, as Microsoft as done with its new Microsoft Server 2012 , give us a "Backup Exec 2012 service pack 1 " to customers return to the old interface to work normally...

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PERFORMANCESERVICES's picture

Just want to add myself to this list in hopes that Symantec will wise up. Our company is currently using BE 2010 R3, but it's lack of support is holding us back from upgrading VMWARE to 5.5 and Server 2012 R2. After downloading the BE 2012 eval version, I am finding that the new interface is so abominable that I am pulling the plug on our upgrade plans. I really hope Symantec has the common sense to abandon this new interface and turn their development attention back to the original interface. I understand how a company can make a mistake and lose it's way with a product, but truly successful companies are the ones that can admit their mistake and know when to reverse course when something is not working (remember when Intel cancelled their entire Netburst CPU line?)

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