Is early adoption worth it?
Backup Exec 2012 was released a couple of months ago, and almost immediately people started complaining. Check the forums for some very long posts. To many it missed the mark, while to Symantec, it addressed a number of new features it introduced that people might have asked for.
People had gone from a working environment with BE 2010 for instance, to something they no longer understood using BE 2012 where the focus was now no longer on resources, but on a server-centric basis.
Fast-forward a couple of months, and the long complaint queries have died off a bit. EIther people are no longer upgrading, and waiting for Backup Exec 2012 R2, or they're learning to deal with how BE 2012 now does things. In doing so, they're essentially working through the issues and changing their mindsets.
This is where my topic is addressed...is early adoption of new software worth it?
You're only as good as your last backup...or your last restore is the old adage. With the way BE 2012 was about to change your backup methodology, would it have been wise to upgrade immediately to the new version?
In my mind, no. Which is why I have yet to advise that my now old team go ahead and upgrade the 30 servers in the environment to BE 2012. The changes were significant, they were major, and they changed the entire backup process.
I stated last year in a usability study that anybody new to BE wouldn't struggle to get their minds around the new methodology, while experienced BE administrators would. Seems like i might have been right there.
So, how do you go about putting new software like BE 2012 into your environment? 1 word (repeated many times): Test! Test! Test!
With future releases of BE, take part in the Beta. It's valuable, both for Symantec themselves, and yourself to get used to the way the software works. With VMs, this becomes even easier. Simply load a VM with an OS and BE xxxx onto your production cluster or your workstation, and check out how it works.
The Beta allows you to interact with other people who are also testing the software, feedback here being crucial to fixing any issues. These issues are taken back to the development team & hopefully end up doing what you want it too…
In some cases, early adoption does have its merits in my mind. Moving between revisions of BE 2010 for instance being a case in point. I never bothered to check out the software much. I installed it on my CASO server and 1 server I designated as a test box, and after a couple of days, would then proceed to roll it out to the other sites.
In considering early adoption, take into account what people are saying in the news, on forums, between each other and make up your own mind around this. I have no doubt that BE 2012 R2 is going to fix a lot of issues that people had with the initial release, and maybe this will be the version you take the plunge on!