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Backup Exec

Simplified Restore Workflow in BE 2012

Created: 11 Apr 2012 • Updated: 28 May 2014 • 18 comments
Anker Tsaur's picture
+3 5 Votes
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Hello again!  This is my second blog.  Today, I’d like to talk about another amazing feature, “Simplified Restore Workflow“  that is introduced in Backup Exec 2012.  Over the past 15 years, we have developed many different backup technologies (for example, incremental, differential, synthetics, full, GRT enabled backup, and the Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure for virtual environment protection) to protect today’s complicated IT environment efficiently.   However, there are some side effects from providing such rich functionalities.  We made restore jobs more difficult for customers.  With versions of Backup Exec prior to Backup Exec 2012, customers must figure out all the necessary backup sets from full to incremental, make the restore selection from each backup set. and submit each one in the correct order to successfully restore data completely.    It is doable for a simple environment using a single backup method , such as a full backup.  However, in a complicated IT environment that uses multiple backup methods, performing an accurate restore can be a very challenging job, even for a professional IT staff or a Backup Exec expert.

In Backup Exec 2012, we introduced a new “Restore Wizard” to guide you through creating a restore job with few simple clicks, regardless of which backup methods were used to backup the data.   In order to achieve such a simple user interface for the restore task, we have spent a huge amount of effort to develop a complicated algorithm to intelligently and automatically perform all the difficult tasks that were traditionally done by customers in earlier versions of Backup Exec.   Let me introduce the new restore workflow by using the following screen shots to guide you through this amazing new feature.      

All restore operations start when you select a server or a distributed application, such as. VCenter.

  1. What type of data do you want to restore for a selected server? 

For example, . file or folder, Exchange database, or SQL database.

Design background:  Provide a wizard to guide you through restoring data in a more intuitive way.  We provide two layers of hierarchy to help you step into the restore operation that is needed.  We start it with the available data type.  In the example above, the user has run a Simplified Disaster Recovery backup  on the selected server which only has Exchange installed on it.    That’s why three types of data can be restored as shown.  

  1. If you selected Exchange in the previous step , do you want to recover a database or restore a few objects such as email messages?

Design background:  Provide the proper restore view according to the desired restore operation.   For Exchange, the Restore wizard asks if you want to restore a granular item such as an email message, or if you want to recover the Exchange database.  Therefore, the proper restore view can be presented for a selected restore operation.

  1. What point in time do you want to restore from or recover to?

Design background:  We introduce the new PIT (Point In Time) concept in Backup Exec 2012.  The PIT view gives you the complete view of the file system or the application database at the point of time when the backup job is done, no matter which backup method is used, such as full or incremental.  In earlier versions of Backup Exec, we show what has been contained in the backup.   If it is the incremental backup, just changed files appear in the backup.   If you want to completely restore a folder to the point of a selected incremental backup, you  select that folder from that incremental backup and from each incremental backup before the selected one, and from the latest full backup before the selected incremental backup.   It is a very tedious and error-prone operation. 

In Backup Exec 2012, the PIT view is intelligently constructed by synthesizing the selected incremental backup set and its associated incremental/full backup sets.   Therefore, you can select a folder to be completely restored to the selected PIT with single click.

  1. If you have more than one copy of the backup data, do you want to restore from a different copy than what was selected by the built-in, intelligent algorithm?

Design background:  In Backup Exec 2012, we added an intelligent algorithm that figures out the required backup sets (from full to selected incremental) according to the application data and the backup technologies that were used. This algorithm also picks the most optimized copy of the backup set as the default to restore from if there is more than one copy of the same backup data.   The algorithm has been designed and implemented to consider media availability (online/offline), storage type (disk/tape) and other limitations caused by the backup technology that was used when it chooses the most optimized copy.   However, we still give you the option to select a different copy to restore from (as shown in screen shot above) in case the copy that is picked by the built-in algorithm is not working or is not optimal for your particular environment.

  1. Final Steps – Restore options and summary

The following screen shots show the rest of the normal restore options that you can set.  The last screen shot shows the restore summary that appears before you submit the restore job.   

I hope that with these descriptions and screen shots, you can see how much effort we have used to embed intelligence into Backup Exec to simplify the restore task for you.   

Enough for today; in my next blog, I plan to dive deeper and talk about how we simplify the most challenging SQL restore scenario in Backup Exec 2012. 

Anker Tsaur

Distinguished Engineer

Backup Exec Team

Symantec Corporation

Comments 18 CommentsJump to latest comment

behwnins's picture

One thing I miss... in the old version (BE 2010) if I wanted to see what was on a particular tape I could just right click on the tape and pull down restore and then see what was on that tape.  If I wanted to restore just those files it was much easier to do that, but even just having a quick way to see in more detail what is on the tape is super useful!

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GregOfBE's picture

If you are in the Storage view, double click on the tape, then click on the "Backup Sets" tab. This shows the backup sets on that tape. From there, Double click on one of the backup sets and choose the "Contents" tab. This actually shows the data on the tape. We don't allow Restore yet from there but thanks for the feedback for future consideration.

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Anker Tsaur's picture

The media restore view has been depreciated in BE 2012.  However, you would be still able to view what backup set and granular item information (e.g. file/folder) from media view as Greg replied.

Here are screen shots shows you how to get there step by step. 

Click Storage tab:

Select All Media and click All Media Detail:

Select a media and double clicks on the selected media:

Select a backup set and double clicks on the selected backup set:

Select Contents and you can see the tree view of granular items in the backup set.

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TTT's picture

Greg and Anker, isn't that a lot of screens and a lot of clicking compared to the previous version?  I agree with the original poster- it was nice to just right-click on a tape and view the sets, and it made sense to do a restore from the same screen.  When I loaded a specific tape back into the library, I would just right-click the newly-loaded tape and restore what I needed.  Why was that functionality removed? 

I also don't understand why moving media between sets is now so difficult.  Before BE 2012, I would use drag/drop to move media between sets (example = moving from Keep/Infinite to Scratch, or age-rotating media between GFS sets).  Now, with BE 2012, that same operation takes me 5 clicks (or 8 keystrokes) with the "Associate with Media Set" wizard.

I can't even see what's in a set anymore unless I double click it to view "Details", then hit the backspace key to go back to "all storage".

Why does everything require more steps and more screens to complete than it used to?  Isn't there an "expert" option that can be turned on?

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Anker Tsaur's picture

Thanks for the feedback. Concerning restoring from the context of the media, yes, we're hearing that feedback and I can see your point. Also, the drag/drop and the increased clicks to move media makes sense too. We appreciate your feedback and this will help us to improve the user experience going forward.

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sym.user's picture

What do your developers do with all the feedback other than complicating the software? I am stuck with an issue restoring data from a tape which I cataloged, this tape was used in BE2010 on a different server. Now as the server has been replaced, the tape drive is connected to a different server with BE2012, I had cataloged the tape and can see the contents, but how can I restore the data? I am a certified SSP but no use as I cant figure it figure it myself let alone my engineers. Your help would be much appreciated, thanks.

EDIT: figured out, thanks, but after a few scratches in my head..the whole new software experience is just a joke and not easy at all. I prefer the 11d over all these new versions. I spent 3 hrs on phone with Symantec developers for .Cloud as a valued partner and even after feedback I dont see any improvements, we have done a big mistake upgrading the software to 2012.

Thanks anyway, atleast we have some kind of response from Symantec in this community.

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Anker Tsaur's picture

We have heard he feed back and are working hard on a solution to solve "restore from media view" issue.

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RickkeeC's picture

I want to mark this reply as offensive.  Offensive to my intelligence.
I believed it four years ago, it is November 2014 and absolutely nothing has  been done.  Three service packs over three years, just to fix the bugs, and no improvement.

None of the above works for granular Exchange mailbox restore.

We have many tapes, and to restore a mailbox from a month ago, BE just keeps asking for different media. Sitting at the server for hours swapping disks, so BE can find everything it needs to start the job.

After three hours, I still have no way to tell which media will be needed for the next restore job, the only is to sit in the server room, and wait for BE to ask for something, whir and click and spit out the media and ask for anohter one, and another one, then back to the first one, then another one, then file not found and it spits the tape out.

How would anyone ever purchase the 2014 edition after this one was such an epic failure.
Can you restore from media in the new 2014?  If so you should provide a free upgrade to everyone who purchased it.  Because, there is no discount to upgrade.  From 10d to 11d to 2012 the cost is close to $1,000 each version with Exchange and SQL and additional server agents.  

We paid good money to have the most valuable feature we have used for 15 years, to be gutted from the system without warning, and there is no going back to the old version, to read files backed up from the new version.   Gosh, you cannot even tell which media you will need for the new simple restore feature.  Instead of being efficent and getting what we need off our media, we "sit-and-swap" for an hour, and sometimes the restore fails.

Can you restore from media in the new 2014?

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Maxgeo's picture

I cant get any of the GRT stuff to work for backed up VM's. There is no option to push out an install of the RAW's needed to make this possible. Are we meant to install them seperately/manually? Still the UI should guide you through this and help fill you with confidence that the backups you make will be 'useful'. All i see are VMDK's. If all i wanted were VMDK's I would use SAN level snapshots in a second.

Please advise.

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GregOfBE's picture

To get file/folder granular restore from VM backups:

1. Back up the guest VM via its host

2. To restore, select the VM guest system in the Backup and Restore view and choose "Restore". Restoring files/folders should be a choice

Note: File/folder restore does NOT require the agent to be installed on the guest VM.

To get application GRT from VM backups:

1. First install the agent on the VM guest. Do this using the add server wizard. (If its a Windows system, choose "Add Microsoft Windows computers...").

2. Once the agent is installed, back up the guest VM via the host making sure that the application GRT options are turned ON. Find those options in the "Virtual Machines" options page in the backup dialog.

3. After backing up with the GRT options ON and the agent installed on the guest VM, you can go to the guest VM in the backup and restore view and choose restore. You should have options for restoring granular application data.

Note: You do need the agent installed on the guest for application granular recovery when backing up the VM via the host.

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Luca Balzaretti's picture

When i start the recovery Wizard, in my Backup Exec 2012, i cannot see the Exchange option, but only "file and folder".

I make a GRT backup throuth AVVI

If I backup Exchange throught the normal Windows Agent, I see the Exchange options, in restorin, but thorught AVVI not

Any help or suggestion ?

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Kiran Bandi's picture

I would recommend you to post your query in the forums....

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hsaryan's picture

Ok, what if you had backup job split between multiple Tape Media, and you want to keep those tapes in a separate location for long term archiving. How can you identify which Tapes Medias where used for any given backup set-?    

 Are there any reports-?  But then even the reports take forever to generate. I think this whole BE 2012 has complicated our lifes more than what it use to be.....

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Matevz's picture


We are also having problems, restoring jsut file/folderf from VMs.

If I folllow your instructions, the BackupExec 2012 only ofers me to restore a vmdk file, not the files/folder that are inside the VM.

What am I doing wrong?

Thank you for you reply,



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Anker Tsaur's picture

For granular restore, you need to select the virtual machine from main server view (do not select host machine or VCenter) and click on restore.  The wizard should guide you through to restore individual folder and files on VM.   

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Sachinsri2's picture

Hi All,

Thanks for sharing the thoughts. The BE 2012 is much more complicated and makes the life difficult of all those peoples who is using from a long time. I am working with BE since 10d but this new version which is more complicated, we are not advicing our clients to upgrade to 2012. Also had a word with Symantec Development team to make 2012 much easier as like 2010. They are working on it but how long it will take no one know.



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ShuNX's picture

The restore from the backup set context would be unvalueable when the original server is not available in the server list. Also note it is not possible to add arbitrary host there, since the validation would fail (at least for VMware servers).

Hope it to be implemented soon.



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dl2rcf's picture


that a software in 2010 (we use 2010R3 and cannot migrate) cannot restore a point in time...I mean, come on, BE 2010 ain't hobbiest freeware!

Where does the "error-prone-ness" of versions prior to 2012 in this case (as described within the original blog entry) come from? If You select all the incrementals via this workaround:

Does e.g. BE2010 R3 restore the data in the correct order of the incremental backups (beginning with the oldest...) or is this a possible problem-issue yet? Is my way "safe" for environment where data gets only added by the users (never changed/ altered) and only deleted on the server once by the admin (and then the directory gets never created again except when restoring the original from tape)?

Thanks for answers,


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