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Any experience upgrading to Backup Exec 2014 yet?

Created: 04 Jun 2014 | 27 comments

The Symantec engineers handling my currently open support cases have informed me that Backup Exec 2014 is out, and wouldn't I just try and upgrade in the hope that it might resolve the issues in question.

Frankly, I'm scared.

It took me nine months, half a dozen support cases, and countless posts to this honorable forum to get Backup Exec 2012 into a shape where I can say with conviction that I "have backups". I certainly don't want to repeat that experience. In fact I cannot afford to.

On the other hand, there are a couple of issues left which I would love to see fixed, including but not limited to the still open support cases, and I see most of these heading inexorably towards the "upgrade to BE 2014 or live with it" resolution, if not already there.

Is there already experience with upgrading from BE 2012 to 2014? What should I prepare myself for? How much time and manpower do I need to budget? Is there a step by step description of the upgrade process I can check in advance for problematic steps and necessary downtimes? What about the dreaded HCL and SCL? Is there a list of hardware and software for which support has been dropped? What is my way to back out in case the whole endeavour turns catastrophic?

Media server configuration:

  • Backup Exec 2012 Service Pack 4
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Cisco UCS C22 M3S V02, dual Xeon E5-2440 quad core, 16 GB RAM
  • LSI MegaRAID with six 1 TB S-ATA disks in RAID5 configuration als local disk storage
  • Tandberg T24 LTO-5 changer connected to LSI SAS controller as main tape library
  • Tandberg standalone LTO-5 drive connected to Emulex FibreChannel controller as secondary tape drive

Backed up servers:

  • one VMware ESXi 5.5 HA cluster
  • one virtual Windows Server 2008 R2 server (running on the VMware cluster but backed up separately through RAWS because Backup Exec 2012 AVVI cannot cope with a 2 TB disk)
  • one physical Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 server
  • itself
Operating Systems:

Comments 27 CommentsJump to latest comment

CraigV's picture

Hi,

I don't do technical work anymore, but from past experiences, I can share this:

1. Upgrades on the media server would take about an hour. From my perspective, this would involve grabing manual copies of the Data/Catalogs folders first, then upgrading the media server, and running LiveUpdate for any additional patches. Factor in a restart of the server.

2. Upgrades to the RAWS agents would be anything between 5-15 minutes, and you'd need to factor in a possible restart.

3. With regards to the HCL and SCL, you can check to see where support has been dropped.

http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH205797

4. The upgrade is straight-forward. If you have done an upgrade before, it will follow the same process. Manual copies of the Data/Catalogs folders; upgrading the media server to BE 2014 with any subsequent patches; upgrade the remote server RAWS agents.

5. If the upgrade fails, the system will revert back all the changes made. If the upgrade goes through and you get horribly stuck, assuming no backups have run yet, then you have the Data/Catalogs folders already copied from BE 2012. Uninstall BE 2014, reinstall BE 2012 and apply the Data/Catalogs folders which completes your downgrade.

I used to go for the latest version after about a week of testing. I personally didn't have issues, but found, for instance, BE 2010 R2 to be poor. Never went to BE 2012 after being a part of the usability study and seeing what was coming down the line. BE 2014 has also added a number of previously removed features back.

Watch the forums...someone is inevitably going to have some issues which is always a good way to get information about what's going on. test the product yourself, and if you can do a test upgrade, do so.

Thanks!

Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

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

Wes Stewart's picture

I have been trying to do the upgrade all day because of the issues I have had with SP4.  It has been failing every time at the SQL Server upgrade. 
 

VJware's picture

Hiya Wes,

Have you engaged technical support for assistance with the upgrade ? Additionally, what errors do you receive during the install ? Would you post the install log as well.

CraigV's picture

Wes: I used to get an error when upgrading to a new version of BE when the SQL upgrade section came up. Found out that McAfee was blocking this for some weird reason. If you have an AV installed on the media server, then stop and disable it, and then try the upgrade again.

Thanks!

Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

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

MSI_iqbal's picture

I thought there will be an upgrade guide, but i find nothing for upgrade to backup exec 2014. And before you upgrade you need to upgrade your current license first because when you re-import it will say your license is invalid

Best regards,

Iqbal

VJware's picture

Hiya Iqbal,

The new licenses can be added once the upgrade is complete as well. It is not imperative that the licenses are upgraded prior to the BE upgrade.

The upgrade process is similar to that of prev versions. That being said, have you had a look @ this KB - http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=HOWTO98878

MSI_iqbal's picture

Thanks VJware, that is a good trick. i forget about that one.

dac086's picture

Are you guys upgrading to 2014 then upgrading OS to 2012?

Artegic's picture

I won't. My media server was set up with 2008 and will continue running it until support for 2008 ends or the server is replaced, whichever comes first. I have no interest in complicating things further by also updating the OS.

Wes Stewart's picture

I tried to do a 2014 upgrade in-place and had many failed installs.  It kept failing at the SQL Server upgrade.  I spent most of a day doing many of the problem solving steps I read about and then threw in the towel.   The SQL upgrade problem had to do with  SIDs, the Symantec docs were useless.  I found other help online with regards to SQL upgrades and SID issues, but when they said I had to edit the registry in several different keys dealing with security, I passed.

I had a 2012 server sitting around doing absolutely nothing so I put BE 2014 on it yesterday and setup a couple of jobs.  Everything ran fine last night with those jobs so I think I will migrate all of the jobs over to that new server and wash my hands of BE 2012 SP4 and all of its issues. 

I am liking the interface changes of 2014.

Artegic's picture

Changes like those described in the first and second comment on

http://www.symantec.com/connect/forums/be-2014-log...

would be nice to know in advance, too, along with such details as whether the upgrade process will automatically split the jobs as necessary or the affected SQL jobs will just stop working after the upgrade.

Typically I would expect that kind of information in an upgrade guide and/or release notes. Anything like that in the works perhaps?

FJR1300's picture

As one of the people who had a horrible upgrade to 2012, I have been pleasantly surprised by the upgrade experience to 2014 today.  I've only completed a few test backups, but all my jobs converted with no errors and everything looks good.  I recommend upgrading without license codes and then importing them in afterwards, as well as copying the data and catalogs to revert if things went wrong as suggested in other posts.  But my upgrade was quick and uneventful.

We use the Exchange agent, some VM backups, some physical and some VM's backed up as physical to avoid the VM synch lockup.  Nothing too complex other than that.

If you don't see a follow-up post, that means I've taken down my Symantec dartboard and things continue to go well.

- Paul

M Strong's picture

Upgrade Feedback:

Just upgraded one of our 2 BE servers - (A small, simple environment: Single Tape Drive, no B2D).

Everything went smoothly, all jobs migrated successfully.  Followed best practices; backed up the DB & the Data and Catalogs folders.  Ran Live-udpate after install and before updating Agents.  Agent push succeeded without issue - (requried reboot on all servers).  Kept same domain user that was previously created for 2012 edition of BE (Services/Default System Account).  Applied licenses after installation, no troubles yet.

Had to call support only about our licensing as we didn't receive upgraded 2014 serials for all of our production 2012 serials.  Looked like only one current serial was automatically updated.

We will be running the first round of backups using 2014 this evening.
I am interested to see if the marketing claim of 'Up to 100% faster backups...' is valid at all, that would be great...

I have yet to dig into the 'new/returned' features but so far 2014 looks a lot like 2012, only bit more refined.

Update, Update:   I have not noticed any grandiose improvement in backup times/durations.  Backups seem to be keeping to the same average data-rates and time-spans as with the previous BE2012.  I am not aware of any new configuration options that may have an impact on backup effeciency, so have not made any settings changes since upgrade, only monitoring results of existing backup jobs.

-M

FJR1300's picture

As a followup to my upgrade, I got a nasty surprise that you should watch out for.  It thankfully did not make me reboot all my servers as we are 24X7 and downtime windows are precious to us.  It gave me the information message that the server needed to be rebooted but this has always been common and you could ignore it until the next planned reboot unless you got some error messages.

We didn't get any error messages on the backups, just some informational messages about the agents that I usually ignore if the backups show as successful.  Note that these are NOT errors in BE terms and the backup actually shows green and the job says it is successful.

However about 10 of my servers ONLY backed up  shares that were on those servers and ignored the C Drive, other Drives, and the system backup.  I don't have a lot of data in these shares, so it was backing up about 2% of my data and telling me it was successful with only a warning and a nice green light.

Not cool.

I take partial responsibility because I should be reading the warnings and going through all the logs after an important upgrade.  Forunately I finally did through my audits.  But be sure BE is able to get to your drives to back them up or it will tell you the backup is good.  This is a dangerous trap that is too easy to fall into in my opinion.

I would say from my experience that reboots of agent computers are required even when they don't strongly encourage it.

So I have noticed that my backups were much faster up to now because we weren't backing things up anymore.  Oops.  Not too happy about that, Symantec.

Colin Weaver's picture

For benefit of others I worked directly with FJR1300 to understand his issue with only backing up the shares when the remote agent has stopped and have officially involved engineering to review the findings

the issue is acknowledged in

http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH223572

FJR1300's picture

I was able to discuss with support the issue above about the agent failing and the drives not backing up but the backup job reporting it was successful.  They said this was an intentional change due to many customer complaints of getting errors that a job failed when there was just a file or selection that couldn't be backed up.  I feel this is a case of a bad tradeoff.  I don't like getting errors when a single file is unavailable, but I'd much rather suffer with having to ignore that error than not getting an error when entire drives are no longer backed up due to remote agent failures.

At least give users the notice that this changed when upgrading.  I would think the core goal of BE is helping the customer know his information is backed up correctly.  This hidden change compromises this core goal.

Maybe you could have this as a settable parameter, so the customer could take responsibility for managing the setting?

As to the overall status of my upgrade, I still have problems with my Exchange backup but the agent issues are currently fixed after another round of costly reboots this last weekend.  The GRT restores from the VM Differentials were not working last week, but I think they are working now.

pkh's picture

Agree. Instead of just simply surppressing the error messages, this suppression should be an option for the use to choose. You should post your objections to this change as an idea in the Ideas section

kreynolds's picture

Upgraded from 2012 to 2014 three weeks ago.  Life is much better for this backup admin... smiley  I'm not having to do so much tweaking and fussing over the annoyances of 2012.  Thanks for getting this right, Symantec, you have freed me up for other stuff I need to be doing!

I was able to register the serial numbers on-line once I had all of the current ones for my 2014 support identified from the licensing portal (I think my spam filter trashed these when they came out in June).

All jobs carried over, media management, devices all good.  Using ExaGrid EX-5000 dedupe appliance, no issues with this device, the OST plugin didn't require an upgrade.

Thanks for bringing back the job monitor; I didn't realize how much I was missing with this gone.  It helps so much with the "big picture" of what is going on.  Well done.

I was very careful with the agent updates as once you install it, backups are hosed until you reboot.  I still have a few servers left to update but so far so good.  Significant speed improvements as well; on one physical server I'm seeing 5-6 GB per minute.

I have 35 Hyper-V VMs in a three-node HA cluster as well as about 15 physical servers.  The agent is installed on all of the VMs; IMHO this is the best way to go if you need GRT (who doesn't?).  The backups defined through the cluster seem to do well.  I'm still experimenting with the hardware provider snapshot (Dell EQL) and while it works, need to scrutinize some of my event log entries.  I have taken the strategy of doing weekly backups through the cluster, but daily backups straight from the VM.  I was backing up far too much data every night; when I first got the Hyper-V running here we didn't have near the volume of VMs.

Just finished upgrading to Exchange 2010.  The agent for apps is working very nicely, and I do a full backup of 280GB of Exchange information stores every night in about 1 1/2 hours.  Nice.

This morning I just completed a restore of an entire user mailbox (150 megabytes) from the ExaGrid unit, redirecting to another mailbox.  It took all of three minutes.  Much better than 2012, that was taking nearly an hour.  Again, thanks.

Overall, I am VERY HAPPY with this upgrade.  It is obvious that Symantec did their homework and some serious QA before releasing the product.  At least in my world the issues I was fighting are no longer a battle.

Artegic's picture

Anyone encountered the bug described in

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/ideas/mass...

and able to shed some light on this? If that's really how Backup Exec 2014 behaves then that's a real blocker.

TR-BE2014's picture

"Any experience upgrading to Backup Exec 2014 yet?"

Nope. Lots of experience not being able to upgrade, though. It keeps telling me I need the latest versions of .net and msxml, but I have the latest. Windows update doesn't find anything newer. When I continue the installation, SQL fails to install every time.

Sayoungistan's picture

About upgrading from previous versions of Backup Exec to Backup Exec 2014

Before you upgrade Backup Exec, do the following:-

1) Delete the job histories and the catalogs that you no longer need to shorten the upgrade window.

2) Run a database maintenance job.

3) Verify that all available updates are installed for your current version of Backup Exec.

4) Locate your license information and verify that your licenses are current. You must enter license information for Backup Exec 2014 when you upgrade.

First Run the Live update for backup exec with latest updates:-

While update might be getting error LU1805:

Followed the below steps:

1)Downloaded the Live update 3.4.

2)Uninstall Live update version from Add/Remove programms.

3)From the windows explorer, go to the folder options and enable the option to "Show hidden files".

4)Delete the folder "Live update" from the Location c:\users\All users\Symantec.

5)Installed the Symantec Live update 3.4.

6)Open the Symantec Live update from control panel and select the " interactive mode".

7)Open a command prompt and run the command "c:\program files\symantec\backup exec\BeUpdateOps.exe -AddBE -OptOut" to re-register backup exec with live Update.

8)Launch the Backup exec and start the Live update and it was successful.

9)Installed all latest updates until no updates are pending to install.

10)Check whether Backup exec is up to date or not.

Start the Procedure for Backup Exec Upgradation:-

1) Downloaded the Backup exec 2014 software and License File.

2) Stop the SQL services of Backup Exec 2010.

3) Copy the Data and Catalog folder from Symantec root directory.

4) Start the SQL services of Backup Exec 2010.

5) Start the installation of Backup Exec 2014 by installing the setup as normal installation.

6) Added the License Files.

7) Backup Exec 2014 was installed successful.

8) Reboot the server.

9) Launched the Backup Exec 2014 and checked the backup Jobs.

10)Create a test policy job and run the test job which is successful.

How to install a typical installation:-

To install a typical installation of Backup Exec

From the installation media browser, click Install Products, and then select   Backup Exec.

If the required version of Microsoft .NET Framework is not already installed on this computer, Backup Exec installs it. The installation of the Microsoft.NET Framework may take some time.

On the Welcome panel, read the license agreement, and then click I accept the terms of the license agreement.

Click Next.

On the Installation Type panel, click Typical installation, and then click Next.

The Environment Check runs automatically.

Review the results of the Environment Check.

Do one of the following:

If the Environment Check does not reveal any issues that may prevent a successful installation of Backup Exec, click Next.

If the Environment Check reveals any issues that may prevent a successful installation of Backup Exec, click Cancel to exit the wizard. Correct the issues before you attempt to install Backup Exec again.

Select one of the following methods to add licenses:

To enter serial numbers manually or To import licenses from the Symantec License Files.

Next.

On the Service Account panel, provide a user name, password, and domain for an Administrator account that the Backup Exec system services can use.

You cannot install Backup Exec with an account that has a blank password on Windows Server 2003/2008/2012 computers unless Windows is configured to allow it. If you try to do so, the following error message appears when Backup Exec services are created:

The account name and/or password supplied is not valid. Re-enter the login information and try again.

You can, however, configure Windows to allow for blank passwords. For more information, see your Windows documentation.

If you want to change the directory where Backup Exec files are installed, click Change, and then select a new location.

If you change the directory to a new location, ensure that you select a secure location where you can store sensitive data such as passwords.

Click Next.

If the SQL Express Setup panel appears, perform the following steps to identify the location of the SQL Express setup file:

Click Browse.

Navigate to the location where you downloaded the SQL Express 2008 R2 SP2 setup file.

Click OK.

Click Next.

Review the Backup Exec installation summary, and then click Install.

Click Finish.

On the Remote Computers panel, do one of the following:-

To install the Agent for Windows on one remote computer:

Do the following in the order listed:

Click Add.

Select Add a Single Computer.

Type the fully qualified name of the remote computer or click Browse Remote Computers to locate the remote computer.

Under Remote computer credentials, type the credentials that Backup Exec can use to connect to the remote servers.

You must use Administrator credentials.

Click Next.

In the Destination Folder field, enter the path where you want to install the files.

Click Next.

After all of the computers in the list are validated and the list is complete, click Next.

To install the Agent for Windows on multiple computers using the same settings:

Do the following in the order listed:

Click Add.

Select Add Multiple Computers with the Same Settings.

Type the fully qualified name of the remote computer or click Browse to locate the remote computer.

Click Add to List.

Type the fully qualified name and then click Add to List for all of the remote computers for which you want to push-install the Agent for Windows.

Under Remote computer credentials, type the credentials that Backup Exec can use to connect to the remote servers.

You must use Administrator credentials.

Click Next.

In the Destination Folder field, enter the path where you want to install the files.

Click Next.

After all of the computers in the list are validated and the list is complete, click Next.

To proceed without push-installing the Agent for Windows:

Click Next.

Review the Backup Exec installation summary, and then click Install.

f you installed the Agent for Windows on remote computers, on the Remote Installation dialog box, click Next.

When the installation is complete, you can run LiveUpdate, choose to restart the system, view the readme, or remove the Backup Exec shortcut from the desktop.

Click Next, and then click Finish to exit the wizard.

If you chose to restart the system, the computer will restart automatically.

For reference:-

http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO98878
http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO98852

CraigV's picture

...1 of those links has already been posted, but in future just post the links...no need to take everything out of what is contained in them.

Thanks!

Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

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

FJR1300's picture

Update to my upgrade situtation: I now have the BE server crashing multiple times overnight during the backups.  Our catalogs have gotten corrupt and I cannot restore recently backed up files.  The tech support person escalated the issue Monday night, which according to an agent a minute ago, they had no one in the office today that could help me, so I'm out of luck again tonight.

Unacceptable, Symantec.

mgmasterv2's picture

so far i upgraded 4 BE Servers and have no problem.

Wes Stewart's picture

Don't believe the hype of 100% faster backup.  Yesterday I moved a file server backup from my 2012 BE Server to my 2014 BE Server.

BE 2012:  Backup Size - 696Gb Time - 13:00:59
BE 2014:  Backup Size - 700Gb Time - 13:00:58

Both backups backed up to the same NAS.

kreynolds's picture

Cannot restore Hyper-V VM and rename... say what?

Now I'm stumped as to why this was overlooked.  Apparently I cannot restore a backup of a VM to another name while the live VM is running.  How am I supposed to test restores?  Do I have to go through the process of not registering the VM in the restore job, create a VM, then tie to the VHD files?

Request to please add the option to rename the VM when it is restored.  The safety feature of having the VM turned off is good if you are restoring the VM to the same location and replacing it, as well as disabling NICs in restored VMs.  That kept me out of trouble on 2012.

DavidPreston's picture

Well I must say I was in two minds about doing this upgrade,
as I was seeing positive and bad reviews on the new backup exc 2014 ... 

And as for Backup exc 2012. Lets just not say anything, and leave it at that.

I downloaded the 2014 Files and ready for action. 

Licence was not going smoothly, so I figured I will sort it out later as I was eager to see this new "100% faster" backup solution at work.

I went ahead and did the trial install and everthing is looking good.  (10am)

A while later installation is done and reboot takes place.

By now I am quiet suprized and have a good feeling about this .. or so I thought.

Server is up .. Backup Exc is Up .. Launching Looking great ..
It then asks to install the latest Update .. 

Ok, go ahead and install the "Update", and thats when the devil awakes.

I am going to skip the messy and bloody painful parts,  and simply say its now  6:40 pm.

And I am stressed as hell and have been trying every fix to get the 2014 services to start up .. and keeps on falling over and over again.
 
I am not impressed!  
 

PS  ... 

"When you buy a brand new Car, do you do you have to fix it, to get home ?"