Backup Exec 2012 - warning to those of you still on 2010
I am the system administrator for my company and in charge of managing our backup infrastructure. I, like most other sys admins thought that this upgrade would be smooth, painless and problem free as have been my upgrades from 10d-11d, 11d-12, 12-2010. Unfortunately this is not the case.
I will start with the migration of your existing jobs. If like me you have multiple servers that share similar characteristics in regards to backing up you will most likely have a job that encompasses multiple servers. My backup job had 12 servers in it. After migrating the job to 2012 I found that it had actually disappeared. What it had been replaced with is a single job for each server, all listed individually. You can see the problem. Now when I need to change a setting on this backup job I have to change it on every single server individually. Wow what a great feature.
Next I should try and describe what they have done with the well-loved, tried and tested interface that had taken tens of years of research, customer feedback and hard work to create. They binned it and replaced it with what I can only describe as an insult to my intelligence. You see Backup Exec assumes that this software is to be used by people with the mental age of about 5, possibly 6. I'm not kidding when I say they have drastically reduced your ability to have complete control and granularity over your backups. Here are some examples; Sometimes I need to exclude a particular job from running on a particular day - maybe because it will clash with another manually run job I have started. You can no longer exlude individual jobs! What, surely not I hear you say? Well its true, when you click the exclude button on the very difficult to navigate, badly designed an hideous looking calendar it excludes all of your jobs at the same time. Why would I want this? I should have the choice, why am I forced to exclude ALL of my jobs? Another bugbear is why we are forced to choose between weekday or weekend. I want to specifiy certain days for certain backups as I did before - whats the matter don't you trust that people are capable of figuring out what a weekday is? I loved the scheduler in BE 2010, it worked so well. It is sorely missed.
Other niggles are the restore process, for some reason this defaults to only show you your backed up data from the last day?! I'm not sure about you but nine times out of ten I'm restoring data older than a day. I thought my backups had failed and the data wasn't there, I didn't think that Backup Exec would be hiding it. We also now have a completely pointless 'Home' button that shows you lots of data that you will never really use or look at - it looks like they spent a lot of time on this, shame as so many other important areas needed attention.
Oh and here is a REALLY BIG PROBLEM for you SQL server administrators out there. You can no longer take copy only backups of your SQL server?! What?! Absolute insanity, why would you remove such a vital feature. Most SQL administrators will be running their own Microsoft SQL initiated backups and only need the Backup Exec backup as a copy. You see Symantec when you cannot take a copy only backup you are messing with the data's archive bit and this means you can only use one system to back the data up. Two copies are required as the Microsoft SQL backups are easier to restore and manipulate in management studio. We then have the Backup Exec copy as a failsafe. Now that this feature is removed we simply do not run Backup Exec backups of our SQL server anymore. Please see other users postings on this:
Occasionally I like to view the jobs I currently have running (yes I know, what a crazy concept), maybe I need to know how far through a particular job is or just want to see all my jobs at a glance. Bad luck. The job monitor has been removed, I can no longer see any of my running jobs. A half-baked attempt at resolving this was to add the 'View All Jobs' button in service pack but it still doesn't show inventory/cleaning jobs and is horrible to look it.
Cleaning Tapes. I have a Quantum Super Loader 3 Tape library, that once in a while requires a cleaning tape to be run through it. This worked perfectly in BE 2010. Since upgrading to BE 2012 I am told 'The cleaning tape has expired' every time I try to run it. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to live with a dirty tape unit.
Backup to Disk - as I generally use tapes this is not a feature I often use. However when I have used it I found a significant problem. I am not allowed to choose the folder I want to backup to? BE 2012 forces you to select a drive and then creates its own folder structure that means nothing to most people.
Completed backup jobs. It is nice to see at a glance a sea of green ticks across all your backup jobs so that you (and your boss) can see that the backups are running well and that you are doing your job properly. Why oh why then does the completed job status change orange and say completed with exeptions all because you have changed the properties of the job? This is ludicrous. For example. I change the job to start 1 minute earlier - Orange Alert, completed with exceptions. I change the media set used - Orange Alert completed with exceptions. I change the person being notified that the job has finished, Orange Alert, completed with exceptions. You see the problem here? Totally unecessary, time wasting panic causing errors that should NOT be there. The job HAS completed successfully with no problems so why are you telling me otherwise?
The interface. I have touched on this before but it is just horrible, over simplified, removal of multiple necessary features, confused design, too many clicks required to get where you need, hiding important options etc etc etc. If Symantec want to remain in the business of backing up people's data they need to take a good hard look at some of the comments on this forum as there re thousands of sys admins like me who are prepared to switch to Acronis & co if these show stopping faults are not rectified. I ask the developers/designers what an earth were you thinking and in which world was this ever a good idea? You had a great product and you trashed it, badly. Very sad, Veritas are turning in their grave.
This paragraph is actually written a week after the text above but I thought I should share this with you as it is absurd and slowed me down considerably. Here is the situation, we decommissioned an old server, removed it from the network and Backup Exec. A while later we decide hat we actually want to restore some files from this decommissioned server. No problem I said as I've been taking full backups of it so I'll just select what I need and everybody's happy. Unfortunately with Backup Exec 2012 no one is happy. Least of all System Administrators. You see you remember that really useful feature you had in Backup Exec 2010 where you could browse to one of your tapes, find what you wanted and restore directly from the tape. Its gone. They do let you browse to the tape and tease you with the prospect of restoring data you so desperately need like some kind of cruel game but they will not let you have it. Instead the process has been repaced with some convoluted, long drawn out procedure that you would never figure out in a million years unless you contact Symantec. Great job guys keep up the good work.
Another problem that I've noticed recently is that Backup Exec 2012 is far more intrusive when backing up than previous versions. when the backup is running the file server is so unresponsive it is unusable. I have now had streams of complaints from our users that they cannot save their work until the backup is finished. We never had this problem previously so why is this happening, this all just seems like a huge step back.