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BE or SSR?

Created: 29 Oct 2013 • Updated: 07 Nov 2013 | 4 comments
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Hello there! I am in a bit of a strange situation : my colleagues and I are being fired, but as it happens I don't mind. However this means a lot of changes for the association I work with and amongst others, they are being sold new hardware, new software, the works.

Since I'm still here, my input is required and I do intend to provide it to the best of my abilities. This is where you come in!

The company who's gonna take over my role is selling us a nice virtualised server, and with it, they want to install Symantec Server Recovery (if I'm correct). However we already own a license for Backup Exec 2010, for our existing server. Since the server will not be used anymore, I reckon we could just use the license on the new server, possibly installing a new module to manage virtual machines recovery and such (the new server will be have several virtual machines running on it, unlike our current install which is pure physical).

The IT company selling us the whole thing argues that Backup Exec is "not compatible" yada yada... I reckon they are just used to SSR and don't want to have to deal with Backup Exec, which frankly I can understand given how complicated it is. I've to admit I'm woefully underqualified with Backup Exec, so I don't have the confidence to counter their claims properly and I'd like to be able to do so to avoid the association wasting money.

Anyway, so the question is, what can SSR do that Backup Exec can't? Is there any reason to buy a full new software when giving BE an upgrade would suffice?

I've perused the site and forums, but frankly I'm overwhelmed and running out of time, given my situation (I'm going away next week). So thank you kindly for any pointer in the right direction.


Operating Systems:

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CraigV's picture


SSR will do bare-metal restores of the server, including to different hardware...check below:

BE would allow you to backup multiple servers and applications, be they physical or hardware.

The new IT provider is technically correct on shouldn't be running this as a media server on a VM. This is not supported by Symantec (although they are now going to tell you that, strictly speaking, they MAY be able to help you...the documentation is clear that it is an alternative configuration and they don't have too!).

Here's a good query around the differences between the 2:

Also refer to Colin Weaver's answers:


Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

Chris Riley's picture

Anyway, so the question is, what can SSR do that Backup Exec can't?

The primary reason to choose SSR over BE is that it can do quick, one-step, restore of an entire machine to same or different hardware. This is the main selling point of SSR.

As CraigV mentions, BE has more powerful features when it comes to application-level support (Exchange, SharePoint etc).

EDIT: BE can also write backups to tape, where SSR is limited to disk targets

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

Colin Weaver's picture

One thing to bear in mind is that if you intend the server that does the actual backup processing (a media server in BE terms) to be virtualized and not running directly on a physical piece of hardware that you cannot write to tape as the passthrough for such hardware into a virtual system is not supported.

As such BE is usually recommended to run on a physical system.

ACSE admin's picture

Thank you very much for the helpful answers. This is exactly the sort of stuff I was looking for.