How-To: Downgrade Backup Exec 2012 to 2010 R3
Two months ago I decided to upgrade our backup environment to Backup Exec 2012. I have upgraded Backup Exec in the past and always had relatively few issues during the upgrade process. I had tried to find some detailed information about Backup Exec 2012 but all I could find was some vague descriptions of what was new. I figured I would give it a shot (totally going against my own if it aint broke don't fix it policy). After the relatively smooth upgrade process my jaw dropped at the interface. I thought it was terrible. But I thought I would give it a chance. I eventually got used to the interface although after two months I still preferred the old interface. My problem was the bugs. Maybe it was because I upgraded rather than installed fresh. But over the course of two months I ran into numerous bugs. The application would randomly quit with exception errors. Sometimes during the middle of my jobs it would just stop backing up and I could not perform any jobs (inventory, erase, etc) without restarting the services. It was terrible. I was having to babysit the thing constantly and still not having reliable backups. After working with Support and them telling my to just "repair" the installation and having the same problems, I decided to take matters into my own hands and downgrade. Luckily before I upgraded I made a copy of my Catalog and Data folders that are located in the Backup Exec program files folder.
I would like to preface by saying the intro to this article is not meant to start a discussion about the fallacies of BE 2012 - there are plenty of forums for that - just giving a little background on why I chose to downgrade. The following are the steps I used to downgrade my installation.
1. Locate your backed up Data and Catalogs folders. Hopefully, you backed up your Data and Catalogs folder before you upgraded. If you didn't then this article doesn't apply to you.
2. Uninstall BE 2012 choosing to remove everything when asked.
3. After uninstall is complete reboot the server.
4. Install BE 2010 and select the options you need during the wizard, choose to use a new SQL Express instance.
5. After installation run Live Update and update to R3.
6. Reboot the server. It doesn't prompt you to reboot but if you try opening the application it tells you that you need to so go ahead.
7. Stop all the BE services.
8. Navigate to C:\Program Files\Symantec\BackupExec\ and rename the Data folder to Data.new and the Catalogs folder to Catalogs.new
9. Copy your backed up Data and Catalogs folder to the directory in Step 8.
VERY IMPORTANT STEP - WILL NOT WORK IF NOT PERFORMED
10. Run the beutility.exe found in the location from Step 8. Ignore the warning message that pops up when you open it.
11. Select All Media Servers in the left pane.
12. Select your media server in the right-pane and right-click.
13. Select Copy Database.
14. Navigate to the .mdf database file that is located in your Data folder that you copied over in Step 9.
15. Do the same thing for the .ldf log file located in the same location.
16. Press OK. It will run through stopping services re-attaching the database and starting the services again/
NOTE: The first time I did this I didnt do steps 10-16 and the BE services would not start correctly. Thanks to owner of this blog I was able to follow their steps and get it going. Big shoutout.
17. You now have an almost fully-restored BE 2010 installation again. It will be running in trial mode. You will still need to contact Symantec Licensing (1-800-721-3934) to get your license keys donwgraded to BE 2010. But at least you can run backups now for 60-days.
Now the time-consuming part...This will vary depending on how many servers you are backing up. After I restored my BE 2010 installation I edited my policies and checked my selection list. The first thing I noticed was I was not able to select anything other than user shares on each server. I then proceeded to check my resource credentials. They all failed stating the agent was not installed or the credentials were invalid. I was sure the service account I was using was valid but just to make sure I went ahead and logged into another machine succesfully using it. After I confirmed it wasnt the service account, I knew it was most likely the newer agents I had installed for using BE 2012. I tried to install the BE 2010 agents through the BE 2010 interface. It said they installed correctly but I was still getting the same error.
Here is what I did to get the agents going again.
1. Log into each server you are backing up. (I used RDP, but console would work also)
2. Navigate to the backup exec program files unc path located on your media server. ex: \\servername\c$\program files\symantec\backupexec\agents
3. You will see RAW32 and RAW64. These obviously are the Windows installation agents for 32-bit version and 64-bit.
4. Select the appropiate folder for your server architecture and run setup.exe
5. Select the Uninstall option (repair doesnt work - I tried).
6. After the uninstall is complete, run setup.exe and this time install.
NOTE: You could also just run the uninstall on all your servers and then re-install the agents using the BE 2010 interface. Actually this would have been my preferred method but I didn't think about it until after I installed all the agents.
7. Most of my servers did not require a reboot but if you get an error about a missing file after the install - uninstall again, but this time reboot after the uninstall and re-install after the server reboots.
8. Go back to your media server and test your resource credentials and selection lists. They should all pass and you should be able to see and select all the drives, SQL database, and Exchange IS'.
You are done!
I would say for a ~20 server environment this process might take around two hours to complete. It took me much, much longer but I was figuring things out as I went. Like I said the most time consuming part was the agent installs and this will greatly affect how long it takes in your environment.
I hope this helps someone out. Again, I'm sure BE2012 is right for someone but for us, we'll stick with 2010 as long as we can. We already bought Avamar and will be moving to that in the next 30 days but we still have to keep BE for at least 7 years