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Backup Exec 2012 Redesign

I want to thank the Connect user community for your clear feedback on the Backup Exec 2012 redesign. We were deeply impressed by your comments and we've taken action. Now that we've collected and implemented your suggestions, we've closed the comments on Bulbous' original thread but preserved them for the historical record.

You prompted the events detailed in this blog, this article and drove these changes into the next release. If you'd like to see them playing out in real life, sign up for the Beta program here.

The Connect forums remain a primary venue for users to interact with each other and with us, where we are committed to providing answers and receiving constructive and detailed feedback. Criticism without detail doesn't move the conversation forward so please be specific when you contribute. Come with questions, leave with answers, maybe help someone else out while you are here.

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Drew Meyer

Impressions of BackupExec 2012

Created: 04 Apr 2012 • Updated: 12 Aug 2012 | 417 comments

Is it just me, or does anyone else absolutely HATE the redesign of Backup Exec? I have worked with BE since version 8, and I have become acutely familiar with the menus, where everything is, and how it works.

This redesign of the UI reminds me of the differences between Microsoft Office 2003 and Office 2007, only much worse. Menus are now hidden behind other menus, and everything has a completely counter-intuitive feel.

At first, I thought that the feeling would pass as I grew more familiar with the product, but in fact my dislike has grown as I have found more issues.

Does anyone else feel the same way?

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hazmat09's picture

Click Search, type view net, click '"view network connections"


patters's picture

XP doesn't show the network connections as an expandable option on the Start Menu by default. To do that you have to customize the Start Menu options, which is no different to making a shortcut to the Network and Sharing Center in Windows 7. So if you're actually going to compare like with like it's:

Start > right-click My Network Places > Properties > right-click you connection > Properties.

Which is 5 clicks.

Windows XP is 11 years old, and yes in some respects the UI is simpler. But that's because it has far fewer features. As feature count rises they need to be grouped more (deeper hierachies), or made more contextual to stay usable. Windows 7 couldn't have a meaningful Windows 2000-style flat control panel containing several screenfuls of icons for instance. BE 2010 R3's endlessly incremented design definitely suffered from a lack of this kind of organization.

patters's picture

I think many of the more vocal critics on here may not have noticed GregOfBE's post above. The most complained about missing feature is having a single job targeting multiple servers, mainly so that you can make one edit and have it change the whole lot. But since you can create server groups, and since using those you can easily bulk-select machines (even if there are hundreds) then you can also use the batch edit feature GregOfBE mentioned to only edit only the particular features you change, even if other aspects of those jobs differ.

I have used BE since 8.6 and I've found the experience of recreating the whole media server to be pretty straightforward this time around (my prior posts on here were negative). I read this thread before I did that, and got pretty worried... for no reason really. I focused on what I wanted to achieve rather than on how I used to do it. I ended up doing a P2V on my old BE 2010 R3 server so I could refer back to the policies when re-creating them on a fresh install of 2012, and objectively the user interface of the *old* BE is a shambles. There are usually several ways of getting to the same place, the main menu is ludicrously overblown as features were simply tacked on over the years. The last time I had to build the BE server (for BE 2010 R3) I had to write a 5 page design document JUST FOR MYSELF in case I forgot why certain things were configured the way they were. With 2012 it's actually pretty clear how it all works, even if you're not a habitual user. Think of how VMware's UI makes the system so clear, it sort of is its own documentation. Admittedly though, when you do select multiple servers and create a job, I do still think it shoud be treated as one selection rather than spawning a job for each server. VMware selections within the same vCenter still work in the old multiple target way, and most of my server estate is virtual so this change doesn't really affect me.

IMO the biggest improvements this time around are the removal of irrelevant options when editing the job, and the clear nature of the stages and the way they're presented.

Sure, I'm only on day 2 at the moment and I have a bunch of issues but, to be fair, no more than I would normally have after a version bump. I also have some detailed suggestions, mostly concerning little UI inconsistencies which I shall submit. One quite obvious large one though is that when backing up virtual machine selections, it's confusing to see those VMs' RAWS agents displaying in the Servers view, with "never backed up" status. Surely those records ought to be updated from the VMware agent jobs, especially now the design is server-centric.

It must have taken some considerable nerve to push ahead with this release, and entirely rethink a product that had evolved in many tiny increments with no clear focus. It will alienate some customers, but I'm sure it will gain others. I do rather pity the support teams at the moment!

For info I have around 30 servers, and a mixture of SQL, Exchange and mostly VMware selections on EqualLogic storage. I backup to a 16 bay LTO4 loader, with only SQL going to disk first.

P.S. This whole change scenario reminds me of the days back in an old job when we were transitioning the desktop estate from NT4 to Windows 2000 and we were looking into registry changes to try to undo the 'irritating' behaviour of Windows always wanting to save documents to the new My Documents folder, images in the My Pictures folder etc. Much later one of my colleagues said: "You know it's really a lot easier if you just stop fighting this and, you know, put your documents in My Documents, your pictures in My Pictures, and your music in My Music, the way they're designed to be used." It's still a valid point.

tl;dr version - I quite like it.

JoeyM's picture

I concur with ALL THE COMMENTS here. Everyone has a vailid point.
I have been doing nothing but struggling with BE2012 since the day I installed it. Hence, my backups have become totally random and unreliable.
I.E - Scheduled a job to run every Tuesday at 11PM. Yesterday was Tuesday, not only did the job fail to run, it didn't even record an event or log a failure. Yea, that's real progress.

I have contacted symantec support twice. Initially to determine if I could schedule consecutive backup jobs without having detailed schedules for specific time windows, etc. They did not even mention server groupings, hence, they don't even know the product they are selling and Supporting. I confirmed I cannot schedule one sequential FULL BACKUP. More work, more pain, no FUN ! 

Additionally, you receive NO WARNINGS about trial agents, the job simply fails due to licensing. Would have been nice to know BEFORE it actually fails. Then it seems extraordinary difficult to determine which servers have the correct licensed agents installed, I still have not found a way.

Overall, this product blows chunks long and hard.


Mr. Jose

Keith W. Hare's picture

The biggest issue I have with Backup Exec 2012 is that it eliminates the ability to use the backup architecture I've been using for decades.

My view of backup is:

Goal: be able to recover from a major disaster or loss of critical individual files in a reasonable amount of time.


  1. on a regular basis, make a copy of files, systems, etc.
  2. Use a media that can be moved offsite
  3. Retain the offsite media for a sufficient time period


  1. Use a LTO-4 tape drive on a backup server
  2. Backup everything that fits in a 12-14 hour period
  3. If the backup exceeds the available time window, look at incremental/differential, less frequent backups, faster tape drive, etc.

This is pretty much the backup architecture I’ve used in a variety of computing environments over the last 35 years, with variations of the removable media device and backup software. This architecture fit pretty well with the BE2010 Job-centric model.

The BE2012 model rejects this view of backup and replaces it with something else. I’m still trying to figure out what that something else is.

I’m looking for something that gives me the high level view of how BE2012 expects backups to work, the BE2012 architecture. What are the goals? What are the Strategies? The expected techniques?

The Backup Exec 2012 Administrators Guide reiterates all of the options that are available through the BE2012 media center. It does not explain the architecture for doing backups. The reference material I’ve found focuses on individual pieces, not the overall architecture for doing backups. The videos are even less useful.

Everything I’ve found so far focuses on the individual commands, the user interface, the low level pieces. It’s like trying to figure out the shape of the ocean by examining the individual grains of sand on the beach.

If someone has a link to a document does a reasonable job of explaining the backup architecture that BE2012 expects, please post it.


Jimmy Mac's picture

This matches our strategy exactly.

2012 will not work for this logical process as far as I have been able to find.

What I believe Symantec has dismissed is the fact that most small businesses cannot invest in DAS or NAS systems and may actually be in areas where fiber to the NOC only exists on Fantasy Island. I have clients who out of logistical necessity, MUST backup their servers to a tape device for off-site storage and archival. Some are on fractional T1, some on ADSL, Some on SDSL, One is even still on an ISDN. Backup to the cloud is not only impractical, it's nearly impossible.

Investing in upgraded hardware simply to accomodate BEWS 2012, is, to simplify, INANE when all older versions of the product have been able to provide the necessary functionality.

Symantec, Fix it or we have no option but to abandon your product(s).

hazmat09's picture

Attached is some docs I found useful trying to figure things out. The whole Selection List, Policy, Job migration to stages was a bit confusing. The duplicate immediately to tape from fulls/diff jobs wasn't explained very well and I figured it out on my own.

Here's the post I did on my process -

I have separate jobs for DFS data and Hyper-V. With Hyper-V I can backup mulitple servers "VM's" in that one job using the HV agent.

I had one job, backing up around 20 different servers. Now each job is is dedicated to one server. To disk I can now backup 5 servers or more concurrently, reducing my backup window dramatcially.

I then have a stage that duplicates immediately to tape once the "To Disk" jobs finish. I have a TL 2000 tape library, but I can only do one job at a time to tape. All "to tape" jobs backup quickly as it's referencing the "To disk" data and not going across the LAN again to backup that same data on the server side. If the tape drive is busy, the queued job will just show tape drive busy and queue up to start once the current running to tape job is finished.

We do fulls one day of the week and diffs the rest.

  • Individual jobs for each server
  • benefit - concurrent jobs to disk if you have that option, easier to restore IMO, shortens backup window
  • Selection lists, policy, jobs are all done in something called stages. Actually much easier "once you understand it" than the previous method. Although some improvements are needed in the process
  • Backup to tape is still the same. I'm using LTO3, so you're better off performance wise than me with LTO4. I don't see any changes other than the view of the storage section. Also viewing inventory, merge, scan, clean jobs have to be viewed under storage, double click “Autoloader” then click jobs to see status
  • I backup all our data within a 10 hour period. Once we have our DEDUP folder on a proper enclosure that supports the DEDUP api, that window will drastically reduce
  • If you can, I'd recommend implementing DEDUP and duplicate to tape. You can store many months of data onsite, making those recoveries of legacy data much easier. Also the obvious benefits of shrinking your backup window.

Hope that helps you out.

BackupExec2012_differences.pdf 2.4 MB
Backup Exec 2012 Useful Links_0.pdf 408.83 KB
GregOfBE's picture

Bringing disk up to speed and not forcing it into the tape model was an important goal of BE 2012. In BE 2010 and prior releases, disk was treated like "virtual tape". When backing up to disk and de-dup, you had to create and choose a media set and you had media options on the backup. When you needed to see what data was on the disk location, you saw "virtual tapes" in the b2d folder. To all of the long-time users, they just got used to this, but imagine trying to use the product for the first time…it would be strange.

That brings us to another important goal of the release…bring the great technology of Backup Exec and its ability to work with tape, disk and cloud to new users too.  I can't count how many times, I heard of stories where people would evaluate Backup Exec for the first time and walk away saying "Its much more complex than what I need". When you talk to them and learn their environment - you'd find out - its exactly what they need - in terms of the underlying capabilities. But, from their perspective, it was far too difficult to use. This would happen time and again.

As for what the "intent" was. By moving to a per-server model, we gain many advantages that we could not otherwise have. Some of these are:

* Because you pick a server first before creating a backup, we know the resources on the server and, so, can limit options to what is actually on the server and to what is relevant.

* Configuring client-side deduplication can be done on the server backed up where it makes more sense than having some item in the "devices" tab.

*  If a single-server was down or offline during a backup, you can retry just that one server's backup. So greater granularity in dealing with failures.

* Whether backing up to disk OR tape, you can queue up many jobs and let the software push as much data to your target devices as possible. You control concurrency (the # of concurrent jobs writing at once) on disk with settings in the Storage view. For tape, your # of devices and device pools limits concurrency. If your hardware improves, you can increase concurrency and you'll automatically push more data at once to shorten the backup window.

Hazmat09 above stated that he is backing up to disk and copying to tape. By setting up his b2d2t scheme with media sets and targets for the tape portion, he is able to push data to disk as quickly as possible and because the duplicates to tape will kick off as soon as their backups are done, data can get to tape possibly more quickly too.

Having said that, those backing up direct to tape is important too. We didn't intend to exclude those folks. As I said in a prior post, there was a bug where multi-server jobs with "Overwrite media" were set, the upgrade left the "Overwrite media" option set. This is bad for tape jobs because all of them will request tape. We're fixing that but it likely caused a lot of problems for people during the transition. But like I stated above, you can select multiple backups or servers and fix that problem with 1 operation.

I'm glad that some have posted that they stuck with the product and got it working now. I'm sorry to hear how much trouble it is to make the transition though. I'd like us to make that transition more smooth in the future. I'll reiterate what some others said…install in a test environment and understand how it works FIRST. Then upgrade and READ the migration report.

TIP: After upgrade, the migration report is available in the main menu (the BE Icon) to help understand what has changed. Read it again after you've upgraded to see how things mapped.

TIP: One thing upgrade/migration does NOT do for you is create groups for you that correspond to your old multi-server jobs. Turn on groups from the toolbar and create groups for your old multi-server jobs and drag those servers into the groups if that’s how you want to manage them. Then you can simply select the group and hit Edit Backups to edit the job options or stages for those backups in one operation. And by selecting the group you can see what the server status is for those and find logs and so forth.

QUESTION: Would it help the transition if we created these server groups for you during upgrade? That way you can see where your old multi-server jobs "mapped" to more easily?

scottt709's picture

Thank you for your explanation. Will spend the time learning the new model paradigm. However one problem I don't understand is why you would design the software to stop all jobs on an exclude date. If I want my continue my d2d jobs and skip my tape jobs lets say for a long weekend how would I do this. Must I set my alerts to cancel when the tape prompts and alert to insert the tape. I contacted support on this and was told this is by design. Some previous users said to put it in the wish list ????

GregOfBE's picture

This is a great point. Concerning exclude dates. In BE 2012, they are "global" and yes they originally are a "hard stop" cancelling jobs. We heard this feedback and are working on a fix to make sure it doesn't cancel jobs.

Concerning your scenario, again, great feedback. We are working to bring back per-job exclusion dates. This should help that scenario. So you'll have both global exclusion dates and per-job exclusions. Does that sound good?

scottt709's picture

Thank you for listening and responding. Fixing the global exclude date would be great. I have enabled groups and getting my head wrapped how to backup multiple servers in one shot..

Keith W. Hare's picture

I still don't understand how one is supposed to do a backup sequence to a manual load tape drive.

I need the first job to initialize the tape and the last job to unload the tape.

In BE2012, I haven't figured out how specify a sequence of jobs.


GregOfBE's picture

If you want to overwrite media with your first backup, one approach is to designate one of the servers' backups as the "first" job to kick off. Edit that one backup and set its media overwrite option to "Overwrite media" and bump up its job priority from medium to high  - you do that by selecting that server - go into its details view (double click) and highlight the backup. Then hit "Increase priority" from the toolbar. (Little bug: you have to hit F5 to see the priority column update until we fix that.  :-)   This will cause that backup to run before the other ones that are scheduled with the same start  time.  (Alternatively you can change that backup's start time to be  little before the others). 

Similarly, designate the "last" backup and do the same except in reverse - lower priority or later start time and turn on its eject after checkbox.

For all the backups in the "middle" of the sequence, you can multi-select them and hit "Edit Backups" to edit them - then make sure they are set to append to media and NOT to eject. So you'll have to do 3 edit operations to create this "sequence" for a manual tape drive.

Its also good to have your media set options set to have a long enough append period to take all these jobs (say a little longer than how long they should all complete).

When your done, let us know how its working.

ianSinclair's picture

Why make it so complex. here's a group of servers back them up to a tape start at 9pm and run till yuor done, easy.

Designate one server as overwrtire, set the others to append, set this set that , ajust the priority

why make it so fiddly ?

CraigV's picture

...excellent explanation Greg. Should have come through at the beginning of this thread, but maybe you guys can look at doing some sort of basic steps to accomplish a lot of what's been moaned about here. wink

Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

Keith W. Hare's picture

One of of the missing pieces in Backup Exec is a good explanation of the expected backup architectures.

That is, scenarios that include the environment to be backed up, the backup server, the backup & recovery requirements, and how to achieve the desired results using Backup Exec.

The BE Admin guide, blogs, white papers, & videos focus on the details of how to do bits and pieces, but do not provide anything on how the details fit into the big picture.

A couple of short documents describing the big picture would go a long way towards simplifying Backup Exec.


hazmat09's picture

Good post,

Some things I'd like to see enhanced or fixed.

  • When you create a group and try to drag and drop a non-server backup IE: a windows xp machine that has data on it that is in your backup plan. It won't allow you to move that PC into the manually created group. Even if you turn on and check "Microsoft Windows computer" filter. That XP machine will stay in the "All Servers" grouping.
  • Unless I'm blind, I see no way to print the "Backup Calendar" or save it to a PDF, by day, week, month...anything.
  • For the new "Exclude Date" feature, Please enhance to Exclude Date, Exclude Individual Job for that date. Allow multiple multiple user selections for that date
  • Clarificaton: If you create a group and put 10 servers in that group, then do a select all. You have the option of "Run Next Backup Now" Does that run the "next" scheduled backup for all those selected servers? I ask because I I drill down for that server, I have a Full job, Diff and the duplicate to tape for those two jobs that are linked and processed immediately after those Full/Diff to DEDUP jobs.
  • Enhance the "Run Backup Now" and bring back the option to schedule it later in the day etc. There may be a situation, where you need to run those at night and not have to muck about with your scheduling.
  • In the Storage section you are able to see the backup sets on tape, but there is no context menu option to restore when you are viewing those contents. This should be an easy and welcome enhancement, especially for people who solely use tape and media sets.
  • Regarding your question about migration. I think it would have been useful to have the upgrade process create a folder with the same job names in 2010R3 and then when the migration updates the job to individual server jobs, place those in that Server group. I found with my migration I had about 40 oddly named jobs and it was frankly a dogs breakfast. I ended up redoing about 95 percent of the jobs.

Other than those issues "So Far" my install is working fine....but one "large caveat" it is doing fine do to my due diligence and persistence in fixing all the glitches the upgrade caused.

GregOfBE's picture

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this and about your experiences. It not only helps other users but it also helps us improve the product going forward. You didn't just ask for features, you explained the problems your trying to address which helps a lot. I agree with many of your statements - especially about finding ways to make the transition easier.

TomW_BE's picture

I am engineer on the BE team and I would like to respond to a couple of your items.  First regarding the inability to drag and drop the Windows XP machine into a group.  There should be nothing preventing dragging and dropping any server into a group.  Any server can be placed in any group.  Servers can also be members of multiple groups.  From your comment it is my impression that you are expecting the server to be removed from the "All Servers" group.  This is not the case.  The "All Servers" group will always show all servers regardless if they are members of other groups.  If the drag and drop is not working, you can right click on the group and click Edit or click Edit from the Groups menu in the ribbon and you will be presented with a dialog that lets you add or remove servers.  I will investigate dragging and dropping to see if there are any issues.

The "Run Next Backup Now" button will run the next scheduled backup for all servers that are currently selected.  You will be prompted with a Yes/No/Yes to All message that lets you control which servers actually have the jobs run.

TTT's picture

That brings us to another important goal of the release…bring the great technology of Backup Exec and its ability to work with tape, disk and cloud to new users too. I can't count how many times, I heard of stories where people would evaluate Backup Exec for the first time and walk away saying "Its much more complex than what I need". When you talk to them and learn their environment - you'd find out - its exactly what they need - in terms of the underlying capabilities. But, from their perspective, it was far too difficult to use. This would happen time and again

Greg, I understand the new interface and workflow design is helpful for first-time-users.  (That, and Symantec's and third-party consultants' services.)  However there should still be "expert mode" available as an option, such as a centralized job monitor (to view all backup jobs and storage operations- including MMS and CASO jobs), bringing back the multiple-window tree-view for media, doing a rt-click/restore when viewing a backup set, etc.

As for new-user adoption, I suggested back in 2007 to the presenter at a Backup Exec tech day in NYC that Symantec do a series of videos (or a whitepaper, or both) that would portray a fictitious company (such as Microsoft's Contoso) and how Backup Exec fit the company's growing needs.  It'd run from beginner to expert on using all the features, and cover the entire size range of SMB.

The fictitious company would start with 2 simple servers (web server and file server), and as it slowly grew, it would require more resources/servers (Domain Controllers and Exchange), then become virtual (VMware agent) with SAN/NAS, and eventually wind up with *all* BE options (Oracle, Sharepoint, DeDupe, CASO/MMS, SSO, etc.).  Each stage would have a short video (e.g. "Company, Inc. is now expanding sales of their product and needs to support an ERP system with a clustered database") and point to an accompanying whitepaper.  And the videos would *not* be like the Hal videos- they'd portray real solutions with confident and educated IT staff- not Marketing's perception of IT Professionals.  (In my opinion, Hal should never have been in charge of his company's backups.)

I'm one of those testing before I deploy to production (and have a case open with tech support now).  I'm not converting anything over, I'm starting with clean BE servers.  What would be helpful for my transition would be some advanced information on how to do the advanced things (e.g. daily management of 50 servers) that I used to do in previous versions, sort of like the Blogs are attempting to do now.  Ultimately that could come in the form of that fictitious-company-whitepaper I mentioned above (giving an in-detail description of the comprehensive BE package deployed in a larger scale).  Has Symantec thought about documenting their test system for us?

GregOfBE's picture

Thanks for those thoughts. I think you have some great ideas.

Concerning the CASO/Job view. You have multiple "jobs views" for your CASO environment. Here they are:

1. Go to the Storage Tab and drill into the CASO machine at the top. There you will see "Jobs" and "Job History" tabs. Those tabs show you all device/utility jobs and backup jobs across your environment.

2. Go to the Backup and Restore tab, enable groups from the toolbar and double click on the "All Servers" group. Again, the "Jobs" and "Job History" tabs will show all server-related jobs across your environment (backups and restores)

3. Backup and Restore tab: Multi-select arbitrarily any servers and hit the yellow "Details" button on the upper right (yellow button that says [n] Servers).  Now the jobs tabs show jobs for those selected servers

4. Backup and Restore tab: Double click any group that you create and the Jobs tabs show all jobs across those servers in that group

5. Storage Tab: Double click on any de-duplication storage, disk storage device, or tape device and you have Jobs tabs that show backups that are targetted specifically at that device.

Concerning the rt click / restore on media - yes we've heard this one and I hope to get that back in.

Keep the ideas flowing...

TTT's picture

Greg thanks for checking in on this message!  It's reassuring to see that Symantec's willing to jump in and help us out.  If the whitepaper I described (full scale deployment of all BE options) is created please let me know!

I knew about most of those job views (I didn't know I could do # 3, that's helpful), but it still has me searching across the GUI to find jobs.  I'd rather have the "expert mode" option to enable a single job monitor as well.

Is there any display for the CASO/MMS "Copy server settings" jobs?  If I copy settings, there's no proof that it happened.  My logon account didn't copy down and I had no way to figure out why it didn't (so I just recreated it manually on my MMS).

My CASO isn't updating the "last 7 days of backup jobs" green/yellow/red icons for any backups that run on my distributed MMS, but that's not a big deal-breaker, I'll probably open a case later about it.

GregOfBE's picture

Concerning the copy server settings job. It is not showing up in the BE 2012 job history in the GUI.

Here is a workaround:

Use the powershell command line interface (BEMCLI) - available from the start menu. Issue the following command:

get-bejobhistory -JobType CopyJob | Select -Last 1 | Get-BEJobLog

This will show the job log for the latest copysettings job that you ran.

Also, this will show all of the times it ran:

get-bejobhistory -JobType CopyJob

And this will show any still running:

get-bejob -JobType CopyJob

Sorry this was omitted. We'll  need to do something about that.

TTT's picture

Greg thank you!  That worked perfectly- I found the log and now I can see that yes, the job failed, and it even lists the reason ("Final error: 0xe00081e2 - An unexpected database exception occurred.").

Now I have something to go by!  Thanks!

charlesc_act's picture

thank you for this information. some of the issues make more sense with now. however i think it is important to remember that for some of us, particular the one or two person IT departments for small businesses, tape backup still very much features in our day to day lives. i did recently consider a HD backup solution but only as a 'very fast tape' device. I don't have a need to invest in a device pool, I simply need relevant data from my 6 servers on a single device (a tape or hd) that can be used at a recovery site within 48 hours (we cannot afford to rent recovery space so I will be in PC World with a credit card the morning after our building burns down).

an occasional tape failure is not a problem with a full daily backup (possible for many small businesses) so the server centric view of jobs is less important. and in a disaster situation i would not be restoring full servers because the replacements would not be matched 1 for 1, i would be restoring data for newly installed applications.

BE2010 and all its iterations before were simple to manage and understand - I have one job for everything and I know that it is all on that single tape.

Elsewhere on this forum another symantec employee compared the change to moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. Well that may be true but if you look at the Windows 7 interface, there are still many ways for an administrator to set 7 into a 'classic view'. And does anyone run desktop experience on their servers? No, because they do not need to look nice and features need to be comprehensive rather than summarised.

patters's picture

Good point that it's only by going server-centric that you can contextualise the backup options menu (based on the target resources), and hide irrelevant and confusing stuff.

I think the most baffling thing initially is that the Groups feature defaults to being disabled. I think the first thing users of the old product should do is, enable Groups, double-click the All Servers Group, then enable list view, and compact view. Bingo. There are your Job Monitor ('Job Logs' now), and your Job Setup (just 'Jobs' now) screens that you know and love.

GregOfBE's picture

Yes, those are great points  - especially for long time users. I'd also point out that once in the jobs view, you can switch between the tree and the list. Suppose you want to sort based on fulls vs. incrementals - switch to list mode to do that and sort by the type. I'd also suggest exploring the sort/filter button on the toolbar. It now lets you customize columns, sort and filter criteria and save the view with a name so you can apply it easily. You can use sort/filter named views in conjunction with groups to slice and dice more easily.

Mark McFarlane's picture

I am willing to give my testing another try after reading all these comments and suggestions - however, my trial period has expired...I have unintalled/reinstalled but it obviously saves the dates can I reset my trial period so I can test again....

Elias AbuGhazaleh's picture


You can contact Customer Care and they can assist you in extending an expired evaluation.

Couple of different ways to contact them listed here:

Rem700's picture

It feels like a version you'd get pre-packaged with an external HDD - lacking many features and an over-abundance of a "pretty" GUI.

One of my biggest annoyances is that I can't, or haven't found a way yet, to run a backup job within a time window, repeating itself every X hours.  (Start incremental backup at 6AM then run again every 2 hours until 4PM, M-F)  Acronis does this.  Still looking for a way to do this w/o having to create multiple jobs.

hazmat09's picture

Hi Kirk,

Question One:

DFS Job as example. Prior to upgrade I had a Selection List for the DFS server data. I had a Full Backup Policy which would duplicate to tape immediately. Lastly I created the job for those two items. I then did the same thing for a DFS Differential job. The upgrade separated my job into numerous, so I basically did them from scratch. I believe they had the duplicate stage on them, but I can't fully remember. What I found confusing at first was I didn't realize you just added an additional stage for the Diff duplicate. and point it to the Diff job in the settings. What made it even more confusing was tech support told me I did not need that, which made no sense to me whatsoever, so I basically said okay, and figured it out on my own.

I totally understand how the stages work now and it is very logical. That being said, coming from the old methodology made it confusing, and it was only playing around with it a bit that I got the jist of it.

Question Two:

I used it in a few different scenarios.

  • Jobs were put on hold for whatever reason, I then wanted to re-run those outside of production at a particular time in the evening
  • If a job failed, particularly a full, and I wanted to re-run it later in the evening the next day.
  • If you had a holiday on the day you were swapping your tapes out and your full was to run that night. I would do edit next run and schedule the fulls for the following evening.
BE_KirkFreiheit's picture

Thanks hazmat09.

One of the key drivers for the changes we made in Backup Exec 2012 was the desire to unify our Backup Job model.  In prior releases, we had standalone backup jobs and backup policies -- which you could use to bundle a group of jobs like fulls, differentials, and duplicate/copy jobs.

Backup Exec was able to monitor/track changes between jobs far more reliably with policies because each subsequent backup job used exactly the same selection list (or lists).  Standalone full/differential jobs required more attention to get the selections to match -- you had to either notice the selection list dropdown on the selections page (we learned this often wasn't noticed), or make your selections exactly the same in each backup job.  It could be tedious, and was error-prone.  But, after talking with many of our customers, we learned that policies and their benefits were not as widely used/understood as we hoped  -- so making standalone jobs remained a common use pattern.

As you experienced, some backups (especially standalone jobs) don't migrate well into the new backup model.  Thanks for putting in the effort to get things working in your environment; we're actively looking for ways to make this process smoother but sometimes recreating jobs is the best thing to do, unfortunately.

It sounds like you were using policies -- but I'm not sure your differential was part of your policy in 2010.  With 2012, it should look and feel like you've got an easy-to-understand staged data flow.  It's great to hear that absorbing all the change in methodology has given you that benefit.

One little detail: had your Duplicate stage been schedule by time, instead of "Immediately after", you could get away with just one Duplicate task and set it to copy "All backups".  That's a new feature -- the automatic selection of all backups (Fulls + Differentials in your case) but it does require a time-based schedule (for example, doing all of your tape duplication one day a week).

Thanks for the input on modifying next run -- sounds like just putting your jobs on hold solved all but the last issue.  We're getting very useful feedback on changes we made to the scheduler and I'll see what I can do to get that scenario addressed in the future (holiday scheduling).

pkh's picture

@BE_KirkFreiheit - Re-posting my answer because I am afraid that it will get lost in the middle

The Edit Next Run is very important in my case.  I use a script as a pre-command to import tapes which come back from off-site.  If there is a foul-up in the delivery and there is no tape, I have to remove the import.  Otherwise, the import job will just hang waiting for a tape and all my backup jobs will fail.  With the Edit Next Run, I just remove the script from the pre-command of the next run.  I don't have to remember to put back the script as a pre-command on the following day when there is a tape.

BE_KirkFreiheit's picture

Thanks pkh; that's an interesting use case for "Edit next run".

Here's an idea for a workaround: perhaps your precommand script can be changed to use something as a signal to skip the import operation (the existence of an empty file, a registry key...anything that makes sense for your environment).  If the script detects the signal, it could clear it -- and skip the import.

Thanks again for the feedback, and please keep it coming.

-Kirk out.

Emiliano Caruso's picture

He has worked for several years with Backup exec and in this verisone over the passage of the new interface and ease of upgrades with older versions, I've found no problem in setting up via LAN, vmware, database agents. Ease of use and management. Only thing is if one is accustomed to the old version old interface you just get used to change the thinking from the backup job to backup the server.

Emiliano Caruso

Senior Storage & Backup

Sinergy S.p.A. - via Cassanese 90
20090 Segrate (MI)

patters's picture

Since some developers are reading this, and since there doesn't seem to be a place for bug reports (only ideas), I've posted all the bugs/improvement suggestions I've found so far here - excluding more serious ones that I have raised separately as support requests:

GregOfBE's picture

Excellent, thanks for doing that. I'll check it out.

patters's picture

Thanks. I've just added a new suggestion to it about Duplicate tasks (related to expiry).

ianSinclair's picture

I upgrade our 2010 backup to this new product, I understood there would be differences but never did I think things could get this bad. I logged a technical support call and explained what I wanted to do and I have since emailed symatec my thoughs abd problems of the new version. They did seem genuinely concered, I even spoke to the support manager on the phone, but at the end of the day I have had to rollback to 2010 as I cannot easily get 2012 to do what I want to do. I would asks everyone to log calls and email in, beacause as soon as they realise this is going to work the sooner they can fix it. here my email:

Hi Thanks for the email, I will attempt to explain what I need from the product, as of now I have to roll back to 2010

We have quite a complex environment with 14 physical servers and 56 virtual machines. We have a SAN with 10 Terra bytes of data.

We backup to tape so they can go offsite, so that in the event of loss of server room or building we can restore all our severs and data.

We are not too concerned with an individual file restores as we have san snapshots for this.

We have spent a lot of time organising our backups so that the data is ordered on tapes with certain data being on certain tapes

So that for instance a domain controller and email are the first things to be restored (business priority).

All our servers have a C:\ drive which is physical out exchange and sql  have physical C:\ drives but the log and data base drives are in the SAN.

We have a robotic library with 4 tape drives and 96 slots, we have this as one big library so as long as there is a tape in it the backup jobs will use it

It makes it very simple, we have a selection list of all the c:\ drives we point at the library and say back this up at 9 pm.

The drive will pick one of the available drives and one of the tapes and run all these jobs to one tape. I do a report that tells me what is on what tape

This goes off site with the tape, I can only send a certain number of tapes off site as our box only hold so many and we only have so many tapes.

Another job round which backs up the e:\  and F:\ drives which are on the SAN, these are mounted on the C:\ of the backup server as folders

I back these up with another job to another tape and it goes offsite.

When we do a disaster recovery one person gets the c:\ drive tape and does the restore and another gets the E:\ f drive tape and does a restore.

What I need from the software is quiet simple, I want to back up the C:\ drive of 4 servers all to the same tape, preferably as one job. – Job 1 Tape 1

I want to back up the E:\ drives of the servers to another tape. – Job 2 – Job 3 Tape 2

I want another job that has 2 servers c:\ drives I want these 2 jobs to go on the same tape – job3 – Tape 3

I then want another job which backs up another selection  of parts jobs 1 and 3 to another tape for the fire safe. – job4 tape 4

3 tapes offsite one to the safe, simple

I do not want to have to partition my library into lots of slots then do an overwrite job and guess the end time, then an append job guess the end time ……

On a Sunday I backup all 14 servers I don’t want 14 tapes and I need control of what server is on what tape and I need to keep it to 5 tapes.

I think the easiest thing for you do do would be to be able to create resource groups, then back them up as one job, let’s call them selection lists !

I don’t care for the new interface there is too much hidden away by a double click or a right click, but I can get used to that, but not being able to backup 4 server c:\ drives onto

The same tape without a complex library configuration, means your product no longer suits the purpose we have it for, so  my personal 12 years with backup exec may reluctantly have to come to an end.

I think somebody has already said it in the forum, its like this is the simple version, where is the button I click to get the I am an experienced network administrators version ?

hazmat09's picture

Hi Ian, 

Forgive me if you're all ready aware of this, and it does not meet your needs...but in case you haven't used this, it may be helpful.

Can't you just create media sets for your jobs. I have a 24 slot loader and I use bar code labels for the tapes. Since my Servers catch all job is now broken into individual servers. I created a Group called Server Data and placed the relevant servers in the group. On each job I have it pointing to a media set called Server Data. I also created Server groups for SQL, Hyper-V etc. 

I create the same media sets for SQL, Exchange, Hyper-V. I don't care what order the tapes are in as I have the bar codes, and an Inventory takes 20 minutes. We backup to disk then immediately to tape. We like having the ability to keep months of data on site for quick recovery.

Couldn't you simply create a Media Set called "C:\ drive-Job1 Tape1". You would just have to specifiy that media set on those particular "Server" backup jobs. You would do the same thing with the E:\ drive jobs.  Under your "To Tape" job you'll find the Media Set setting under Storage.

To create media sets, you'll find it under the Storage tab - "Tape/Disk Cartridge Media Sets And Vaults" righ click on "all media sets" to create new. Once you've created them there you'll see them as an option in your Job storage options.

I'm not sure you could control to what tapes you want them going to specificly, but this would achieve what you want to do. This feature was in prior versions and is still in 2012. In my case it dumps to tape and labels the tapes with those media set names and the tapes are done in sequence and appended.

The UI was a pain at first, but I tweaked it to achieve basically what I need view wise "which you can save"

Hope that's of assistance to you.

ianSinclair's picture

Thanks for the idea hazmat, I did consider that, then I thought why ? At the moment I have one media set called backup media, all jobs use this not problem.

But I have explored the ides,the the problem is this, you have a media set for a job, as you say the jobs are configured to use this media set, so job one writes to media set 1

Server 1 starts its backup, it is an overwrtire job to media set 1, server 2 is an append, so it appends to media set 1, all good, the tapes go offsite, then they come back and we put them in the library, now I have 2 or 3 tapes from media set1 in the Library, job 1 starts and overwrites the media, job 2 starts, if job 1 is still running it will pick one of the returned tapes and overwite it.

Or am I missing something ?

GregOfBE's picture

If you are targetting the entire library in the jobs, yes that is true assuming there are multiple overwritable media in your library in that same media set. But you could target 1 drive for the C:\ jobs and another drive for the E:\ jobs. In that case, only when the first C:\ job is done, will the next one start running and because it is set to append, it will continue on that same tape (assuming your append period in the media set is long enough). And you don't have to guess how long each job is: They will wait until they have their target device available before they begin - in the state "Ready".

Having said that, this is one area of weakness because you didn't have to specify 1 drive before - you could target the library or a pool and once 1 drive was "chosen" the rest would follow. We understand that limitation and are considering ways to address that.

ianSinclair's picture

Well I hope you address this area of weakness v soon, could you not also adress the issue of the make the first job overwrite then make the rest append, it goes against your server groups options, if you select a group of servers and then backtthe all up they all have the same job properties so as I understand they would all be overwrite jobs.

In some situations I think you have made it much more complex to get the result I need, with goood old 2010 and selections and policies it was simple.

I do not see complexity as progress


GregOfBE's picture

We are working on improvements to more conveniently allow someone to create a sequence of backups on multiple servers to the same tape.

ianSinclair's picture

Thankyou for this, when is ready let me know and I will re install, until I here such news I will remain firmly on 2010, its doing exactly what I want it to do exactly how i want it to do it.

When 2012 can do this we will re consider the upgrade


pkh's picture

 I have the bar codes, and an Inventory takes 20 minutes.

Since you are barcode label, you don't have to do a inventory.  A scan does the same thing, i.e. identify the tapes.  A scan will be done in about a 1 minute.  I have NEVER done an inventory since I started using barcode lables.

TTT's picture

I agree- with barcodes, we only inventory/catalog if we insert a "foreign" tape into our library- one that BE doesn't already know about (in the C:\program files\symantec\backup exec\catalog directory). It's also important to write-protect the previously-unseen media (so any running BE job in the library doesn't grab it as a scratch tape).

hazmat09's picture

That's great, I had no idea about this....learn something new everyday. I'll do this next tape swap out.

Thanks for the tip!

Amit Walia's picture
I run Product Management for Backup Exec. We are reading all the comments, yours and you peers on this forum and take each and everyone of them very very seriously (and personally).
Our product means a lot to us. Its our life. It is what we come to work everyday to improve and travel 100's of thousands of miles around the work to test and validate.  It is tough to see our customers share unhappy comments about it and you can be sure that we took a risk with a new UI but it was a very calculated risk, one that we tested and tested again with 100's of customers and partners until we got their buy-in. Change is never easy but we took every effort to make sure the changes were worthwhile through direct engagement with users. 
UI aside, there are changes we can release in a service pack with more planned for that will help address some of your specific concerns.
I would like to invite you and a group of other peers on this thread to share your feedback in person  at our HQ. We will also and share with our process for gathering feedback and testing the UI. In addition we will share our plans for modifications to make sure what is planned meets your needs.  The trip will be paid for by Symantec.
I thank you for being with us over the years. If we have made changes that have caused them frustration, we want to hear from you and bring you into the process of guiding and developing the product.
Our team will be reaching out to you to arrange the post launch "Feedback Summit".
ianSinclair's picture

I am in the Uk and would be will to come along to any UK event


David Willoughby's picture

This is part of the problem. You look at these comments and conclude that we are "unhappy". I can't speak for all users, but I passed "unhappy" a couple of versions ago. I'm "da**ed" angry" that Symantec keep taking my maintenance and support dollars every year and keeps producing steaming piles of you-know what.

Bulbous's picture

Tape backup is not dead. In fact, tape backup is the only possibility for off-site backup in areas where internet access is slow or unreliable - which includes rural and remote areas of North America and elsewhere.

If the migration process was streamlined in such a fashion such that tape backups were plotted out in 2012 as they were in 2010, this transition would be much easier to digest. But as it stands, it is an incredible shock to the system.

I am an incredible supporter of Symantec, and I have approximately 120 different products registered as a consultant. I don't want to leave Symantec behind - but I also do not want to feel left behind by Symantec.

GregOfBE's picture

Transitioning to the new model is clearly painful. And yes, we are already working on ways to make it map over more smoothly. New customers who are approaching the product with a "fresh" perspective are telling us very positive things. Existing customers - especially those backing up multiple servers to tape - find the upgrade difficult depending on how they were doing it and that is understandable. We know tape is not dead - but as I posted earlier - we had reasons for modernizing the product and giving disk and cloud first class treatment in the context of our product. Regardless, we are listening.

TTT's picture

I also dupe from disk to tape, it'd be great (like I think was proposed above) if we could select a group of future-created backup sets (e.g. scheduled but not completed yet) to do a single duplicate job (single load/seek/write/rewind/verify/eject), after all the B2D ops finished.  I'm not sure where it would fit into the workflow design though- maybe it would just reside on the "backup" button.  Pre-2012 there was a job "THere used to be a job option, "New Job to duplicate (existing) backup sets"- but it was a one-time-only job, it wouldn't reset itself for subsequent job runs.

You mentioned the CLI to me before- would there be a way to tell the CLI to run such a job (search job histories, then select the resultant sets, and dupe them to tape as one continuous stream)?

TTT's picture

Mods: I'm reposting this because I am discussing a feature that would solve the problem of the multiple tape load/unload sequences with Backup Exec 2012:

I also dupe from disk to tape, it'd be great (like I think was proposed above) if we could select a group of future-created backup sets (e.g. scheduled but not completed yet) to do a single duplicate job (single load/seek/write/rewind/verify/eject), after all the B2D ops finished. I'm not sure where it would fit into the workflow design though- maybe it would just reside on the "backup" button. Pre-2012 there was a job "THere used to be a job option, "New Job to duplicate (existing) backup sets"- but it was a one-time-only job, it wouldn't reset itself for subsequent job runs. (I've been made aware this still exists in 2012 but it does not solve the situation that BE 2012 presents.)

You mentioned the CLI to me before- would there be a way to tell the CLI to run such a job (search job histories, then select the resultant sets, and dupe them to tape as one continuous stream)?  That way it could be scheduled using the Windows Task Scheduler, effectively creating a solution to the missing GUI option.

robnicholson's picture

Tape backup is not dead

I don't think anyone said tape was dead and I think I said something like "backup to disk is the future" but "tape can't be removed yet". But it feels like it's approaching it's twilight years and all the innovation in this area doesn't look to be tape centric to me - but if you rewound 10 years, tape really was the only option.

Cloud/2nd-site backup isn't an option for just rural & remote areas in the UK. You don't have to travel very far from city centres in the UK to find "too far from the exchange" is a common problem and even when you do have a good link, the upload speed is way slower than download speed for the backup, it's the upload speed that's critical.

But for cost concious small buisinesses, the solution over here usually isn't tape. It's a backup to an external disk drive. Sure, they don't do it often enough but at least they have some form of backup. Or worse, no backup at all.

What I don't know about all those stats about companies going under after a disaster is whether they had any backup at all or did they have a backup but it was a month old. Is that age of backup still going to contribute to them going out of business.

As all backup experts will probably agree, your backup is only a small part of the entire process and too many small businesses (and inviduals most likely) think that a tape backup will solve all their problems. It's better than nothing but things can still go wrong and I'd hate to be in the position of telling a small business man that his backups are worthless because the tape drive went out of alignment a few months ago, melted in the fire, and the replacement drive can't read it.

If a small business asked me right now what to put in backup wise, I'd probably say "Backup to cloud assuming your internet connection is half-decent" for two reasons: it's a) automatic and b) easy to get back. And out of these two it's (a) that is most critical. How many stories have we all heard of somebody who had bought an external disk but never got around to backing it up or testing the restore. Unless you are fortunate enough to have dedicated IT staff who's job it is to run backup, it just gets overlooked in the madness of running a business. So if you don't have dedicated staff, tape is not attractive at all.

And I would imagine most of those rural & remote companies you mention are small businesses because if they weren't small, they should be able to justify the huge expense of getting a better solution.

Cheers, Rob.

PS. Archive is a very different requirement and one for while tape still does offer a good choice except that risk of not having the hardware to read it anymore and/or going out of alignment.

hazmat09's picture

That's great, I had no idea about this....learn something new everyday. I'll do this next tape swap out.

Thanks for the tip!

BE_KirkFreiheit's picture

Hi, I'm an engineer on the Symantec Backup Exec team.

Is there a particular task that you've found particularly difficult to accomplish with the new layout?

The Backup and Restore tab shows a list of the servers you're backing up.  To add more servers to the list, you can use the "Add Server" button in the ribbon.  Adding a windows server will install the Backup Exec Agent for Windows Servers on the machine you're going to back up.

Generally speaking throughout the app, whatever you have selected in the list view in the bottom portion of the screen is what the buttons in the ribbon will act on.  So, to make a backup job for a particular server, click the server and then click the Backup button.  A gallery of backup strategies matching you storage device types shows up, and you can pick the appropriate starting point.

Setting up storage is done on the Storage tab via the "Configure Storage" button.  The wizard that it launches will guide you through initial setup of any storage attached to your media server.

Thanks for offering your feedback to the forum.  The more specific your feedback is, the more we can help out.  BE 2012 is a big change, but we hope and expect it will make our customers' lives easier -- and where we've come short of that, we are very committed to improving it.

Symantec Lost Another Customer's picture

Well if I was undecided about whether or not to continue using Symantec BE this latest upgrade has sealed the deal. Good Bye Back Up Exec.

I absolutly hate it. I have spent the last 5 years using BE and performing upgrades and being impressed with the additional features but the retention of the over all foundation/layout of the product. We performed an upgrade this weekend during a scheduled maintence window and ran into one problem after another. None of our 6 media servers consistently updated, most of the saved jobs were lost, and now creating a new job is harder than ever. The error messages step you through 1 issue after another, as you resolve the request it is making, it creates another error. I am done and can't wait to uninstall it.

This has done nothing but create a new level of frustration. Good job Symantec! Good job!! My only other option is to call technical support and wait 3 hours for a technician that I can't understand to call me back and frustrate me even more because they do not speak clear english.

BE_KirkFreiheit's picture

I'm an engineer on the BE 2012 team, and if you have any patience left at this point, I'd like to offer help to solve the specific issues you're experiencing.

I see that most of your saved jobs were lost, and the creating jobs is 'harder than ever'.  I'm curious to know where job creation has caused the most difficulty.  The face of the product has changed quite a bit, but the options are basically all still there.

Multi-server job editing is also possible: if you select multiple servers, then click the Backup button(s), you can create and edit job options for multiple servers at once.  If you back up most of your servers in a similar way, it may not be too difficult to get things running smoothly again.

If you're using tape and have strong needs to control the order of resources written to the same tape, that's a common theme we're seeing with the new release, and we're working on a solution to that as I type.

Again, if you have any patience left, engineers like me are here monitoring the forum to help.

MarcusG's picture

Interface can be navigated, but no one at our shop wants to spend the time to get up to speed. Have used BackupExec and Netbackup for a dozen years, but I have not realized any benefit to the new interface, and will re-install 2010 R3 just to save time and effort. My requirements were to upgrade for better features and support, not to learn a new product from the ground up and re-interpret misleading status and alerts.

Even less happy with support since the change.

GregOfBE's picture

Sorry to hear that its a "tough sell". When we did studies with existing users, they usually were initially surprised but it normally wouldn't take long before they "got it" and were off to the races.  

Backup Exec does have a long history - I know because I've been with the product for a very long time. As a result of that, we have built a lot of customers who have grown with it. It was a risk to take a well established product and change it. But as I posted previously, there were many reasons for doing so.

If you want to post specific issues, I'd be happy to try to help out.

David Willoughby's picture

Not the least of which is to pretend we are getting something for all those maintenance dollars we give you I'm sure.

Valentino Beltramelli's picture

We already deployed Backup Exec 2012 with some customers and all of them gave a good feedback about the interface, the better usability and simplified interface with an overall satisfaction.

They weren't so keen on the new interface for the first couple of hours but after using it a bit they discovered it was really a piece of cake configuring any type of backup with schedules and retention they wanted.

Some of them were about to search amongst the competition for a better backup software but now they are really sticking with the new BE2012 and they love it.

It really depends on personal taste and ability to adapt.

Even migrating from 2010 and 12.5 worked almost without issues, just had to rename a few jobs and correct some selection lists because they were kept as before the upgrade. The system state and service state are now under a single item and I just corrected them the way the software was expecting.

Even our customers were satisfied in the process, the part that I was more worried about was the DLO, but following the upgrade guide everything worked smootlhy.

I like the new version, customers seems to like it as well and I can't see so much flaws to compromise the product.

We spent some time with the GA version and so we were able to experiment some scenarios before putting the software in production; most o the problems were solved quite rapidly.

You just have to get used to how the new "backup system" works and is intended to be operated; that's it.

IT Chap's picture

RE: "You just have to get used to how the new "backup system" works and is intended to be operated; that's it."

Not really, I don't have to get used to it if it does not meet my needs.  I just take my money elsewhere; that's it.

I have it working now, but the click-fest drives me crazy.  If as suggested that a third pane is to be added so that more info is displayed at a glance in a concise manner without piles of icons everywhere, then just maybe it will come good.   I have to stay with it for a while until the new budget cycle starts, so I hope it comes good by then, as I will be jumping ship after 17 years usage.

patters's picture

I posted to this thread earlier to say that I was impressed by the restructuring of the product, and that I found it refreshingly simple to get set up and re-create all my jobs and selections from scratch. Well that was until I had actually been trying to run those backup jobs...

Completely unrelated to whether or not the UI has changed, what I'm left with is precisely the same as every major release of Backup Exec - an unreliable mess that is putting my employer's data at risk by failing in new and imaginative ways each night. I have many open support cases which are going nowhere and in some cases even closed without attempt to fix.

How on earth does this product get released at such a stage of immaturity every single time (I have been a customer since 8.6). It's like it hasn't even been beta tested. When I spend thousands of pounds on software support and maintenance (not even the initial licenses), I quite rightly imagine that it will at least be fit for the purpose for which it was purchased. It is not. My backups are consistently failing. When I upgraded to BE 2010 R3 I had one particular open case for six months until it was finally fixed by a patch. This is completely unacceptable, and I will not enter into that situation again.

How does this company go from having reliable remote agents in one version, to wholly unreliable in the next? Here are my problems:

  • First attempt at full backup I discover that if I completely de-select GRT from a VMware job (because these VMs have GUID partition tables) I get a failure to authenticate with vCenter. The credentials are fine, and test fine.
  • One of my 2008 R2 file servers refuses to test the credentials on all resources. Yet this will backup. However, NTFRS selections are missing from the backup set and cannot be restored, despite there being no errrors reported in the job. The workaround that I used when I encountered this in 2010 R3 won't work either (use AOFO forcing Microsoft VSS provider).
  • Each time I try to backup Exchange 2010 using ADBO I get a failure and a stale snapshot on my EqualLogic SAN which I have to manually clear.
  • VMware jobs just hang for no reason leaving orphaned snapshots in vCenter which are then declared in need of manual 'consolidation'. This is pretty much random.
  • Yesterday after a few selections had backed up, the rest of the jobs halted with an Insert Media notification despite the fact that an appendable tape in the correct media set was loaded and had 90% free space on it. There was no tape end marker problem, so I think this was just a bug.

Sure, I appreciate that there will be some issues with a new version, but this just takes it back to square one every time, and like most people I don't have time to painstakingly debug and research all this. Symantec should be doing it before release - that's what other companies do. Would you put up with this sort of mess with an upgrade of other core components (Windows Server, or say SQL)? No. I have about as standard an infrastructure as it's possible to have: Windows 2003 R2 & 2008 R2 servers, vSphere 5.0, Dell EqualLogic storage, Dell tape loader, SQL servers, and Exchange servers. In what way would any of this be considered as a complex edge-case that wouldn't have shown up in testing?

If I can't resolve these issues in the next 24 hours (I have already wasted a full week), I shall be restoring the image I took of the media server running BE 2010 R3, and I will be looking at alternative products going forward.

tl;dr - Well done on the redesign, shame the product underneath doesn't work properly yet (as usual for new versions of BE).

DanielBickford's picture


Have you already contacted support for your issues?  If so, can you PM me with the case numbers so I can investigate?  If not, I can work with you to get help in resolving your issues.


David Willoughby's picture

Don't even get me started on support. Would be nice if I could get somebody from support that actually speaks a word of English. I'm tired of having to ask them to repeat EVERY SINGLE THING THEY SAY! And that's when I can get in touch with them at all. Just about every time I put in a support request, it gets assigned to someone whose working hours aren't even close to mine. I can put in a call at 9:00 AM my time and get a call back at almost 4:30 PM (just as I'm getting ready to walk out the door).

Lesta G's picture

Really, at the end of the day, for me to upgrade to BE2012 to 3 media servers, 5 or 6 esx hosts and about 100 VMs, i might as well just install something else

It is feature flawed in terms of backing up 20 severs in one job, and even if you have changed the GUI to be more server focused, you left major functionality out.

I think the new workflow gui to build  jobs is the way to go.

I don't think putting things only in powershell (like the tape library unlock command) is the way to go, unless you really want to annoy us. It should be part of the workflow gui

Luckly for me I was creating an additional media server and tape library. So im just going to uninstall BE2012 and install BE2010 and start looking for something else by the time the maintenance expires

If this response answers your query, please mark it as a solution

Bulbous's picture

In the interest of being specific with regards to the problems we face with Backup Exec 2012, I thought I would do a migration and keep detailed notes, and report on specific issues. I'd like to give this a fair shake and be as objective and helpful as possible.

Media Server: Windows Small Business Server 2003 with Backup Exec 2010 R3 for SBS (Rev. 5204)

Additional Server: Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation backed up with RAWS

This is a very typical client scenario for me.

First off, I will say to double-check to ensure that all patches are installed. I had the media server configured to download and auto-install on a weekly basis using LiveUpdate, but it was still on Service Pack 1.

More to follow as the nightly backup routine interrupted my upgrade.

Bulbous's picture

At this point, I cannot proceed with the upgrade. The pre-installation check advises me that I have to uninstall the DLO option to perform the upgrade. However, I cannot uninstall DLO. When I deselect it, it goes through uninstall motions, but the option remains checked off.

The DLO issue is documented in this thread, but no solution is available.

mdp23005's picture

This worked for me an  a few others (I posted this in an earlier thread)

I was experiencing the same message about the deduplication option. In my case, I had once installed it as a trial. Like others, it no longer appeared in my installed options. I made sure the PureDisk service was disabled then removed my backup-to-disk folder and finally removed the registry entry for HKLM\SOFTWARE\Symantec\PureDisk. I restarted my media server and was able to perform the upgrade to 2012.

IT Chap's picture

I should add that a backup job that previously finished around 9~10am after a previous night start of 9.30pm now runs until nearly 5pm, sometimes later if left alone, so we have to kill it now so that we can change tapes before we go home.

This means a 12 hour back routinely takes 20 hours now.  I will have to move the whole lot earlier now, and I mean server by server by server I will have to move the start times earlier than we ever needed to before, just so it finishes before we pack up for the day.

This is not an advance of any kind, quite the opposite.  I really hate what you have done to my working life, as I have better things to do than to now having to devote time to adminsiter something that was a minor part of the day.

GregOfBE's picture

Not sure whats going on with your backup job but you should not be seeing performance degradation like that in BE 2012. Can you check the compression setting on the storage tab of the job and make sure it is set to Hardware if available, otherwise software?

Some customers have reported that this setting is not coming over correctly.

patters's picture

I'm beginning to see a pattern now. The tape frequently seems to end up with "End marker unreadable" after the Duplicate stage my only backup-to-disk-to-tape job runs (all the other jobs are direct to tape). This usually ends up spoiling the whole backup (for daily differentials) as the only tape in the loader ceases to be appendable. For a weekly full backup job I end up losing a whole LTO4 tape in the set (800/1600GB), but the jobs can at least use the other tapes in the loader. I'm going to monitor it for another few days to be sure.

From what I have researched, "End marker unreadable" usually means your media/tape heads are bad/need cleaning. However, I have cleaned the drive several times recently to be sure, and it only seems to occur mostly if not always after that Duplicate linked stage.

CraigV's picture can always get hold of your tape drive manufacturer's diagnostic utility and run checks against 1 of the tapes marked as bad in BE. This will give you a better indication if the tapes are actually faulty, or if BE is misreporting.

Alternative ways to access Backup Exec Technical Support:

patters's picture

Thanks. Predictably I had the same problem yet again last night. So now some of my other issues have been fixed this does seem to be a concrete pattern.

I have raised an SR with Dell and so far I have run the Quantum xtalk tape short read/write diagnostic. All clear, no errors. I'm now running the full tape test (so 800GB of read/write testing) which will take a few hours. This is on the same tape that BE reported as bad (well it seems to report all my tapes as "End Marker Unreadable" after a Duplicate phase).

So it certainly looks like a problem with BE... with one of the most common tasks you would expect it to perform: a backup-to-disk-to-tape. Very unhappy about all this - it's getting on for two weeks of my time up in smoke, not to mention the actual ability to recover data should a real disaster strike :( What I particularly resent in BE's support teams, is that instead of collecting all the details required to try and reproduce the fault in their own labs, they rather waste the customer's time making them do the legwork, often repeating tests which have already been conclusive. I have had the exact opposite experience when dealing with complex issues with Dell in the past.

As for those who say it's our own fault for not evaluating BE 2012 in a lab environment - SME's typically cannot do this. We don't have spare tape loaders, let alone servers or storage arrays. The only way you can test whether Exchange backup will work, is by trying it on the production server. I don't have the luxury of a lab Exchange infrastructure, nor the time to create one.

patters's picture

Quantum's xtalk drive diagnostic utility has now written and verified 800GB of data using one of the tapes that BE writes an invalid End Marker to every single day, and guess what - no errors. Not one single byte. Time to intiate yet another Symantec support request.

Larry Fine's picture

re: From what I have researched, "End marker unreadable" usually means your media/tape heads are bad/need cleaning.

Yes, tape head issues can lead to this problem.

Technically, the "end marker unreadable" error indicates that the previous writing session didn't finish cleanly and therefore didn't write the "end marker".  The tape is still readable.  A frequent case of this problem is something interrupting the backup, such as a power failure or communication failure.

If you find this is a solution for the thread, please mark it as such.

patters's picture

True, however this happens every single night when the Duplicate Stage of a disk-to-tape job completes (despite that job finishing with no errors in the job log).

patters's picture

So I just logged in to check on tonight's backup. Spoiled again. This time I have got End Marker Unreadable following a completely different job (I had marked the job I had suspected before as Lowest priority to try and fix things up). But there are no job failed errors.

This is getting ridiculous. If my company's main building burned down tonight, they would be well and truly screwed. And I'd be out of a job as a result. Upgrading BE is like playing with fire.

hazmat09's picture

and it was driving me nuts!.....kept on getting tape head errors and saying the heads needed cleaning on my Dell Powervault TL2000. My hardware will usually show an amber light if the heads are dirty. It was not showing.

I then tried a brand new head cleaner.....same errors. After lots of searching I found this KB and it got rid of my errors with the tape drive library. It seems the upgrade messed up something in my SQL DB.

It may not work for you, but thought I'd pass it along.


patters's picture

Mine's a clean install of 2012, not an upgrade. More spoiled backups later and I can confirm there is no pattern to this. Sometimes I get End Marker Unreadable on the tape after RAWS backup, sometimes AVVI, sometimes ADBO. And always the job which precedes this issue finishes cleanly with no errors.

So in summary, it's just very unreliable.

CRM250's picture

Pretty shocking to be honest.

Again as another who has worked with BE since version 6, and one that puts this into all our customers, i for one will be looking at alternatives.

i have no doubt we will be seen as colateral damage and they must expect some to defect and look for other products.

It does seem a shame that the "yes men" told the dev team what they wanted to hear, However they could do much worse than actually listen to what real users and real buying customers actually want instead of assuming we will follow like sheep.

The interface is poor, and for multiple servers in a backup job - well i echo everyone else's feelings about this. Thanks for the warning and giving me around 3 days work fixing something that worked perfectly well* after the upgrade from R2 to R3 in 2010

* i say worked in the loosest possible term, R2 was fine R3's upgrade was poor. Just no need for certificates  on the BE server and BE agent again in the real world with real customers.

marcusdempsey's picture

Just adding my 2 pence to this feed, I upgraded to BE 2012 and went from one Backup Job and around 3 mins admin work a day to over 60 backup jobs and over an hour a day admin work.  

However since upgrading it look me over 2 weeks to attempt to try and get one backup job working, I spend days working with Symantec to be told, oh it does work, all you need to do is buy all new hardware (which is less than a year old), to tell them, no I dont.  It worked before the upgrade, now it doesn't.

I have therefore resigned to the fact that I had to downgrade back to 2010 R3 and now everything is working.

Our support and maintenance was up for renewal at the end of last month, and I have decided not to upgrade it as there is no point in using this next version.

Symantec you killed Backup Exec.


patters's picture

I have just updated my bug list with a new one to report which I have finally solved myself, despite having support request open for 15 days. It was a UI bug :(

GMel's picture

So I installed this tonight because our backups were flaking at one client.  I figured it'd be another incremental upgrade like 11d to 12 or 12 to 2010.  Boy, was I wrong.  Yeah, due diligence, yada yada yada.  We don't have a test environment.  I guess this client became one.

And given this experience, they will be the only one.  I have no substantive issues with the UI.  It will take some getting used to.

However, the server-centric view is terrible for us.  We use tape.  We have to.  Oh, sure, for this one client it's not a big deal.  They only have two servers.  It didn't take long to update the jobs.  But for our clients with more complex setups, upgrading would be an unmitigated disaster.  Our clients pretty much only have one tape drive.  With this new method, we'd need to schedule up to twelve backups (maybe more) a night for some clients where they have two or three now (or even one).  The administrative overhead for managing these jobs becomes a nightmare.  Our restore firedrills become a huge ordeal.  Yeah, we'd increase the billing for them to account for the longer process.  But that would price the firedrill out of reach for some of our clients.  And when those clients inevitably have a restore issue, there's a whole lot of finger pointing and blame.  No one wins.

At this point, most of our other clients are up for Backup Exec renewals.  I don't see us purchasing any.  We'll probably ride out 2010 until we can find a software package that meets our needs as Backup Exec 2012 does not.

pkh's picture

Look at the Articles section.  I have written a few articles which will help with the implementation of BE 2012.

rob le h's picture

SDR or Simplified Disaster Recovery - a complete nightmare.

Simplified it certainly has but I think someone at Symantec may have misunderstood the brief.

Simplified was not supposed to be to take away and break a load of functionality.

So far I have spent over a week in time trying to get it to do what IDR did very well.

For the record I have worked with every version good and bad over the years from BE and have been through this type of pain with duff versions before but nothing quite this bad.

With IDR it was quite straightforward to do a bare-metal recovery of all your servers in the event of total loss of access to your LIVE site building and any hardware as it is all destroyed or inaccessible.

Let me work through a scenario to show the types of problems encountered:

So you create the SDR DVD/CD on the 01/03/2012 at 10am

Then you need to invoke Disaster Recovery (for whatever reason) say on the 12/12/2012 at 14:30. You do not have any servers built.

When you try to recover the first server (a lightly important server this being as it is the Media Server) you cannot because the DVD/CD only knows of the media created before the time of the SDR DVD/CD creation.

Symantec say to do this you must have a copy of the .DR file – and they say to get this from the server on the LIVE site !!!

So to make this work they suggest you need to put a copy of the file on say a USB device every time your backup jobs run.

If you run a month turnaround of tapes then following their advice you will need 31 USB devices to keep with the offsite Media and every time you use that Media you must update the corresponding USB device.

Eventually when you manage to run a Disaster Recovery on your Disaster Recovery Kit for the first time and then for some reason you need to run it again the system restores without any errors but when you reboot the server there is no boot MBR on the boot disk and windows repair utilities cannot find any Windows OS install on any devices. For some reason it will not recover the OS to the same box a second time.

To fix this you if you are running HP servers you must run smart start and run the system erase utility - and yes you must delete all temporary logins. Then it might work ok, but you might need to repeat the above until it works.

At the end of all this if you have not lost the will to live and you boss has not killed you for the delay in recovering the servers then you will have recovered your media server and now can recover the rest of the servers.

I have raised this and more with Symantec. We have had long discussions going nowhere on the phone to persons in their call-centres and been sent various videos to watch – which were no use what so ever. Our problems have been escalated all the way up but so far nothing.

We are currently not upgrading any of our customers to 2012 and will in the absence of a workable version (because it is more than a fix that is needed) will start to look at upgrades. It’s a real shame because 2010 IDR worked pretty well for us and our customers.