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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 SearchStorage.com 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.

Contact the team with a direct message:
Matt Stephenson
Drew Meyer
Sean Regan

You've made Backup Exec the industry standard for physical, virtual and legacy system protection. We're driven by your participation. What do you think?

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?

Comments 417 CommentsJump to latest comment

tchgroup's picture

Its backwards. I mean really who and what admin focuses the backups on just the server. For the life of me I can not understand who came up with the logic to seperate the jobs out for each server whereas now instead of one job a night you have 10 jobs a night and anyone can fial the rest. Then it causes more confusion and management time to maintain. Sure it might be "easier" to setup but the cost of that vs using is pointless.

I mean was it really that bad to look at a job and then see all the planned activity for that job?

Now you have to micro manage 10 jobs a night an hope they all complete correctly and don't go outside the windows.

The issue people are having is that it logically doesn't make sense. I am glad they place thier efforts on improvement but sometimes they should just focus on better processes and failover to ensure good backups, reliable jobs and good recovery. Instead they messed up the core functionality.

Whats the point of all these new "features" if they messed up the core that fails even before you can use these features.

I think Symantec should have posted a message. WARNING!!!! THIS SOFTWARE WILL TAKE YOU SEVERAL DAYS TO FIGURE OUT AND USE. IT WILL REQUIRE TO RE-VALIDATE WHY YOU USE SYMANTEC.  They should put that as a message box before your allowed to upgrade.

I will figure it out because I have no choice. But people should be warned.

Enought venting... to much time on this already...

 

 

 

jsaliga's picture

You seem to be brushing aside all of the legitimate complaints and are suggesting that people just suck it up and spend their valuable time helping Symantec to fix this mess.  That's all well and good if you only have a few servers to back up and no real work to do, but not so good if you have a sizable mixed environment with a lot of virtual and physical machines you have to protect in addition to a truckload of other responsibilities.

The problem for me here is that Symantec made a gross miscalculation in deciding to redesign.  Backup Exec is not just a product...it is a BRAND.  What happened here would be very similar to Chevrolet redesigning the Corvette and making it more European like an Audi or BMW.  Chevy might be able to sell some cars that way, but everyone who was loyal to the Corvette brand would be running for the exits.  Backup Exec 2012 is Backup Exec only in name.

In my view BE 2012 is the straw that broke the camel's back.  With each successive release of Backup Exec I have found a increasingly lower degree of feature integration.  With each successive release I have had to spend more and more of my time debugging backups.  And with each release I find more and more technotes that state there are no current plans to issue a hotfix to resolve a particular problem.  GRT has been a problematic feature in most scenarios for the past few releases, and it doesn't seem to be improved in 2012.  So you end up having to put together a patchwork of bandages just to get your backups to run.  Most of these problems are well documented.

With lots of feature integration issues Symantec is putting a  huge burden on customers with IT staff resources already stretched too thin.

If there is one product that had better work reliably, it is those products in the data protection, disaster recovery, and business continuity space.  Rather than redesign I would have preferred to see Symantec spend the development resources to improve useability with the traditional UI and more tightly integrate features such as GRT.

Bulbous's picture

Of course we are all fans of the single, multi-server job. Why did they split this up? Well, one of the reasons is simple - with a single job, the options you set affect ALL servers in that job. With single-server jobs, you can set the options however you like for each job.

As it stands now, you are left with having to manage a whole bunch of jobs. One of the improvements that is coming is something that is tentatively called "Job Sequencing", in which your whole bunch of jobs is treated like a single entity - more like it used to be. I personally have asked that the Job Sequence be as configurable as the single multi-server job used to be. Let's hope they call manage to code it that way!

We also did talk about some kind of warning for the installation process. There was even talk about a mandatory training video, but we didn't go that far.

I'm looking forward to installing the beta release and seeing the improvements, that we (as disgruntled customers) have suggested.

crasho008's picture

Is Backup Exec 2012 works without issue for some people ?

I hesitate to upgrade Backup Exec 12.5 up to 2012...

Thanks.

JuergenB's picture

If all your backup can be done with 12.5 stay with 12.5!

Wait till 2012 R2 will be released and if R2 Feedback is possitive, evaluate it first.

Get an image of your 12.5 installation.
 

mrnaturl's picture

Albeit took me a while to get used to the interface and understand all the new redesigns, I find this product to be too high maintenance.

I finally had nearly everything (full & incremental backups, cataloging, reports, emailing) working.

That was until that server crashed the last week of June. That ended up being the worst night of my Symantec life. Attempted a simple disaster recovery and the product would not do it. So I called support at 8pm. SIX techs, numerous arguments and 7 hours later my server was still dead in the water. THREE of those techs requested a WebEx on that server EVEN AFTER being told it wasn't functioning. THREE also INSISTED that I had to install an OS on the server before I could recover it. I was astounded they continued to argue with me that I had to install the OS. HELLO?? Why? A recovery just wipe the entire system out DUH!! I begged for USA support and couldn't get it. I begged for someone who had a clue about BE2012 and couldn't get one. I begged for managers and kept getting dumber and dumber people. I begged for 2nd level support and was refused. Come 3am, I was finished with support and simply hung up on the last person I spoke with.

Come to find out, someone did put in a 2nd level request the next day. The problem with this? Second level support did nto call me back until ONE FULL WEEK LATER! And that's how I found out someone upped the support level the previous week. Seriously?? ONE WHOLE FREAKIN' WEEK TO GET BACK TO ME IN A DISASTER SITUATION??? That cost you a customer forever!!

It then cost me over $2,000US to call someone in who was able to fix the cause of the problem in the OS.

So now that everything is back up and running, BE2012 again wants to be a pain in the ass.

1) It disregards some settings. It will not delete the incrementals after 7 days, like I tell it to.

2) It will no longer email my reports, even though nothing at all changed there and I double checked the settings.

3) It does not send me text notifications, like I set it up to do.

I don't dare call support as I don't need the stress of dealing with their idiots. I can imagine someone I talk to wanting me to reinstall the OS then Symantec again.

So, in spite of already paying for this product in May, I'm ditching it for a different solution. I just can't deal with Symantec anymore. In 2011, I ended my use of Endpoint Protection in the middle of a 3 year agreement because I got just as poor support when I tried to get issues address. I moved on to Kaspersky. I'm tired of Symantec costing me money that I can never recoup from them because I have to discontinue their product mid-term or pay emergency support rates for someone local to come in and help me out (I'm a 1 person IT department for 50 users) because Symantec's support personnel are complete morons.

LaughingGas's picture

I have been using BUE since it was a Seagate product and version 6. There were problems then and there are still always problems with the product but they trade new ones for old ones in each release. I think the last version that worked very well was 2008 before the release of Windows 2008.

Since then I am constantly trying to fight with issues surrounding backups. Always something. It has such an aversion to overwriting media as to be OCD. But it doesn't seem to mind if you miss 6 downstream jobs because it is hung up asking for overwriteable media.

Also, Exchange 2007 backups have been nothing but problems, but they say it it because of VSS and Microsoft. If I have this same problem after upgrading to 2010 and 2008 R2, I will no this isn't all Microsoft.

I like the UI mostly, but it has introduced UI bugs. Also, while the default job creates a full and incremental job, it refuses to allow you to run the full backup when you want with the Run Now command. That is mind numbingly frustrating to have to wait until the next full backup to see if the damn thing is going to cycle correctly.

I have only 10 servers to backup, and I should be able to count on this to be fairly automated, to set it, observe it WORKING and NOT BREAKING DOWN EVERY DAY for some stupid reason, and test it occasionally. I have about 10 other core responsibilities in my environment and do not have the time to be screwing with backup issues nearly every single day.

After 150MB of hotfixes, SP1, SP1a (all in just a couple of months) I have presently 2 open cases that were escalated to the 'Advanced Team' one over 1 week old. I had nearly as much trouble with BUE 2010 R3 as well, except the UI has introduced new bugs on top of the existing issues I was really hoping BUE 2012 would address. My job depends on this software and I would lose it if I got caught with my ass hanging in the breeze which this product seems determined to make happen since 2010.

The only thing BUE has going for it is that it is the skinniest fat kid in fat camp!! If only all the other competitors in backup to tape didnt suck so very much worse.

StrongmanTech's picture

I, like 99% of you, absolutely hated this new version of BE. Long time admin on many BE servers, and this upgrade was the straw that broke the camels back for me.

I was also one of the few who had the opportunity to go to Heathrow, Florida, and submit my feedback face-to-face with the ones who did this to me.

Well, they listened. I just saw the major upgrade for the R2 release. They are giving us back the "many servers to one job" mode. The initial talks were to sequence the numerous jobs together, but, this was even scrapped to give back what many of us need to run our backups successfully.

So, hang in there. I am starting to see the light at the end of the very dark tunnel.

P.S. For all of you that have not upgraded yet... wait until 2012 R2 is released and save yourself the headache.

scottt709's picture

Will there be some kind of notice when R2 is available. I have not been running live update as I have everthing settled down

StrongmanTech's picture

I'm sure they will be posting to these forums, and also releasing the typical FileConnect emails when the upgrade is available.

You could also join the Beta at https://symbeta.symantec.com/. Don't know when this will start though.

I am antsy to get my hands on this, but, I'd rather they take there time and get it right.

TTT's picture

I was also one of the few at the User Summit in Florida <waves "Hello" to PCTeamAdmin & Bulbous>, and I agree with the above. The new Job Monitor brings back the centralized "power" of seeing exactly what's going on across the entire BE infrastructure (including Utility jobs and CASO environments). The improvements to the multi-server-job will closely simulate selection lists+policies+templates again (I used policies extensively), but here's the best part- the improvements allow servers to be easily added to existing backups (and decomissioned servers can be easily removed)!

Even further, those same improvements will prevent multiple tape ejects between servers... which increases speed of the job and reduces wear/tear on the tape and drive (and robotic library if one exists). This will be great for me (I use backup-to-disk, then duplicate those to tape (during the day) for storage offsite).

Yes, the interface is here to stay- but "clickfest" is being reduced with the job monitor and multi-server improvements.

I'll reiterate what's been said many times before- set up a VM and put BE 2012 into it before upgrading in production! You just need a 10GB C: drive and a 30 GB E: drive (for B2D), then you can get a feel for the new stuff. One of the suggestions at the User Summit was to supply an instructional video on how to create this VM... but really, you'd just install Windows into it, join your domain, install BE 2012 (and click Next, Next, Next), then go into BE and create a Backup-to-disk folder on E:, then set up a backup. It'll take an IT pro under an hour to do this and will save a lot of time/energy. I was fortunate to test it on pre-production hardware, but if I didn't have hardware, you can be sure I'd do it in a VM first.

(Technically you could install BE2010 on a VM and practice upgrading it to 2012 too!  But that would take longer than an hour.)

I saw a blog post by James McKey about the Beta program here: https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/blogs/new-beta-program-backup-exec-2012-r2  I'd also encourage any "real" IT Admins to sign up; this is a great way to tell Symantec what we like/don't like.  (By the way- if you're reading this message, you're probably a "real" IT Admin who uses this product daily!)

StrongmanTech's picture

Whats Up TTT. Maybe Symantec will do a re-union after R2 is out. smiley

TTT's picture

Hopefully we'd all be giving 15 minute "success stories" instead of our "list of issues" at that point :)

mrnaturl's picture

Good info and thank you for it.

Albeit's too late for me. In my case after the incredibly inept support I received during a disaster I will never go back to Symantec. That's inexcusable as there's no way to recoup the thousands of dollars I had to spend because their support failed me.

TTT's picture

I'd be upset with the way your support case was handled too.  Seems like the escalation didn't occur as it should've.  When a production server is down, that should be their highest priority call; someone didn't log it as such.  Have you seen Symantec's "Support Handbook" and "Global Escalation Process Guide" found here?  http://www.symantec.com/support/support_policies.jsp  There are specific ways to reach someone if tech support isn't helping (or is taking too long to respond).

Jimmy Mac's picture

The one item I do have to agree with "The Future Will Be Brighter Soon"

Indeed! Because our experiences with Backup Exec 2012 has taught us all a very important lesson. Consider alternative products. ( I hate that as I have been using BE since 1998 )

After the time and frustration wasted on 2012, downgrading to 2010 r2, dealing with the telephone support (or lack therein) obtaining downgrade licenses, uninstalling remote agents, scrubbing remote agents that wouldn't uninstall properly, multiple reboots of servers, installing 2010 r2, pushing out the agents again, realizing that the service pack level was too low and the backups were running at a third of the speed we had been accustom to, more updates, more patches, more reboots, recreating (easily fortunately as I now have an intuitive tool to do so) my single backup job which creates nightly full backups of all of our critical servers, services and data and stores it to one LTO tape device, I can finally rest and now take my time evaluating competitive products.

We are going to be testing Acronis, ArcServ, Retrospect, ComVault, Maybe BEWS 2102 R2 or 2014 assuming Symantec can recover from the backlash of 2012, and just about any other product that offers what we had with BEWS v12.5.

Assuming that we can find that product, we may finally be rid of Symantec at this shop.

 

Symantec, do yourself a favor; Recall BEWS 2012 and cease sales until you have a product ready for prime time.

 

 

IT Chap's picture

Those of you went off to Symantec and met the team, what were they thinking.  Do they feel they were mislead by their beta testers who may have been too eager to please, or did they just know better than us about what we need and ploughed on regardless?

Were they shocked by the scale of the negative response, or was it wholly expected and they were prepared to ride it out?  Are they aware/concerned what this has cost all of us in time and lost backups?

What were they thinking?

Bulbous's picture

To tell the truth, we didn't focus at all on the history. In fact, we never really even discussed the "Why?" in our group sessions. The focus was completely on us - what our issues were, and how the assembled team could fix them.

I'm with you - I would have liked to have gotten a little more background on "Why?", and the other questions you mentioned, but to be completely honest that would have taken time away from "What do we do now?" which was the whole point of us being there.

TTT's picture

It was very interesting to learn that the Backup Exec team is made up of the same people that wrote all the previous versions!  It's not like the old developers left and new developers came on- it's the same team as it's always been.  It's great that they were trying to provide solutions for the issues raised on this message forum (and other forums on the 'net too).

Your point is excellent- who were those beta testers?  Why didn't they point out all the issues that we're having?  What were their environments and requirements like?  I think things would've been different if we were all in on that beta test.  That's why I told them to sign me up for all beta releases and usability sessions going forward- we should all do that- truthfully it's how we'll get what we need for each of our own situations.

Here's the beta link again:  https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/blogs/new-beta-program-backup-exec-2012-r2

Nigel_the_Nerd's picture

That is a good idea TTT, I signed up too. SInce I am pretty much stuck with using BE, I might as well help make it work!!

Nothing beats real world feedback for the developers!!

Simon Darby's picture

....why do all my clients want to revert back to 12.5.  Having used the application since the Seagate days I can just about find everything although it is a struggle.  They don't have a hope. As much as I love my clients to contact me when they have issues and use my time, they are beginning to to ask me to look for alternatives.  I can't say I blame them.  I've resold BU Exec in all its forms for many many years and now I may have to stop!  The interface is slow cumbersome and dammned irritating

Judging on what my clients and other resellers are telling me, Symantec may not have the benefit of time to allow end users to come to appreciate it.  I have a feeling the damage has already been done.  Can we have a downgrade path please?

 

Nigel_the_Nerd's picture

This is to the product developers at Symantec - Have you forgotten rule ? Keep it Simple? The reason we used to live in the job monitor was because it told us what we wanted to know. The new server centric view is of no use in a large organization. If you are so thoroughly convinced it is better for us, give us the old interface as well, so we can compare them on the same version. Also with the VMware GRT function, why is it so hard to use? You go into the VM Ware host to run the backup, then you have to go into the server view and run the restore like it was a standard physical server. What is with that? Was it too hard to make the backup and restore run from the same spot? And what is with the Backup Status view on the home page? It tells you some jobs have succeeded and some have failed, but it doesn't have a drill down to let you see which!! And why is it impossible to produce a report that gives you a simple summary of what jobs ran in the last 24 hours and if they succeeded, failed or were rescheduled? Don't you think people need that in a simple view?

jerrys79's picture

Nigel_the_Nerd just reminded me of yet another feature I really hope they add to R2.  The ability to receive ONE email for all your jobs that have run in lets say the past 24 hours or something along those lines.  I currently get 2 emails for my 2 servers at my small site for successful/failed backups.  I can't imagine getting 25 emails if I upgraded my main site.  Since they are giving us back the "many servers to one job" modeI, I would assume this would also be added? 

joearens's picture

I sure wish that I my test server had been to upgrade to BackupExec 2012 first before installing on our production machine. The new user interface is a tremendous step backward compared to previous interface in BackupExec 11. First of all, you can't find anything. I've spent hours clicking around trying to find some of the most simple things. I wish Symantec would have a downgrade option. I'd go that route in a heartbeat. Watch out if you have to call for support as the technicians may or may not be able to speak English very well. Interestingly, Symantec accepts US dollars but provides foreign support.

 

IT Chap's picture

". Watch out if you have to call for support as the technicians may or may not be able to speak English very well. Interestingly, Symantec accepts US dollars but provides foreign support"

 

Eerr....

This may come as a shock to you in the US, but ALL of us outside pay the same rates or more, and always get Indian support.    I have always found them to be very knowledgable and helpful, but their undestandability level fluctuates a lot, and sometimes I just cannot work out what they are saying.  But this is a whole other topic and I do not wish to detract from the important issue of hoping BE returns to a level of usability soon before we all jump ship to other backup solutions.

mpare's picture

Wow - I wish I found this thread before I upgraded from 2010.  I've had so many problems with 2010 and have had several issues open w/ Symantec - the end result from Symantec on these issues: "We're not fixing your problem.  Please upgrade to 2012, the issue is fixed in the new version".  So, I was "forced" to upgrade.  So far - the new version has caused more problems than it has fixed.

First of all - yep I was aware of the UI overhaul ahead of time.  I did not have a test server/test equipment available to familiarize myself with it though.  I'm not gonna bash Symantec for this... although there are many things I detest about it.  It is Symantec's product, and it is in their right to redesign the UI, job flow, paradigm, or whatever term you want to apply.  If it sucks - then we the consumer speak up by taking our dollars somewhere else (which I would do if I wasn't ball and chained to my parent' company's corp. agreement w/ Symantec).

Fortunately, the upgrade itself went smoothly and successfully, and my backup jobs were running OK - but things quickly went downhill over the weekend when I noticed that ALMOST EVERY tape my backups were using was being marked "End marker unreadable".  All of my tape drives were just cleaned.  Even brand new tapes were being marked "End marker unreadable".  Of course, this resulted in my jobs requesting overwritable media - since the "End marker unreadable" tapes were unappendable.  So, I was only able to get about half of my weekend full backups completed.  I'm applying SP 1a now.  I doubt this will resolve the issue, but it is always best to be fully patched first - then I'll submit ANOTHER issue with Symantec.  I will probably end up having to go back to 2010 (thank goodness I saved a backup).

As I'm familiarizing myself with the new interface, it's not THAT bad.  I, like many admins, am a bit hesitant to change, especially with such a critical piece of software.  It just seems like they've dumbed it down.  I've been with BE since version 8 or so.  It seems like since version 12, BE has been taking a downturn in terms of reliability - with very little progress in terms of innovation (I forget what version they introduced policies in, but that was AWESOME).  It seemed that each new version basically would add support for whatever the new OS version was at the time.  But, I digress.

All this aside, I think these are my legitimate complaints:

  • No running job view.  I can't find a view that shows all currently running/active jobs.  From what I see, you have to go to find each individual running job either by going to the tape or disk device itself.  And, this doesn't always match up - there have been instances where there was a job running but no indication of it whatsoever at the media device (see below)
  • No more policies!  Why would they do away with this!?  This was one of the BEST things they added several versions back.  I have over 30 VMs.  Before, it was so SIMPLE to add a new VM by just adding it to a policy.  I also had several other servers/server types that I grouped together.  Now, I have to manage jobs for each individual server.  I could only imagin the headache this causes for admins managing 100+ servers.  Are they trying to get us to look at NetBackup?  This is the most retarded decising they made - getting rid of policies.
  • It seems you're no longer able to determine which media is being used by an currently running job.  In the past I was able to do this, and it helped during troubleshooting problems with media sets.  In fact, you can't even view the log of an actively running job.
  • Ive had a few cases where the server has a status of "Backing Up" and the little progress indicator is displayed - but when viewing the job list under the server details - there is no backup taking place.  What is going on??
  • Can't alter the job priority??  When submitting a job to Run Now - you can't alter the priority.  This would be useful if there were currently running jobs, but I needed to submit a job right away to run ahead of jobs that are in the queue.  Instead, you have to submit the job - cancel it (because you can't change the job priority of a running job), THEN you can change the priority and re-submit.  Just stupid.  I ended up having to put all the jobs waiting in queue On Hold, then submit a bunch of jobs I wanted to run at a higher priority.
  • Tape used capacity is not always accurate.  I saw a tape in one of my media sets displayed as being empty.  When I looked at the backup sets on the tape, there was a single set sized around 3TB.  Obviously, the backup set had spanned from another tape that filled up.  But, I had no idea how much capacity was left on the tape.  Which brings up another issue:
  • You can't vew the series of tapes used by a backup set that spans multiple tapes.
  • You can't specify a target directory for Disk-based media.  You're forced to specify a drive.  (I kinda see the reasoning here though, I assume BE doesn't want multiple disk media sets on a single drive letter/array, assuming for performance reasons.  But: they do let you manipulate the number of active jobs to a disk media set - so that sort of defeats the purpose.  So, what if I wanted 2 disk media sets on 1 array each with different retention policies.  Nope, can't do it anymore.)

I might be able to live with these deficiencies (as long as I get reliable backups, that is paramount), but the "End Marker Unreadable" issue is killing me. 

I hope Symantec hears these complaints, but my patience has been dwindling over the last few years, and this new version isn't helping matters. 

patters's picture

The End Marker Unreadable issue is some kind of fault with BE 2012's handling of hardware encryption. As a workaround you can configure your backup jobs to use software encryption until you have started a support case and requested the "orphan fix" (pre-release of the fix which hasn't yet been QA'd). It fixed the problem for me, so it's likely to be released via LiveUpdate soon. Here's the official tech note for that issue:

http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH191134

 

I recently carried out a full diasaster recovery test on BE 2012 and discovered the following things - so be warned:

  • AVVI restores took one order of magnitude more time to restore than they did to backup. So restore rates of 400MB/min - simply awful. I had to queue them up overnight and I only had restored systems running on day 2 of the test. If any of you have some stats on this please share. Our DR partner company was using a fibrechannel twin drive LTO4 tape library and the VMware hosts had dedicated NetApp SAN storage using 2 teamed gigabit NICs exclusively for iSCSI. Media server had 2 teamed 1Gb/s adapters, same for the hypervisor management connections. I have previously done restores from LTO4 there running at around 4000MB/min.
  • The time estimates for some restores are very inaccurate, very noticably so for Exchange Mailbox restores. The estimate seems to suggest that it will restore the entire Information Store just for a single mailbox, but of course it doesn't. It completes quickly.
  • On servers protected by the Remote Agent, if they have any DFS shares your backup job must include not only the whole C: drive (as documented), but the entire drive containing the DFS shares or SDR will not be enabled. Even deselecting a folder which is clearly not in the DFS selections is not permitted. This isn't logical, since BE can clearly explore which folders form the DFS selections (they're listed in the Shadow Copy Information!). On huge file servers, often you do want to exclude parts of the filesystem.
  • During an SDR restore, the restored system runs Sysprep when it reboots and goes through a hardware detection phase. This seemed acceptably fast on Windows 2003, but took hours for a 2008 R2 system. Surely it would be logical to make that step optional. I mean sometimes you're restoring onto hardware which you *know* is identical. In my case, some of them were VMware VMs so they are exactly the same. It means that you have to spend quite a while reconfiguring all your NICs after the restore (very annoying when you have webservers with multiple IP bindings).
  • I am running the orphan fix to correct the End Marker Unreadable issue, but I now discover that I am unable to catalog any tapes that were not created by BE2012. That's a pretty absurd way to enhance your product. What can I do with the archived tapes which I may need to restore from?
mpare's picture

OMG Thank you for your reply!

I didn't even think of hardware encryption causing the problem.  How terrible.  I should have known - there were issues with hardware encryption + Archiving option (one of the reasons we were forced to upgrade since they were not going to fix it in 2010). 

We MUST use encryption (preferably hardware) due to the sensitivity of our data.  I've used software in the past but it slows our backups down quite a bit (for obvious reasons).  At least I can justify turning off encryption entirely for any data sets being stored on internal tape media only (tapes that don't leave our data center) - and I can document/justify this in our issue.  (of course, that means editing about 50 individual jobs instead of a couple policies, just plain stupid!!!)

However, this issue combined with the inability to catalog tapes created by previous versions of BE - will likely force me back to 2010.  If I can't catalog and restore from old tapes - the show's over. 

While I can work with and accept the UI and it's "isms", I CANNOT work without key fundamental functionality such as hardware encryption, catalog capability, etc.  I can't afford sitting around waiting for a fix, either, and I also cannot afford to roll back to the older product and it's issues.  I remember "putting up" with various issues during past major releases (basically, they rushed them out the door), but this is UNACCEPTABLE!  Your warnings, my past experiences, other posts, and all these issues make me want to jump ship ASAP.

I'm currently working on obtaining a full demo from APPASSURE (I'm on the phone with them now)

patters's picture

I'd open a case and request that orphan fix if I were you. The older tapes problem may not be universal - it may just be something in my environment (or my particular tape library). And the only way to get this fixed is to get involved. As you've noticed, rather like the banking sector, all of the main backup software companies are irritating to deal with in some way - so sadly, moving product may not be a workable outcome.

fowljewl's picture

I elected to not extend my support.  I didn't feel it was in the best interest of my company to spend thousands of dollars to help beta test a product that is supposed to be ready to perform in an enterprise environment.  I haven't been able to get one single backup in the last week.  There's alway one obscure error after another. 

jerrys79's picture

fowljewl, what backup software are you switching to? I'm in the same boat as you. Less than a month left on the current support contract. Still not sure what to do. Switching will also cost you a lot of money, more than a renewal, unless you can get a company to give you some type of competitive price match to switch. I also don't have the time to fully test a new product right now. Not a good situation to be in. My backups are atleast working (or so they say they are successful) on my one upgraded site. I'm just wondering if I can renew and then stretch another year on 2010 R3 on my other sites in a worst case scenario and then switch next August if things haven't changed by then.

fowljewl's picture

The majority of my environment is already virtual so I made the decision to switch to Veeam.  My renewal cost for BE 2012 was scheduled to be about 4000 for support.  My cost to switch to Veeam was about the same, however, my renewal cost next year is about $400.  So, my ongoing costs are much less expensive over time and best of all, Veeam works. 

Kingston's picture

We have also switched to Veeam.

We first started using Backup Exec in 2010 for our Hyper-V Cluster, but have always found it unreliable. One day it will work, and the next day it will fail without anything being changed. I spent many weekends trying to fix this without any luck. We had to constantly "baby" the software to get it to backup without failure. There were two things that made the decision to switch to different software more easy:

1. We increased the number of SQL database instances that we have, and we noticed that backup exec's application agent is licensed per database (or database instance)! We find this extremely unreasonable. The agent should be licensed per server (and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the previous agent (called the "SQL agent") was licensed per server). This per database/instance licensing was too expensive for us.

2. BE 2012. For Hyper-V Clustering we found it no more reliable than previous versions. Not only this, the software is slow and cumbersome. I click on a tab and wait a while before the tab appears. Also, we want job-centric, not server-centric!

3. Licensing is complex. Hell it's just backup software, not an OS. "Keep it simple stupid"!

We have since switched to Veeam, and it has worked flawlessly. Not only this, but their customer support is excellent. There are no agents to install, keep updated, and to license. Licensing is very simple - you pay per host socket.

Keep in mind though that it's not a complete replacement for BE:
- it does not support tape (but this is coming)
- it can only back up VM's, not physical servers.
We are currently using a combination of Veeam and BE to write to tape, and it's working well. We may one day do away with tapes altogether and use external hard disks.

 

mpare's picture

I agree, and will support the overall process by opening a case.  But, I've ultimately made the decision to step back to 2010 in the short run.  I'm just encountering way too many bugs and problems and don't have the time to wait for more patches and fixes.  I've made notes of all the issues I'm having.  Way too many reliability issues for my comfort.  This isn't just some complaints about the UI - but rather - very fundamental reliability issues and concerns that I can't continue to have in a production environment.  This product is by no means production ready.  I hope they get it right with R2.  Sadly for Symantec, I hope to be long gone by then. 

This reminds me of Symantec Endpoint solution that was released several years back.  On paper, it looked great - but in production, it messed up so many of my servers.  Due to that fiasco, we jumped ship to McAfee.  Is it me, or does Symantec have a habit of pushing out product before it's ready?

mpare's picture

OK so AppAssure is disk-only (but tape backup is in their "roadmap"), so it might not be the best fit for us.  But, it does produce de-duped encrypted flat files that I can throw on tape using whatever.  This is not all that far off from how we backup SQL - we use Quest Litespeed to produce the files onto disk then BE sucks the files and writes to tape.  Litespeed is faster than BE, and allows for object level recovery, among many other features.  I haven't used a BE SQL agent in YEARS.

Oh if only I didn't have to worry about sending tapes offsite, or I would even use tapes anymore.  Our bandwidth needs are just too great.

hazmat09's picture

Had a demo of AppAssure a few weeks ago. Most impressive and fast!. I like their simplictic licensing model. Tape is doable now via scripting that they can set up for you. Native tape support is not far off from what I've been told. This is a must have for me, so I asked a lot of questions regarding that.

Given that we use all Dell hardware and AppAssure was aquired by Dell and Dell Gold Support is excellent IMO, this is what I"m heavily leaning towards. They have a whitepaper on their website that does a AppAssure vs Backup Exec 2010 R3

mpare's picture

Nice, that is good to hear.  I've also had a very positive support and usage experience with Dell, from workstations to servers to a Dell/EMC SAN.  Unfortunately, our parent company had a falling out with Dell.  Anyway - back on topic - I also stressed the importance of maintaining usage of tape hardware.  We have a Dell ML6020 with LTO4 drives so once they add native tape support, I'm sure that won't be a problem. :-)  I'm gonna have a demo in my hot little hands in the next week or two.  Better still, my parent company's parent company (lol) has an account with AppAssure.

It is never an easy decision, or process, to jump ship from one product to another.  But, this has just been too many times around with BackupExec....

hazmat09's picture

Updated April 29th to 2012, have been babysitting it ever since. I lost track of how many hours I've invested in getting this thing stable. They should be giving huge rebates on maintenance IMO.

Nigel_the_Nerd's picture

Upgrading from BE 2010 to BE 2012 is a bit like going from XP to Vista. I am backing up about 40 odd physical boxes and 50 odd VM's. Oue 2010 box was a single quad core CPU with 14 GB RAM with 14 TB external disk, and a dual LTO5 library, running 32 bit Windows 2003 R3. It ran 2010 R3 quite happily.

To get 2012 to work acceptably, we had to move to a Dual quad core CPU and 40 GB RAM, with 20 TB external disk, and the dual LTO5 Library, put Windows 2008 R2, SP1 Enterprise, on it, install BE 2012, run Live update a bunch of times ( currently on SP1a), and then reconfigure all backup jobs from scratch. we set up the external disk for DeDupe only, with 20 concurrent sessions.

Upgrading the existing box without wiping it first caused problems. Trying to run 2012 on a single CPU box was too slow. Less than 32GB of RAM was too slow. We added NIC teaming to agregate the 2 NIC's, ( on 1 GB network) as 1 GB was too slow. I went through 4 different boxes, of increasing spec until we arrived at this one. ( it was an ESX host)

Having done that, The most useful view I have found is this: when you are in the "servers" view, make sure you are in "standard" view, not compact, select "List" view, not tree, and then click on the "View All Jobs" button, and sort by "Job Activity". This will give you a dislpay of all running jobs, with throughput, data rate, status, and time running.

Also, quite by accident, when I upgraded the tape driver in Windows device manager ( just did a right click, update drives, and got the MS ones) the active job would then show under the "Jobs" option on the storage tab, like Symantec kept telling me it should. Interestingly, when I was running just the Symantec drivers, ithe current job writing to the tape was not showing up, just tape operations like inventory and catalog. I am running an IBM TS3100, in case any one else is having the same problem with the same hardware.

Having struggled with it for 4 months now, and gone trawling through the training videos, and the forums, I am getting used to the clunky interface, and have now got to the stage where it is useable. Not good, not intuitive, but at least useable.

Good luck with it!!

 

 

patters's picture

Yes like OS upgrades, BE upgrades are probably a bad idea in general. Clean installs are more advisable, otherwise the first time you raise a support case they'll blame the upgrade for the issue you report (voice of bitter experience) and you'll have to reinstall again anyway.

As you mentioned, the first thing anyone should do in BE 2012 is enable Groups in the toolbar, double click All Servers, then select List view and Compact views. Then you have the same views you would be familiar with from previous BE versions.

jerrys79's picture

Do you get an email for each server ("job") that is backed up?  That was one of my complaints, I only have 2 servers and get 2 emails.  I can't imagine getting 40+ daily in your case.

Nigel_the_Nerd's picture

At the moment, yes. For most of the servers I have a weekly full and a daily incremental, then each of these jobs duplicates to tape once the write to disk has completed, and I currently have email notification on, so I 2 notifications per server per day. ( Spam city, I tell you!)  Of course once I have all the issuses sorted out I can turn off the emails and just do a visual check. Or if Symantec manage to set it up so I can produce a report that will tell me the server name, job name, and if it succeeded, failed or was rescheduled, I could set that up to run at 9:00 AM every morning, and that would save me the trouble! It is an area I need to put a bit more work into, but I have been flat out just getting backups running reliably to date so I haven't got any further with it!

patters's picture

I have proposed an Idea to retain SDR functionality with partial selections on volumes containing DFS shares, provided that the DFS folders remain in the selection list.

This is not currently allowed for some reason, even though Backup Exec can enumerate which folders are DFS shared.

https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/ideas/sdr-option-allow-partial-selections-volumes-some-dfs-content

Please can this be considered for BE 2012 R2?

hazmat09's picture

When you put out a hotfix, for the love of the almighty tech god, can you PLEASE MAKE IT SO I DON'T HAVE REBOOT EVERY SERVER THAT REQUIRES AN AGENT UPDATE!!!

Not so convenient when you have a Hyper-V HA Cluster!

Kingston's picture

I have to agree that having to reboot each server that requires an agent update to be time consuming. With the remote agents being a windows system service surely they could be programmed in such a way as to just require a system service restart?

hazmat09's picture

Your suggestion would be greatly welcomed! It's bad enough applying a Service Pack or Hotfix requres a reboot, but to add the hassle of rebooting all your servers with agents just adds to the annoyance.

Had to reboot with this hotfix and have to reboot our 20 plus servers that needed the agent update - http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=tech189571

Joy.....

DanielBickford's picture

Hotfix TECH189761 is now available to resolve multiple issues, including "End marker unreadable"

This patch will be available July 11, 2012 via LiveUpdate.

hazmat09's picture

Isn't it this? - http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=tech189571

If so, It was pushed out already today. I had this as an update available this morning.

Nigel_the_Nerd's picture

Well Bugger Me!! (pardon the expression, but I am Australian, and that is the sort of thing we say here)

I have been strugling with an issue on my IBM TS3100 tape Library ( has 2x LTO5 drives in it, and 2x 12 slot magazines, SAS attached) One drive has been going offline every time I try to run some function from withing BE. (scan, inventory, write to tape, etc). I had it logged with IBM, as I figured, 2 drives the same, same firmware level, on the same SAS atachment, one works, one doesn't, looks like a hardware issue to me,  but after applying that hot fix, the baulky drive came back online, and resumed working.

Now for the next challenge!! I'm sure it will not be far away with BE2012!!

 

Nigel_the_Nerd's picture

OK, so I have these tapes that were created on a different server, and I need to restore a file. I am trying to catalog the tapes, but BE2012, bless it's little cotton socks, keeps trying to write backups to the tapes I am trying to catalog. Now I switched on the writes protect tabs before I put the tapes in, and I set the catalog jobs to "Highest" priority", and the write to tape jobs are at "Medium" priority, so why does it keep queueing the catalog jobs behind the write jobs? Obviously, they keep failing as there in no writable media in the library.

I thought I could just put the Write jobs on hold, but as they are linked jobs, the "Hold" option is greyed out. I don't want to put the whole job queue on hold, because I want the write to disk jobs to keep running, and I want to keep writing to tape on the other drive in the library.

Any one got any ideas? Have I missed something obvious? Did I jinx myself with my last comment?

Nigel_the_Nerd's picture

I created 2 new media group2 for the tape drives, and only put one drive in each group, then went through all the backup jobs for the 90 odd servers I am backing up and changed the to write to one new group only, then I could run my catalog and restore on the other group. Not fast, not elegant but it worked.

Hey Symantec guys, why can't we put linked jobs on hold? If I only had 1 tape drive, then I would not be able to continue backiung up to disk while doing a catalog and restore on the tape drive. The way you have it set up, I'd either have to put all the jobs on hold, and get not backup to disks running, or go into all the jobs and remove the linked job function, which involves trawling through all the job logs to find out how long each job runs for so I know how long I have to wait before I can schedule the write to tape.

This is not a helpful situation!!

David Palmerston's picture

Nigel -

Here is another workaround for your B2D duplicates and running catalog and restore jobs:

1) Set the duplicate jobs to normal or low priority

2) When you want to do a tape job while duplicate jobs are running, simply set the priority on that job to higher than what the duplicates are set to and run it.

3) As soon as the running duplicate job finishes on one of the tape drives, the next job that starts will be the higher priority one.

This is new behavior with BE 2012 where the priority actually has an effect AFTER a job is running.  In previous versions, the job priority only affected which job was chosen to run next (and since all jobs waiting for available media are already running, priority was rarely used previously by us)

Now, we have a number of ways to put priority jobs to use as we have the duplicate jobs occupying the background tape availability and the important jobs taking precedence when they need it. Among our commonly used higher priority jobs now are Inventories after replacing tapes, restores, catalogs, urgent out-of-backup-window backups, erasures. 

HIH.

 

CRM250's picture

Well after more time wasted with my own BE2012 i admit defeat. i am done with this. I am not wasting more time on this clearly flawed product that IMO is not fit for purpose.

The only concern i have now is all our customers are still running 2010 for now, and while working perfectly (and one was recently tried and tested in a true DR scenario) my fear is when they are forced to "upgrade" to 2012.

If Symantec are commited to commercial suicide with 2012 then fair enough, but i would like to know i can keep using 2010 until someone else fills the gap in the market with a working useable product.

On a slight tangent, anyone used DATTO ? i am, and wow what a product. someone else mentioned appasure, well DATTO uses this technology it would seem. Ok no use for taking backups to tape / disk, but for taking real snapshots of servers, and being able to play them back in real time (similar to platespin) in a DR scenario, but with the added advantage of having your images in the cloud too and not just stored localy. Its worth a look for anyone looking for a quality working DR solution for a customer / own business (and no i dont work for them or have any interest in them)

 

JuergenB's picture

Hotfix  TECH189761 doesn´t fix anything in my installation.

BE20212 still crashes at dupliction.

OrphanFix 8.4,8.5 and 8.6 doesn´t fix anything ...

Please get the updates to your QA department before puplishing them.

JuergenB's picture

I am glad that i was able to extend my support in May for the old agent.

After complaining about all the errors and the fact that the old agents for advanced disc based backup was combined into the enterprise agent (3x times) i got an offer from my reseller.

I still could extend my support contract for the BE2010 maintenance for the advanced disc based backup option.

So i didn´t have to pay all the unnecessary stuff in maintenance..

Swathi Turlapaty's picture

To better enable followers of this thread to move forward and follow the resolution of distinct topics or issues we've identified the key topics raised in this thread as well as in our in-person customer feedback sessions that many of you attended. We’ve created and/or identified existing threads that focus on tracking these specific topics, and have assigned product managers to each of the threads to ensure that you receive timely and relevant feedback to your comments. We invite you to subscribe to these threads and to continue your conversation in one (or more) of the following places.

The new BE 2012 requires too many clicks

Ability to bundle multiple servers in a single job

Option for a job centric view in BE 2012

Backing up more than one server per job with BE 2012

How to append multiple jobs to tape with BE 2012

Job Monitor is Back in BE 2012!

Training and information on the new User Interface and processes in BE 2012

Support for Oracle 11 R2 on Linux

Continued Support for BE 2010