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Installing Backup Exec 2012 on VM

Created: 17 Jul 2012 • Updated: 16 Jul 2015 | 14 comments
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We currently have Backup Exec 2010 R3 installed on our server.  I virtualized that server using VM Ware and would like to run a test install of Backup Exec 2012.  Has anyone done this?

Thank you.

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RahulG's picture

Well I have done it , I dont have any issues so Far .but I run  backup only to backup to disk . What excatly are you would like to know ?

ZeRoC00L's picture

Running BE in a VM is limited supported, see this statement of Symantec:

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

CraigV's picture

...if it is a test install, then go for it. That's your primary question, and the answer is can run it as a VM. If it is just for testing, then who cares if you get limited support. Stick with BE running primarily on a physical me, it's worth the pain you're going to experience running it as a VM in your production environment.

On a couple of the sites I managed, this was done...not by my choice, but cost!

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teiva-boy's picture

If just backing up to disk (NAS, VMDK, or OST device), this can work just fine.  There is a different element to tuning this envinronment in regards to disk I/O, NIC reuirements, and vNetwork configuration, but this is totally doable.  And production ready.  

If backing up to tape, you'll have a hardtime getting that to work.  

There is an online portal, save yourself the long hold times. Create ticket online, then call in with ticket # in hand :-) "We backup data to restore, we don't backup data just to back it up."

rablack's picture

I've got BE2012 working on a VM, with a tape device. The host is a Dell PE R510, with a SAS HBA and an LTO-5 external tape drive attached. The SAS HBA is DirectPath compatible and passed directly to the VM in ESXi 5.0.

DirectPath stops a bunch iof VMware stuff working, like vMotion, but since there's no point moving the backup server to a host that doesn't have a tape drive, this doesn't matter to me. I run 4 or 5 additional VMs on the same host as this is a single-server site. I've had no problems at all so far.


CraigV's picture

...we've got a similar situation with an MSL2024 G3 tape library connected to a VM. HOWEVER...we find that the library just drops out of WIndows, forcing a restart of the host & the end of the day (and I didn't support the decision to virtualise the backup server), it creates a serious problem when troubleshooting personally, and with Symantec dropping support for BE until the same issue can be replicated in a physical configuration in the environment.

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Colin Weaver's picture

Just to correct you slightly. Symantec did not drop support for tape drives passed through into VMware, it was never tested so never officially supported with any version of Backup Exec.

CraigV's picture

Thanks Colin...but I also know that unless someone can duplicate the same issue being experienced in a physical environment, no support will be forthcoming. I think it states it somewhere in a support doc around this. Kind of why I've never logged a call around this and kept on warning the powers-that-be that we could end up receiving no support on hardware issues in BE.

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rablack's picture

I noticed this when I began testing. Everything I could find on Symantecs website talked about SCSI passthrough, which is not the same as PCI passthrough. I can see why SCSI pasthrough would be difficult, as the VM has no real control over the host controller, only the device attached to it.

However, with PCI passthrough, the entire PCI card is locked and presented to the VM, giving it full control and visibility of the device (and anything connected to it). I wonder if Symantec may find it worth revisiting this scenario? I actually found it impractical to source a single server for a single workload with sufficiently *low* specification to not be wasted just running BE!

Also, the VMware documentation I have read basically says that PCI passthrough should work for any compatible device/chipset. Dell say their kit is compatible, although working out exactly what is compatible with the various VMware features is difficult. It may be that support will be difficult, but in all the years I've been using BE, I've not come across a problem that wasn't sorted by a server reboot, tape drive restart (or one one occasion a reinstall).

I'd say test it to breaking point, and if it works, go for it!

Colin Weaver's picture

Sorry but, our sales staff and tech support teams repeatedly get confirmation from the Developers and Product Managerment teams that there are no plans to revisit certfication of tape hardware access from within a VM.

Obviously Business pressures can change this type of statement however at this current time it is unlikely - expecially as there are other reasons to go Physical with yoru media server - for instance DeDuplication obeverheads cna be so gerate that yoyu should not be sharing the availabel RAM and CPU with other systems (which you would be in a virtual environment.) Also if you lost your VM environmemnt which includes your backup server how could you possibly DR the environment.

Ofh and craig ios correct iof you can prove to us that a specific error happens with a physcial serevr using the same connectivity hardware and library as the virtual one then we will reseacrh the problem. However if any hardware access issue you run into is only seen inside a virtual configuration we cannot offer support

Ameril01's picture

We use an LTO 3 Tape drive for our production backups.  I was mainly looking for testing the upgrade in a VM environment before slapping it on our production server.  I have heard this upgrade can cause some issues and wanted to test it out in a "Sand Box" first.  I will run B2D backups from the VM to also test.

Has anyone ran into issues with upgrading from 2012 R3 to 2012?

Thank you.

Colin Weaver's picture

Hmm looks like VMware have changed their documentaion yet again

ESX 3.5 documentation used to state Adaptec SCSI cards are only ones supported (which is where some of our unofficial and now corrected documents came from)

ESX 4 document puts the impact for support onto the vendor without really defining the vendor, which could be one or all of:

Drive/Library vendor, HBA/SCSI vendor, Operating System Vendor or Backup Software vendor

However this same ESX 4 document now states categorically in red at the bottom that ESX 5 does NOT support tape drive connectivity. Document available here

Drive/Library vendor, HBA/SCSI vendor, Operating System Vendor or Backup Software vendor
rablack's picture

Hmm, this is very interesting. This KB seems quite out of date and not entirely relevant. It is talking about passing through SCSI devices, as storage devices, to a VM. And the release notes simply say that direct connected tape drives aren't supported and point back to the KB article. Which points to the release notes...

What I seem to have successfully tried is, I think, different to this - PCI device pass through with DirectPath IO. Supposedly this does not care what the PCI device is. I can see why the high bandwidth and synchronous transfer requirements for a tape drive might preclude it from being used, but again, if the device is bound directly to the VM without much/any hypervisor involvement, does this mean it can cope with these requirements? In theory, we could pass through and infiniband adaptor to a VM and have that work, which makes a SAS HBA look slow!

Happy to be wrong about this, if theres an explanation.

Also, to answer a previous question about disaster recovery in a virtual environment: if the host crashes, we rebuild the host (quickly, because it is ESXi and only needs a configuration restore) then run the simplified disaster recovery disc on a bare VM (which has the tape drive passed through as before) to recover the BE server, then recover the other VMs from there, again as SDR restores, or restore as VM. BE 2012 actually makes that part very easy. This is actually the point I am at in my testing, so admittedly I cannot be sure it works yet! But thats the theory... :-)


Vpp's picture


i am trying to connect USB HDD to ESX host through Passed -through & Backup EXEC installed on one of VM inside ESX.

is it possible to configure VTL of HDD in BE installed on VM .

VMware is not recommending this. is BE support & will it works fine?


if we connect tape drive to ESX host & mapped to BE installed VM. will it works?