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Backup Exec 2012 vs...

Level 2

So I’ve been looking around at backup options.  Currently using Backup Exec 2010 and will be upgrading to Backup Exec 2012 as we have a small investment in the software.  For the most part, whether looking at other backup software, hardware or a combination, the general features are pretty much the same though everybody touts how much better their solution is over everybody else.  De-duplication, restore to dis-similar hardware, to virtual, etc...  I'm not seeing any "ground breaking" features between all the solutions.

I was in a webinar from yet another backup provider (hint Dell just purchased) talking about how they do "block level" backups where Backup Exec 2012 is "file level".  First, is this true as I can't find anything on the Symantec site that debunks this statement?  Second, does it really matter?  Okay... Okay...  Maybe it does depending on what you are backing up?  BE seems to get to the granular level for both Exchange (I don't have) and SQL (I do have) along with the restore features I need including DR.

We go to tape every night and I'm looking at changing that to Disk to Disk to Tape.  What I want to do is back up to a local device but also get that information over to collocation/cloud solution then to tape (monthly?) for long term archival (7 years is expected in our business).  As far as I'm concerned it's all really expensive and I don't need to hear the lecture on "but your data is worth..." and "you can't afford to be down for more than..." I know because it is imbedded in my head from all the vendors.  If everybody "knee jerked" on this it would place many small companies in a negative financial situation.  I don't live in big corporate America where the money flows like a CEO's parachute clause.

Maybe many of you think I'm not taking backup and DR seriously?!  Well I sure wouldn't be here asking questions if I weren't.  So the solution that I've been thinking about is placing a Microsoft Storage Server based device in our office and another at a collocation with DFS replication turned on.  I would seed the device that is going into the collocation first, backups would go to the device in house and then replicated out to the collocation device.  Tape/External Hard Drive would be used for the monthly off-site storage locker.

Anybody done this before?

Does it make sense?



Alternate ideas?

Thanks - Allan


   VIP    Certified

I don't know what collocation you are using, but if it is a server capable of serving as a media server, you can do the following.

1) set up 2 media server with the dedup option for both locations.

2) backup your data to the dedup folder and then use optimised duplication to replicate your deduped data to the dedup folder at the other location.

You would need the CASO licence and 64-bit machines for this setup.

You can duplicate your data to tape at whichever location you have setup your tape drive.  The tape drive must be attached to a media server.

Level 6

Personally there are better products than BackkupExec out there.  However there are two things that give BackupExec an edge.

1.  It's been the stadard for a lot of small business shops for years even over a decade.  

2.  It's relatively simple to understand, and if you can't, most any consultant can assist.


On the flip side, it's one of the slowest products on the market, it doesnt have any enterprise level features, and support is terrible.  The move to BE2012 was also poorly managed and has removed all argument to my first two points.


That said, if BE2012 in a test environment doesnt seem to fit what you're looking for, it's probably a good time to check out other options.  

As far as AppAssure's block level, it's all marketing.  You could say the same thing about BackupExec when using the dedupe option.  The thing about AppAssure is that there is no market presence, little support, and absolutely ZERO reference accounts in the enterprise space.  Basically it's too new to trust.

Flip side to an alternative product, it's often a bit more expensive too.  So keep that in mind.

Level 3


Hello Allan,

I work for Symantec and I’m the product manager for the BE Appliance.  First allow me to say great job in taking the time to fully qualify various technologies and approaches.  Having been in your shoes, I know it can quickly become challenging task and a costly mistake if not done right.

Your approach for going Disk to Disk to Tape is very common and becoming more important for growing organization in efforts to support the information availability demands coming from their customers today.  Driving cost down while doing so can be a very challenging task, thus your point about “money flows”.

Ok... let’s answer your questions.  Has anyone done this before?  Yes, you are among the more common business profile that we support today. 

Over the last few years, our loyal backup exec customers like you asked that we help simplify the process and complexity of delivering a “backup server solution”.  It’s the old insanity trap that they wanted to get out of.  In 2011 Symantec BE team did exactly that.  We took a proven Intel platform, Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008R2 64, coupled with Symantec Critical Systems Protection Security, hardened down the OS, and pre-installed Backup Exec Software.  We built a simple management interface that enables quick and easy deployment in thirty minutes.  We solved the problem!

Within the appliance we provide you with the flexibility to manage at the level of data protection that your business situation requires.  You can backup to disk, a deduplication pool on the primary appliance, replicate to a secondary and take advantage of the optimized deduplication, you can also duplicate to tape, or even an RDX device for offsite for the monthly offsite storage locker etc...

So imagine setting up one job as follows, Stage One: Backup to local storage pool, Stage Two: Duplicate to a secondary location for DR, Stage Three: Duplicate to removable device such as tape, USB or other storage type.  So what I have not covered here is deduplication and optimized deduplication which reduces the amount of data consumed locally and that is transferred over the wire. Another feature is physical to virtual giving you the option to convert simultaneous or as a separate scheduled job.  Pretty cool

Yes, we use file level versus block level and yes, it depends... There are many articles that discuss the considerations (pro’s and con’s) for both block and file level.  What you will find is that one of the drawbacks of block level is if any changes to the underlying files system such as defragmentation, it will create a false positive and cause data to be unnecessarily backup up again.  Since it also relies upon all previous backups for the synthetic full, any issues with just one incremental can break chain and that full to be unusable.

I hope this gives you another consideration and please let me know if I can answer any additional questions.  Thank you for being a loyal Backup Exec customer.  You can find more information  at

Level 2

I have a local company that provides phone/internet service.  They just bought a "harden" site that was part of a military base.  Was going to place a device there (as you indicate in your reply).  The price is more reasonable than most "cloud" providers and it is 20 minutes from where I work so if I need to get to the equipment, I'm good to go.

Level 3


That is exactly what our managed service providers are doing.  They along with several other customers were an influencing factor in hardening the appliance. Cheers.

Level 2

Thanks Skip.

The problem is that as impressive as the Backup 3600 hardware maybe, it too expensive and at $25K, it's much more than a number of other hardware devices with similiar abilities.  What I will give you is that it has 5TB of storage.

In my case, I'll probably end up testing my less expensive solution and then weigh the pros and the cons.

I do like Backup Exec, I'm not opposed to looking around either.  No doubt you have some unhappy users of 2012 and I have to admit, it makes me a little nervous moving over to 2012 from 2010.  That said, I need to see for myself...

Thanks again.



Level 2

I can believe that!  I've seen some very impressive hardware/software solutions.  Both Unitrends and Barracuda have what appear to be excellent solutions.

I've been seeing lots of complaints about 2012 and a number of positive experiences as well.  I have to test this before I can make a judgement call either way and appreciate your comments.

AppAssure...  Well, it looks a whole lot like everybody else's product.  I have no interest in it at this point.  I just need to get to a place that I'm not mortgaging the company to improve my DR/Backup situation.


Level 3


Yes, there are a lot of varying thoughts and opinions around the 2012 UI changes.  Download and take a look for yourself.  Price point is a common topic and why we now offer a MSRP $15k appliance 5.5TB and I believe our existing BE software customers get % discount.  Please do check into that.