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Impressions of BackupExec 2012

Level 5

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?

417 REPLIES 417

Level 4

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.


Not applicable
Partner Accredited

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.

Level 4


Every word you said is right on the dime. Couldn't have put it better myself!




Level 3

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.

Level 4

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).

Level 6

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

Level 6
Employee Certified


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.


Level 5

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.

Level 3

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.

Level 4

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.

Level 6

don't hate it, just keep using BE 2010 R3 - it will still has this familiar UI and approach,

Except that 2010R3 won't handle new applications going forward, will it??

as result of complaints from customers Microsoft did interactive guides for Office products with step-by-step demos on how to find old menus in new UI.

The main complaint that I see is not the UI change (tho there are those complaining about that)  The main complaint is the complete change of the whole philosophy of the product


Level 4

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.

Partner    VIP    Accredited 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.

Level 5

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.

Level 2

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.

Level 3

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.



Level 4

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.

Level 4

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.


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.

Level 4

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).