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 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
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).
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.
". 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"
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.
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:
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.
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:
I recently carried out a full diasaster recovery test on BE 2012 and discovered the following things - so be warned:
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)
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Please can this be considered for BE 2012 R2?
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.
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....