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Simplified Restore Workflow in BE 2012

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Hello again!  This is my second blog.  Today, I’d like to talk about another amazing feature, “Simplified Restore Workflow“  that is introduced in Backup Exec 2012.  Over the past 15 years, we have developed many different backup technologies (for example, incremental, differential, synthetics, full, GRT enabled backup, and the Agent for VMware Virtual Infrastructure for virtual environment protection) to protect today’s complicated IT environment efficiently.   However, there are some side effects from providing such rich functionalities.  We made restore jobs more difficult for customers.  With versions of Backup Exec prior to Backup Exec 2012, customers must figure out all the necessary backup sets from full to incremental, make the restore selection from each backup set. and submit each one in the correct order to successfully restore data completely.    It is doable for a simple environment using a single backup method , such as a full backup.  However, in a complicated IT environment that uses multiple backup methods, performing an accurate restore can be a very challenging job, even for a professional IT staff or a Backup Exec expert.

In Backup Exec 2012, we introduced a new “Restore Wizard” to guide you through creating a restore job with few simple clicks, regardless of which backup methods were used to backup the data.   In order to achieve such a simple user interface for the restore task, we have spent a huge amount of effort to develop a complicated algorithm to intelligently and automatically perform all the difficult tasks that were traditionally done by customers in earlier versions of Backup Exec.   Let me introduce the new restore workflow by using the following screen shots to guide you through this amazing new feature.      

All restore operations start when you select a server or a distributed application, such as. VCenter.


  1. What type of data do you want to restore for a selected server? 

For example, . file or folder, Exchange database, or SQL database.


Design background:  Provide a wizard to guide you through restoring data in a more intuitive way.  We provide two layers of hierarchy to help you step into the restore operation that is needed.  We start it with the available data type.  In the example above, the user has run a Simplified Disaster Recovery backup  on the selected server which only has Exchange installed on it.    That’s why three types of data can be restored as shown.  


  1. If you selected Exchange in the previous step , do you want to recover a database or restore a few objects such as email messages?


Design background:  Provide the proper restore view according to the desired restore operation.   For Exchange, the Restore wizard asks if you want to restore a granular item such as an email message, or if you want to recover the Exchange database.  Therefore, the proper restore view can be presented for a selected restore operation.


  1. What point in time do you want to restore from or recover to?


Design background:  We introduce the new PIT (Point In Time) concept in Backup Exec 2012.  The PIT view gives you the complete view of the file system or the application database at the point of time when the backup job is done, no matter which backup method is used, such as full or incremental.  In earlier versions of Backup Exec, we show what has been contained in the backup.   If it is the incremental backup, just changed files appear in the backup.   If you want to completely restore a folder to the point of a selected incremental backup, you  select that folder from that incremental backup and from each incremental backup before the selected one, and from the latest full backup before the selected incremental backup.   It is a very tedious and error-prone operation. 

In Backup Exec 2012, the PIT view is intelligently constructed by synthesizing the selected incremental backup set and its associated incremental/full backup sets.   Therefore, you can select a folder to be completely restored to the selected PIT with single click.


  1. If you have more than one copy of the backup data, do you want to restore from a different copy than what was selected by the built-in, intelligent algorithm?


Design background:  In Backup Exec 2012, we added an intelligent algorithm that figures out the required backup sets (from full to selected incremental) according to the application data and the backup technologies that were used. This algorithm also picks the most optimized copy of the backup set as the default to restore from if there is more than one copy of the same backup data.   The algorithm has been designed and implemented to consider media availability (online/offline), storage type (disk/tape) and other limitations caused by the backup technology that was used when it chooses the most optimized copy.   However, we still give you the option to select a different copy to restore from (as shown in screen shot above) in case the copy that is picked by the built-in algorithm is not working or is not optimal for your particular environment.


  1. Final Steps – Restore options and summary

The following screen shots show the rest of the normal restore options that you can set.  The last screen shot shows the restore summary that appears before you submit the restore job.   




I hope that with these descriptions and screen shots, you can see how much effort we have used to embed intelligence into Backup Exec to simplify the restore task for you.   

Enough for today; in my next blog, I plan to dive deeper and talk about how we simplify the most challenging SQL restore scenario in Backup Exec 2012. 


Anker Tsaur

Distinguished Engineer

Backup Exec Team

Symantec Corporation