On our good old Windows XP machines for backup and recovery in our small business we used Symantec's Norton Ghost and Acronis True Image. Now we are switching to Windows 8.1 and will also add a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials (the new Microsoft Small Business Server). Because Microsoft's built-in free backup cannot be configured with advanced options and does not seem to be very reliable we are now looking for a new and hopefully better small business (paid) solution. What we actually need is an imaging solution with backup tasks that can be targeted at lokal disks as well as network shares and USB disks attached to the server for offsite rotation. Automatic nightly backups through wake on LAN or BIOS wake up timer are needed, so the backup solution should be also able to turn off the PCs after backup.
Unfortunately, it turns out that there are not any reliable solutions out there in 2014! We tested Acronis business products which turned out to have nice features but are very unreliable and unusable in the end. We tested ARCserve which is ok but cannot be configured much, it actually offers only a single backup task and does not have Win 8.1 support, although it claims to be certified for this OS already - they wanted to send me some internal beta patches but we did not accept this. And so finally we came to System Recovery 2013 which was actually not easy to find between all the other solutions on the market, maybe it is the lack of marketing information available...
So we finally tested SSR 2013 SP2 on our Win 8.1 desktops and it seems to work fine - better than the other solutions. There are not many changes compared to Norton Ghost but it does its job, can be configured with advanced options and that's what we need. Now the problem with Symantec System Recovery 2013 is that there is too few information on this product and there is nobody to ask. You want to buy a product and there is no info - really annoying! In the key features you read about Win 8.1 / Server 2012 R2 support (and it seems to be available through SP2) but nobody seems to care to update this info in the system requirements on Symantec's website. Does not sound very promising for a business product.
The situation is even worse when looking for information about the Server editions of SSR. There is a Server Edition and a Small Business Server Edition. But what is the difference? Can they backup Hyper-V virtual machines? From the host? From the guest? Is Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials supported in the SBS edition? The Essentials Server is actually Microsoft's new small business server so it should... I requested a callback from Symantec here in Germany but nobody seems to care.
It is also still unclear how many licenses I need. In the new Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Microsoft allows to install the OS on the physical host + on one free Hyper-V server VM. Is this Hyper-V VM also covered by the SSR Small Business Server Edition license? Do I need any additional agents if I need to backup from the physical server AND from whithin the virtual Hyper-V server (file level recovery is needed)? How much will it finally cost? I don't find any docs especially for the server editions and I don't see any clear Hyper-V licensing statements. Again, very disappointing for a business product.
But maybe someone here can provide more info to help us in our decision? Thanks in advance.
Solved! Go to Solution.
There is a Server Edition and a Small Business Server Edition. But what is the difference?
Technically there are no differences. It's just a license thing.
Can they backup Hyper-V virtual machines? From the host? From the guest?
Yes, you can backup Hyper-V VMs. You can do this via the host or the guest. Doing it via the the guest means you have the ability to do granular-level restores from the guest.
Please refer to the SCL (http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH201318) to see what is supported.
The virtual edition (http://www.symantec.com/system-recovery-virtual-edition) is something else you may want to consider. Again, technically there are no differences. This is just a cost-effective license bundle for virtual environments.
I'm no licensing expert so you may want to contact customer care for your licensing queries:
Hope that helps.
Thank you for the fast reply. I will contact support to clarify licensing. The virtual edition is certainly overpriced and overkill for my single VM. If I have to pay twice for file level restore this is not an option either.
One more question: When I download SSR 2013 evaluation I always get the same download link for any edition of SSR I want to evaluate: desktop, server, SMB server. Is this always the same exe for all editions or is it just not possible to evaluate the server editions? Sorry, I am still confused.
If I have to pay twice for file level restore this is not an option either.
I am not sure what you mean by this comment....?
Yes, same download for desktop, server, virtual and SBS - the installer is the same for all those versions. But you need the appropriate license for the operating system you are installing on. You can evaluate all versions.
Thank you for the clarification. What I mean by "pay twice" is if I will have to buy a license for my physical server (which is actually running Hyper-V only) plus an additional license for my single virtual server VM (which is my actual file server) this will get expensive without offering me much benefit.
Unfortunately, after talking to customer assistance (thank you for the link) it turns out that it is exactly like this: I need one license for the physical host PLUS another license for my single VM. In contrast to Backup Exec there are no VM agents for SSR so I always need to buy full licenses.
Yes, that is correct. Basically you have 2 options:
Using option 1, you can still backup the guest machine but you don't get the granular restore functionality for your guest machine. If you need to restore individual files, or Exchange/SharePoint items from the guest, you will need to go for option 2.
Thank you very much Chris, so it depends if I need granular file restore or not.
But the most important question regarding System Recovery 2013 Small Business Server Edition remains:
Does it support Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials?
Symantec Support told me "it should" but was not 100% sure.
Symantec partner (Ingram Micro) said NO, Essentials is not a real small business server and you can't run the SBS edition.
Symantec website says Server 2012 R2 is supported by the small business edition, although the word "Essentials" is missing there:
Very confused :(
Yes, Windows 2012 R2 Essentials is supported - see Page 10 of the SCL:
Essentials is the replacement for SBS Server so I'm not sure if you need a SBS or Server Edition license for SSR. My guess is a server edition license but you should check with our licensing team for confirmation.
Hope that helps.
I called the licensing team twice, one person told me it is supported, the next person told me it is not supported. They just don't know as there is no document regarding the different editions.
I know that "Essentials" is the replacement for "Small Business" server at Microsoft. But I don't know how Symantec handles that new "Essentials" and there is no document that states on which Windows Server you can install which edition of SSR 2013. The doc you reference only tells me what is supported in general by SSR 2013 but not by WHICH edition.
And nobody at Symantec seems to know the answer. Please understand that I have lost so much time and I still have no answer. There is a price difference between the licenses and on top of that I need multiple of them.
I am really disappointed.
Thank you very very much in advance.
As far as my tests show SSR 2013 is a very good product. It even seems to do hot imaging of the hyper-v VMs.
The problem is to understand what is actually supported in SSR and in which edition.
Thank you once again in advance for your help.
Are there any news regarding Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials support in the Small Business Edition of Symantec System Recovery 2013 SP2?
Sorry, but we need to make a decision ASAP. It is extremely disappointing that nobody at Symantec can provide reliable information about this. Server Essentials is used in almost every small business.
You mean it is sufficient to buy Symantec System Recovery Small Business Server Edition in order to protect a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. I.e. I don't need the more expensive SSR Server Edition. Is this correct?