Data defenders: A blog on data protection issues

May 10 2012   2:57PM GMT

Is Symantec’s Backup Exec update really so terrible?

John Hilliard Profile: John Hilliard

Over at SearchDataBackup.com, Dave Raffo reports on an Internet revolt of sorts (or at least, teeth-gnashing) over the newest version of Symantec’s Backup Exec 2012.

Or, as one commenter wrote on the Symantec forum:

“I was going to post my negative views and my findings on the new product (besides the UI) but after reading some of these posts, I would feel like kicking a man when he is down, I’ll wait for R1, this vesion is full of bugs is not just the UI or the selection list things. change is good… but damn!!!”

Ouch.

At the risk of over-simplfying the complaints, it sounds like the issue is that changes to the UI were meant to make Backup Exec easier for new customers and incorporate new tech, but they have proven to be, uh, a challenge for some existing users so far.

So is Symantec handling the criticism well? Deepak Mohan, SVP of the company’s information management group, told Raffo that:

“We’re finding new customers love the interface. There’s a fraction of existing customers saying they want the old stuff, they don’t want to move to the 21st century. They don’t have the time to spend learning the new interface.”

Okay, maybe not the most diplomatic way of handling it. But Symantec is clearly trying to push ahead with innovations in the storage space, as company CEO Enrique Salem told SearchDataBackup.com earlier this week.

And the company points out in the Backup Exec story and on the comment board that the changes were made with input from customers. And those changes had to be made, because of new features such as support for cloud, dedupe and virtual backups.

And, well, customers using a new product need to take time to read the instructions.

So what say you? Is this a problem with BE 2012, or just some people who need to read the instruction manual. Tell us in the comments below.

But seriously, are the changes *that* bad?

Guys. Guys. C’mon, guys.

4  Comments on this Post

 
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  • 335guy
    It seems to me that we’ve all seen this before – and will continue to into the future. Anyone remember what happened when office 2007 released? Statements like: “What were they thinking?”, “I can’t get anything done with this new version.”, “The old version was good enough for me – I’m rolling it back.” It’s amazing how all the hub-bub over the ribbon bar has died down. While it was odd getting acclimated at first – the ribbon bar is now THE standard for office productivity applications. I don’t care what product or manufacturer one deals with – bring a major re-visioning of a popular product to market and there is BOUND to be blowback. While I’d be hard-pressed to say that all dramatic modifications to software are perfect the first time around – there exists, at the most basic level, the desire by manufacturers to better serve the users. If the changes truly sucked - it wouldn’t have been brought to market. Yes, I do remember Windows ME and Vista. Sometimes mistakes are made – but I don’t believe BE2012 to be one of them. On some level, I can understand some of the concerns surrounding Symantec’s latest offering raising a few eyebrows as it is TRULY a departure from anything we backup administrators have experienced in the past decade. Shame on us for becoming stuck in our ways and being unable to see the forest for the trees. For years a storm has been brewing (aided by mass adoption of virtualization technology) where we have been overextending the UI of a product that was developed at a time when server densities and backup burdens simply weren’t what they are today. Something had to change – and Symantec blinked first. After reading some of the posts linked in the article – I was served up enough hater-aid to keep me satisfied for weeks to come. As the author of the article said: “Guys. Guys. C’mon guys”. I come from an environment where I’m running around 150 jobs, and in that regard, there isn’t anything particularly “odd” going on (in terms of what is being run, when, and how). •V-ray. If you’re doing virtualization – this will save you time on backups and protect you more comprehensively. V-Ray drove my decision to upgrade. Period. •On the subject of upgrading from a previous version: It isn’t as clean as backup administrators with prior be-upgrade experience are accustomed to… Can’t stress that enough. When you begin to think about how complex of an upgrade it is from 2010 to 2012 – I’m amazed that the option to upgrade was even offered. Given how unique each backup admin’s environment is – I struggle to comprehend what the translation logic looks like. Without a doubt, the most important document you can read when upgrading is the pre-upgrade output from the job migration engine. Prior to pulling the trigger to complete the upgrade process a document is produced showing you EXACTLY what the migration engine will do to your jobs. If at any point you become uncomfortable – you are given one last chance to NOT pull the trigger. Experience over several upgrades has taught me that getting the few jobs that were not properly translated fixed is quite easy. The best tip I can give you for the aforementioned process is to leverage a revamped feature called edit backups (using ctrl-key to do a multi-select) – read about it in the admin guide. Knowing what you’re getting into ahead of time will absolutely ensure a smooth(er) upgrade than going in dry. •The new interface has removed TONS of clutter from the job window. In the past having jobs for backup to disk / dupe to tape really made for an extremely cluttered experience. And while I can appreciate the granularity of seeing EVERYTHING, sometimes there was simply too much to deal with effectively (a problem that was only going to worsen over time as more and more resources were being backed up). While some of the things that were part of daily use were removed due to forward compatibility and design decisions – setting up complicated backup jobs now happens faster and more reliably than it ever has. Sure it’s a little click-centric – I’m not going to argue about that. The ends justify the means. It was all a bit awkward at first – but after a few hours using the interface actively – and referring to the admin guide for quick pointers… I’m sorry – the benefits outweigh the gripes I have by a rather large margin. •The ability to set job stages against server resources is wonderful – as not only could you see EVERYTHING related to how the logical object was being backed up in one easy to read screen – but you could get every bit as granular with staged actions without some of the confusion which was present in the older versions. Not to say that things were confusing in older versions – but any seasoned backup admin will admit the occasional battle with a complex job. •No longer do you have to create media sets for b2d jobs – retention policies are set granularly by the job. This is huge for me – as there are some b2d jobs that I want to keep around for a few days – and others that as soon as they’re popped to tape can be expired. This easily allows me to keep that which is important on disk – and nuke the stuff that isn’t. In the past the number media policy sets required to do this would have related directly to how complicated I needed my retention to be. Huge time saver. No it isn’t that bad. Nowadays, in internet land it seems more commonplace to read posts about that which sucks – instead of how well it is working. When was the last time any of you got in on a “love fest” in a product forum? It’s been a long time for me - that’s for sure. Mark my words guys. Windows 8 w/ metro is right around the corner (“where’d my start menu go?”)… We’ll all be seeing this again… and again…. ad nauseam.
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  • SeanJRegan
    MSExchange.org, announced today that Symantec Backup Exec for Windows Servers was selected the winner in the Backup & Recovery category of the MSExchange.org Readers’ Choice Awards. It beat the next closest competitor by 19% of the vote. http://www.msexchange.org/news/general/MSExchange-Readers-Choice-Award-Symantec-Backup-Exec-for-Windows-Servers-Exchange-Backup-Recover-Apr12.html
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  • SeanJRegan
    Symantec released Backup Exec 2012 SP1 today with updates for Job Views and tips for some of the questions raised https://www-secure.symantec.com/connect/blogs/announcing-backup-exec-2012-sp1-available-now PCPro and CRN have reviews out on the UI http://www.crn.com/news/data-center/232600222/symantec-backup-exec-2012-is-all-about-the-cloud.htm http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/software/374467/symantec-backup-exec-2012
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  • ldunham1
    It’s true that Symantec placed a big changes on Graphical Interface, and some basic, but very important concepts to understand and operate the product, but after I understand those changes it became a very user-friendly tool in my daily tests, and now in my support calls. I was confused trying to find some usual tools from my previous versions on my test environment, and it was not easy. After take time to read, understand and review some videos that are available to guide us, and follow all instructions and recommendations from Symantec from your Administration Guide, I started to be familiar with this new environment and I didn’t have more doubts. My mind was already “aware” about the line of new design and I started to think outside of the box when I faced a new unfamiliar situation. When I started my IT carrier I learned a very important lesson that I apply in everything in my life: “If you could not figure out about how to use a new product, read the manual…” and I decided to do that, not complain with any change. I usually receive calls from 3 types of unhappy customer in this situation: 1 – Customers that don’t have knowledge (not their fault) and are not IT personal, but were required to “take a look if the backup ran fine”, and now, after the external IT install this upgrade, “I can’t find anything” 2 – Customers that always know what they are doing, and never are wrong. They looks like to be above any recommendation and manual and only to beauty the shelves, or for the mortals. 3 – Customers that only worry about knowledge when they are in crisis. SEV1 is their names! Because of that they didn’t have time to read manuals, prepare themselves for the changes, and during SEV1’s of course it’s not time to read manuals, but “put out” the fire. If one big change is coming we need time to prepare everything in advance, including and most important be prepared for a Disaster Recovery if necessary as part of our job description.
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