The beta program for Backup Exec 2012 Release 2 has been announced. ‘Okay, but what is changing in Release 2?’ you might say. Well, quite a lot actually. And, from what I can see its all good!
As many of you are already aware Symantec Backup Exec 2012 was received with mixed reviews. Some loved all the new features, others liked or disliked the new GUI, and lastly, some didn’t care about the new Server-Centric model that had replaced the Job-Centric model from previous versions. Personally, I quite liked the product but I did see some oversights that I had described in some previous articles. But those were never a deal-breaker for me. I recommend reading these posts for a fuller picture.
- Backup Exec To Include Job-Based Backups Maybe
- Backup Exec To Include Job-Based Backups Maybe: PART DEUX
In retrospect I guess I could have called this article ‘Backup Exec To Include Job-Based Backups Maybe: PART TROIS’, but hey call me a rebel (and that is a lot of words to write). Blog headings aside here is the list of cool features changing in Release 2.
Job Monitor is back
When Backup Exec first came out there was no easy way to see all jobs at once, or, the status of all those jobs in a single pane of glass. With the release of Service Pack 1, Symantec added a toolbar button called “View All Jobs” and it would do pretty much what Job Monitor used to do. I can only assume that this button will be morphed back into the Job Monitor, perhaps giving it a dedicated tab up above.
Back up multiple servers in a single job
One of the biggest complaints most users had with Backup Exec 2012 was that every server was now its own separate job. This new model was referred to as Server-Centric. The model from the old versions was referred to as Job-Centric. On the one hand, this catered towards Symantec’s new minimalist approach in that you only saw what was relevant. For example, backing up a simple file server did not give you options in your backup job for items that were completely irrelevant to your selections — and this was nice. On the other hand, you now had significantly more jobs to manage.
So, if in the previous version you had 1 job backing up 10 servers, that only required 1 schedule and if you were using email notifications, then 1 email on the success/failure of the job. In 2012 this 1 job became 10 jobs. So now you were managing 10 schedules and receiving 10 emails instead of 1.
What made matters worse was if you were using a robotic library. A robotic library, while it is moving the tape from the slot to the drive (and vice versa at the end of the job), typically adds around 5 minutes to the job for arm movements. With 1 job that was no big deal – 1 job equals 5 minutes. Now that we had 10 jobs we suddenly had 50 minutes of robotic arm operations. This needlessly increased our backup window by 45 minutes.
That being said it’s hard to say whether Symantec is getting rid of the Server-Centric model, but more-so, just adding the additional option to allow for Job-Centric again. Either way, this is fantastic news. This issue was singlehandedly the biggest complaint Symantec received and it’s awesome that they listened to their customer base and took action! Kudos Symantec!
GRT for Exchange 2013 & SharePoint 2013
While Symantec announced support for Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013 with Service Pack 2, granular recovery of these two technologies is currently not an option. At present only full database restores can be performed. With Release 2 customers will gain this ability.
New Platform Support
Symantec has announced that Backup Exec 2012 Release 2 will allow Server 2012 to run as a media server. At present Server 2008 R2 is the latest operating system that can act as the media server. However, Server 2012 can be backed up using the remote agent.
While receiving mixed reviews, Backup Exec 2012 did add ton a cool new features such as Simplified Disaster Recovery, the replacement of policies with workflows, restore mail to a PST file and scheduling virtual conversions as a stage to your backup job. With Symantec listening closely to its user base and Release 2 addressing many issues, Backup Exec will continue as a best-in-class backup solution.