Symantec Backup Exec 2014 - to be or not to be?

Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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By The Softcat News Team

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Symantec Backup Exec has long been considered a rock in the mid-market backup/recovery market, and after a couple of troubled years under the helm of Backup Exec 2012, released in March 2012, Symantec has unveiled Backup Exec 2014 to re-solidify that position. This new release has been described by those testing the BETA release, available since early March 2014, as “solid”, “reliable”, “powerful” and “fixed”, which must be music to Symantec’s ears, whose engineers have been working tirelessly to make sure that Backup Exec 2014 is nothing but technically brilliant.

At Softcat we have over 1,200 Backup Exec customers, so with a product release that has the ability to significantly impact so many of our customers, we decided to put one of our best and brightest members of the Softcat Storage Technical Practice, Nick Dalby, on the job of working with Symantec on the BETA program. Softcat’s solutions director Sam Routledge has been catching up with Nick.

Nick, thanks for taking the time to speak with me; so, you’ve been working on the Backup Exec 2014 BETA for Softcat; how long has that process lasted?

The first Beta version was released to testers at the beginning of March this year and has gone through multiple stages with more and more fixes and improvements applied.

That’s a significant amount of time, so Symantec don’t seem to be leaving too much to chance?! Can you give our readers your personal highlights of Backup Exec 2014?

That’s true - they understand that this release can’t be another Marmite, it needs to be loved by all. Some of the changes that I am particularly pleased with include improved job schedule flexibility and the updating of the deduplication engine to provide self-healing architecture, better housekeeping and faster backups and restores. These improvements are coupled with a complete overhaul of the backend to improve performance across the board.

In your opinion, to what extent does Backup Exec 2014 address the objections/concerns raised by many on the 2012 version of the product?

This release revolves around need to address such issues. Symantec have shown that they are listening to feedback by reintroducing much loved features, such as the jobs monitor and multi-server jobs, and concentrating on improving their core solution in terms of supportability, resiliency and performance.

Through your experience of working with the Backup Exec 2014 BETA, does the product deliver against its promises?

It really is the most complete release yet. They show that they knew the problem areas of Backup Exec 2012 and that their direction and aims match up with what users need and want.

So, when you speak to Softcat customers running previous versions of Backup Exec, will you be recommending that they upgrade to 2014 and if so, why?

Yes - the return of the ability to run multi-server jobs has meant that the whole direct upgrade process from versions as far back as 12.5 is much smoother; this and the intuitive nature of the user interface, should mean that users not only cope with the changes, but also find both management and monitoring much easier than older versions of Backup Exec.

Thanks Nick. For anyone interested in knowing more, commercially or technically, about Backup Exec 2014, what should their next step be?

I’d advise speaking to their Softcat account managers who can engage Softcat’s dedicated internal Symantec team. The team can help with any questions you have about the solution and licensing plans. We also have internal technical specialists, including myself, who can be involved to help design a solution and provide professional services to implement it.

Thanks to Sam and Nick for their time. Any customer with existing Symantec Backup Exec licences currently in support is eligible to be upgraded free of charge to the new version, but to access any features you do not currently have, or if there is anything you would like to discuss then please contact your Softcat Account Manager or email [email protected]

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