In this last post of my series about Backup Exec 11d and Continuous Protection Server (CPS), I will sum up my view about Symantec's CDP solution.
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I don't know, if you were always able to follow me in my review about Backup Exec 11d and CPS. The interaction between these two tools is quite confusing, sometimes. It took me quite a while to figure out how everything works. The fact that one has to configure continuous backups of files in CPS and continuous backups of Exchange in Backup Exec is quite strange in my view.
Symantec tried to unite two different backup paradigms in one product using two separate tools. From my point of view, this unification is a complete failure. Continuous data protection and conventional backups don't fit together.
I mentioned it already in a former post. It makes much more sense to use a CDP tool which also supports backups to tapes. Microsoft's DPM v2, for example, is much easier to configure and to handle than Backup Exec 11d and CPS, because it doesn't have all these functions needed for conventional backups.
Symantec obviously wants save its investments in Backup Exec. If you just need continuous data protection, you have to buy the whole product even though you don't intend to run conventional backups, anymore. This makes Backup Exec more expensive than it has to be. In the long run this might be a big handicap.
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We've been using Backup Exec since the time it was still owned by Seagate. As things stand now, it is quite probable that we'll move to DPM v2 as soon as the final is out. It is really a pity!
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This is a real shame. I inherited the backup situation at the company I currently work for. Veritas never seemed to work right. I’ve been running robocopy backups to an external drive simply because I could never be sure that the Veritas backups would be there for me when I really needed them. Between shadow copy and robocopy, I’ve got my data fairly secure. I hoped I could count on BackupExec for the long-term but even that seems to be a shakey proposition. I don’t have very long-term archival needs so I think I’ll just keep rotating my extrnal drives and rely on shadowcopy for day-to-day recovery.
Veritas Backup Exec v10.1d has been quite stable and solid for us until Symantec bought it.
The upgrade to Backup Exec v11d was disastrous. Full of bugs that results in the loss of backup. This was unacceptable. Backup is mission critical and should never have any failures.
After reviewing the Microsoft DPM v2 Webcast, I am looking forward to it. We are downloading the v1 and testing that out now.
We’ve tested Microsoft DPM v2 BETA 1 and Backup Exec v11d (with *ALL* hotfixes 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16).
The focus of this comment is mainly the backup to a SAN test. In our test environment, we have a Dell EMC AX 150i with dual ports on a gigalan switch. Host is a Duo Core 3.4 Ghz with 2 GB RAM at 667 mhz on a 250 GB SATA and on Windows Server 2003 with SP1 with all the critical updates in place.
Microsoft DPM v2 BETA 1
1.) Data transfer was “FLYING”. According to the Powerpath Administration, the I/O speeds were averaging 250 ~ 350 and top speed of 425!!!
2.) Install and Uninstall remote agents remotely from DPM.
1.) Still buggy with “Replica Invalid” issues. They will need to work on that.
2.) No way of restoring individual mail items from the mailbox in recovery without having to bring the exchange down. They DEFINITELY have to work on that.
3.) Super slow…memory hog. Age old problem. Always bloated.
Backup Exec v11d
GOOD – All useful functionalities are there, especially with Exchange mailbox.
1.) Slow performance in backing up to SAN. Data transfer rate, according to Powerpath Administration, the IO speed was averaging from 5 to 150.
2.) Was broken to begin with, make sure *ALL* the hotfixes are in place.
3.) No way to uninstall remote agents remotely.
Kingsley, thanks a lot for this comprehensive assessment. It is quite interesting to note that DPM is so much faster than Backup Exec when using a SAN. I am still waiting for the final to come out. What I like most about DPM is that it focuses on CDP only. I hope to get rid of old-fashioned archive-bit-based backups as soon as possible.
I stand correct on Microsoft DPM v2 BETA 1 on Recovery on Exchange. Apparently, you can restore the mailbox “as file” without having to bring down the entire Exchange down. However, when you restore the mailbox “as file” and redirected to another location, you then mount that database in the Restore Storage Group on Exchange, then use Exmerge to extract the individual mailbox to a PST file and go from there. Still a bit looong method to recover just a mail item for a user.
However, from my personal experience ExMerge is not reliable and “flaky”… Unlike Microsoft’s DPM’s looooong method of recovering individual mail item, I’d prefer Backup Exec v10.1d. Backup Exec v10.1d can restore individual mails back on to the user’s mailbox on the exchange on a fly.
Anyone to compared this with Stricklin Software Group’s DRP server? My company are interested in this product and want to installed it for data protection..
Kingsley , it is interesting what you wrote about brick-level backups of Exchange with DPM v2. I tried this with the Beta 1, but I wasn’t able to get it working. Hopefully, the final will offer this feature.
Using a Dell Powervault ML6000 library this product is flawed.
You cannot import a tape into the library without a backup administrator clicking “yes” to an import operation (which is the only way to get tapes into the library and have backup exec acknowledge them).
Hopeless therefore for automating backups without a backup administrators intervention eg over a weekend if tapes are changed, an administrator has to click OK to import. If one forgets…no backup…useless!
It’s true that the integration between Backup Exec and Continuous Protection Server could be better. Backup Exec is certainly improving in terms of features, but many people feel that the stability and support suffered when Symantec took over. As you say, with pricing, agents for Exchange, SQL, Sharepoint Portal etc all cost money with Backkup Exec, and I don’t know how this compares with DPM…
We upgraded from BackupExec 10d to 11d, and suddenly ALL Backups take TWICE as long, if not longer!
On Friday night we start a Full Backup to Disk then to Tape, and all of it used to finish on Sunday during the day.
Now it doesn’t even start to do the Tape duplication portion till TUESDAY! and that alone takes a whole day, which used to only take a few hours.
Sheesh.. how do i DOWNGRADE without losing all my backup jobs!?