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Backup Exec 2012 users are screaming in frustration over the "improvements" pushed out this year.

Users were chatting on the Symantec Connect forum about the redesign, saying that it's more like a trip to the dentist after all.

Here are just a few of the 228 comments on the forum:

  • Bulbous: "Menus are now hidden behind other menus, and everything has a completely counter-intuitive feel."
  • Christopher Joles: "It really feels like I am clicking more times than I have ever clicked in my life. The transition from 2010 R3 to 2012 has been nothing short of nightmarish."
  • lammejutty: "I can't see how in its current form it can be anywhere as easy to manage all my backups as it is now in 2010. … If you didn't have to many servers to backup I can see it not being too bad but the more you are trying to backup the worse it looks."
  • Mark McFarlane: [With Bckup Exe 2012] "I would go from 2-3 backup jobs currently to more than 30 backup jobs....no way Im upgrading...I mentioned this during beta testing and was politely told – it's much better in the new server-centric model...not in my environment it isn't!"
  • Guten: "The new BE 2012 totally destroyed my jobs and now I have been working four days to get everything back to normal but no luck installing BE 2010 again, now i have to clean the registry and see if it works. Advice to others who[are] thinking of an update to BE2012, DON'T do it it suckZZZ! Here is one lost customer!!"
  • Jimmy Mac: "Has Symantec become the new CA? A place where good software goes to die?"
  • ZacTech: "Backup Exec 2012 reminds me of the horrid mess that Acronis puts you through to manage servers."
  • Josefino: "It's a complete nightmare at my company. I spent weekends and nights trying to make it all working again and i'm still unable to have all my backup working."
  • Jimmy Mac: "The new BE product lacks a vital neccessity. The ability to backup multiple servers in one job to one tape."
  • James Avery: "I have entirely enough to do during my week's work without having to climb a nonsensical learning curve for a product that I've used for years, which the designers thereof have decided to 'improve'."
  • PCTEamAdmin: "Instead of having 3 jobs run, I now have 36 to seperately manage. The grouping of servers prior to creating new jobs really doesn't help much, as you cannot fine-tune the selection lists until you back out and edit each job separately! Job history is a nightmare!"

You get the idea... no need to include any more.

Symantec forum response

Symantec staffer Daniel Bickford wrote in the forum that it was his job to listen to the feedback, adding: "Thanks for the feedback, it's exciting to see the passion around BE!"

IT Chap replied:

Symantec, you mistake passion for anger. Why was there not a huge flashing warning at installation to say this is a massive change unlike anything before?

This is such a time waster for me with 40 servers to backup. The installation created random backup jobs of entire servers, I can't find any way yet to delete them, only put them on start dates 10 years from now :(

Removal of the Job Monitor was the single dumbest thing you did, though no doubt you feel very clever about it. It was succinct, allowed a single glance view of both running status and history, and now this info is spread all over the place.

I have better things to do than this, and I, like so many others, am looking for alternatives.

Changes to job exclude dates were highlighted by scottt709:

With all the user input and development time who could have possibly suggested that stopping a backup when it is half completed because it goes past midnight and the next day happens to be a exclude date. I have a backup that takes approx 10 hours that starts at 5:00 pm. As the next day was Easter Friday and no one is in to change the tape I added an exclude date as I did with BE2010. When my Thursday backup hit midnight the backup was stopped and it alerted me to failed status. How could anyone possibly think this was a good idea?"

Dumb, dumb and dumber

Paulip made three points:

1) Telling me to watch videos to understand why your new product doesnt suck is pointless since your product used to be intuitive and didnt need videos...even for the new user.

2) Telling me that you knew lots of users would not like your product, yet you listened to the other users doesnt show a lot of wisdom either. Im sure there were focus groups which liked MS Vista.

3)And for the record....getting away from a job centric focus into a server centric is moronic....um...why? because most of your users LIKE the job centric focus....which is why we've all used Backup Exec for so long.

This change was dumb dumb dumb and more dumb.

Classic foot-shooting

It looks as if Symantec has shot itself in the foot with the perceived substantial user interface changes.

Commentard Ugh said:

For the love of all that's holy, PLEASE put in the option of being able to see a "jobs view" like all the previous versions were based on. You can still have all this other stuff, but just add a "jobs view". I want to see what all my non-hold jobs are and when they are going to run and what the current status is w/o having to drill down into each server on which these jobs are running.

If I'm going to have to learn a different UI, why don't I just learn a different backup program? One of the impediments to switching backup solutions is that you don't want to have to go through the pain of learning a new interface and finding where everything is again. You've removed that impediment with 2012.

The forum posters thought some of the new features were good but the UI and management changes so awful that they discourage people from using the new features. Here's telva-boy:

It's a good thing that Symantec went this way with BackupExec. It makes it more logical for an advanced shop that had disk in their backup routine. For folks still on tape, it sucks since there is no multi-plexing available.

Putting the competitive boot in

QuorumLabs points out "Symantec is looking at a 52-week low in its stock price, most likely the result of the jarring transition to Backup Exec 2012. but ascribing a 52-week share price low to user rumbles about Backup Exec 2012 seems a bit of a stretch to El Reg.

Quorum has "seen first-hand the customer frustration over Backup Exec 2012 [and are] now offering Backup Exec 2012 customers an opportunity to trade in their Symantec Backup Exec 2012 Solution and even buy those customers out of their current contract with Symantec."

Symantec response

What does Symantec say? It issued a fairly long statement which we have shortened, in which it says it is listening to its Connect forum and other customer comments and is responding to them:

As a customer driven organisation we value our customers' input and we listen to them ... In fact, we have a number of the users who have commented on the new UI and are flying them to our engineering headquarters in Florida to engage directly with our product and engineering teams. This is similar to what we did with several hundred customers and partners as part of the beta program... some of the most requested features on Symantec Connect will be added back into the product in the near future...

The technology sector continues to move extremely fast with the focus on areas like virtualisation, cloud, and disk... Symantec believes that it is important to [remain] out in front of the curve. As we designed the new interface for Backup Exec 2012, we worked closely with existing customers to address their needs to simplify the backup and recovery process. While change is always difficult, we have seen a very positive response on the new interface from many customers who realise they can easily customise Backup Exec to address their own unique environments. [Backup Exec 2012 has won awards.]

Our relentless focus on the goal at hand remains unchanged – to change the state of the backup industry for the better. We believe backup as an industry is going through a period of growth and modernization and Backup Exec 2012 will be at the leading edge of that change with the new UI, hybrid-cloud backup capabilities, DR in the cloud, V-Ray for VMware and Hyper-V backups.

Symantec thinks the customer pain is worthwhile because the world of data protection is changing and backup has to change with it. It is focusing on backup appliances so customers can get dedupe, physical backup, virtual backup and storage, security and more in a single product from a single vendor.

It wants to produce better backup across software, cloud and appliances, and says: "We will stay close to our customers ... to make sure we meet their needs and the needs of the next-generation technologies."

Symantec says it will be "modifying our product based on what enables our customers to be the best in their respective businesses." ®

Comments to the Backup Exec 2012 forum topic please.

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