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Anyone use Symantec "Backup Exec" for server backup?

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  • Anyone use Symantec "Backup Exec" for server backup?

    We have a server using that program, and our server, which has failed, is backed up with that.

    We HAVE the backup, several recent ones, but it was done with "Backup Exec" , and encoded/encrypted by it

    We use a raid 1 server, but the OS drive failed, taking our OS and BE with it. We can't re-install the copy we have, because the license doesn't work for a re-install now.

    The program is stated to be "no longer supported", and Symantec states that they canceled ALL licenses for it.... Nice.....

    They will "let us" buy the last version of it at full retail to recover our business data, which I think is "nice of them". I'm surprised they don't charge double now for that, although ordinary "full pop" is pretty steep already.

    Anyhow , does anyone has a good idea on how to get around this problem and get our data back without paying tribute and ransom to these turkeys?
    Last edited by J Tiers; 09-24-2013, 12:47 PM.

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

  • #2
    I've used NetBackup for decades - even before Symantec owned it. It is the enterprise form of Backup Exec. Some of the older backups with 20-year retention time requirements are no longer recoverable. It is common to have to do media refreshes on old backups in order to preserve the legacy treasures that lurk on those old tapes as the tapes have a limited shelf life. Unfortunately there is often no way to read those old tapes because that hardware either no longer exists or is no longer supported for newer operating systems, so you have to do a media update regularly, too.

    Of course the older data format is no longer supported, so you have to do a technology update to the data on your updated, refreshed tapes . So the next problem is bitness and OS vendors. We've gone from 8-bit to 64-bit, main frames, HP-UX/Solaris, and file systems that struggled with 2-gig file sizes to Windows that just struggles with everything. The latest craze is de-duped backup storage in an appliance. These treacherous devices remove duplicate data blocks, not just duplicate files. They keep track of which files use any particular data block - that pointer is much smaller than the datablock, so much space is saved. All the files and file structures are synthetic as are the versions of backup. All this gets put into a single file that spans dozens of RAID6 disks, so your entire inventory and all history is now stored in a single file. How's that make you feel? . The data is also compressed with an LZW algorithm, and 20x reduction is possible between de-duping and compression.

    Last November I decided to move one of my production servers to the cloud so rented a full-service virtual machine (CentOS Linux) running on a Windows VM server with lots of advertised redundancy and storage. Two weeks after the migration and even before a full backup had been run something happened and my VM and all VM's on that server farm disappeared along with all our data. I dashed to Ebay and bought a Dell R610 server and rebuilt the server from scratch, installed all the services needed and configured them, and then recovered the user data from my own backups (compressed tar files on a RAID array). That's how I spent last Christmas . No more cloud for me.

    Anyway - good luck with your problem - it isn't very unusual to be where you are, unfortunately.


    • #3
      This is not any kind of mocking or told-you-so, but the story is a good example why commercial (closed source) products suck big time. When the service/support ends, you are on your own. No documentation, no undo buttons, nada.
      Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.


      • #4
        What version of backup exec do you have?


        • #5
          It is 2010 R3.

          Backed up on one of the high capacity portable backup drives. Just the BE format is the issue

          We are going to try the demo version and see if we can get that to do our restore. Assuming it isn't limited in some way. We have several hundred gb.

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan


          • #6
            Many years ago Symantec bought a company called TwentyTwenty software who made a product called PC-Install.

            PC-Install was a very nice,small footprint,encrypted and compressed single executable etc.etc.
            Not long after a major upgrade by 20-20...all 20-20 products were pulled and Symantec shut 20-20...they only wanted the installer source.

   reinstall the software you needed a serial that was keyed to your hardware.
            The only way I could reactivate the software ( I'd bought only a few months before) following an upgrade was to use a keygen from one of the cracking fraternity.



            • #7
              I guess you don't have a recovery disc?

              I do have one at work, but possibly not r3. I also have 2011 and 2012 if that fails. Will look around and see if I can upload an image for you if it sounds interesting(the recovery discs allows you to boot the computer and recover it using a backup, either from network or IIRC a USB HDD). The only potential problem might be that I have customised the network drivers to include some extra drivers, as far I remember I didn't remove any existing drivers but I don't give any guarantees...


              • #8
                Image? No.

                All teh software AND the data backup?

                You betcha.

                They just won't let us use it, without even more payment.

                After this gets solved, they can stick it... we'll use Carbonite (or the like) plus our own backup at a longer interval.

                We'll see how destructive they are......

                Keep eye on ball.
                Hashim Khan


                • #9
                  Do you have another computer with BESR2010 installed and running? If so you can use that to create a recovery disc and recover your other computer(even if you don't have a n extra license key, you can let it clone the running programs key...(it will even tell you the key in plain text so you can use it to install on other computers... handy tip :wink )). One possible tip is to disconnect the server from internet? That should allow your original key to work? At least we haven’t had any problems installing the older versions including 2010 using the original keys(our servers are on our intranet). Buying new licenses however, not so good luck hence the many different versions on different servers....

                  Upgrading might not be a bad option though, they have several unsorted bugs in the older releases(and the new ones I'm sure but hopefully not as severe).

                  If central IT management let us, we would be using some other backup solution, preferably opensource.

                  As I said, I can upload an image for you to burn onto a CD and boot from to recover your files(don't know about the encryption though we haven't encrypted our backups)

                  one other option is to look for a cracked version, for example google "BESR2010 torrent" just hope you didn't get more things installed than you hoped....


                  • #10
                    So far the trial version seems to be doing the job. But thanks for the offer.

                    We need to get everything off so we are no longer dependent in any way to the bunch of money-grubbing turkeys at Symantec..... They won't even pay for real english-speaking support folks..... the ones we had quietly spoke very heavily accented english and apparently live in Mumbai.

                    Keep eye on ball.
                    Hashim Khan


                    • #11
                      We dumped Symantec BE for an open source solution, this system really shines when it matters, doing restores. It will back up Win2000-2008r2 o/s' and restore to bare metal, it also handles Mac and Linux backups. Its not a point and click product to install, but once it was up and running it has never let us down.

                      Web address




                      • #12
                        Bacula and Amanda are both nice (free) products. Networker (formerly Legato) from VMware is another alternative to Netbackup/Backup Exec as is IBM's Tivoli (both not free). Networker is difficult to understand for Netbackup veterans, though. If you can use NDMP on SAN/NAS/iSCSI storage things become much more simplified as you don't need any middle man server between the client and the backup storage device.

                        Forgot to include CommVault - same not free class as Netbackup, Networker, and Tivoli.
                        Last edited by dp; 09-25-2013, 01:33 PM.


                        • #13
                          Whatever backup system you migrate to, it's essential that you document and test the restore process.

                          Do a bare metal restore as well as a partial restore and pulling out single files.

                          I've also found (in past lives) that for archives it was very smart to track the exact OS and system configuration that was associated with each backup. Add to that all the license keys and you have a better chance of being able to recover data years later.

                          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                          Location: SF East Bay.


                          • #14
                            Yep - the joke we repeated in the data centers I've worked in is that nobody ever cares about how successful your backups are. They want the restore to work every time, even for missing files that haven't been backed up yet.