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Backup Exec 2012 upgrade features new tasks, improved workflows

Symantec Backup Exec 2012 is significantly different than previous versions. This tip details how to perform some key tasks in the new version.

Backup Exec 2012 is significantly different from the previous version. The entire user interface has taken on a new look and feel, and many common tasks are now performed in a way that is different from what you might be used to. This piece outlines a number of these tasks and describes how they are performed in the new version.

Backup workflow

In previous versions of Backup Exec, workflows were created by customizing backup jobs with the addition of policies, templates, and template rules. The Backup Exec 2012 upgrade features workflows that have been redesigned to make them simpler. Now, when you create a backup, you can choose to use a predesigned workflow. These workflows are typically based on storage devices and steps in the overall backup process. For example, a workflow might be configured to backup first to disk and then to tape.

The upgrade actually gives you quite a few different workflow options, and all of these options are available to you when you simply click on a resource and click Backup. A few of the available options include:

  • Back Up to Disk
  • Back Up to Disk and the Convert to Virtual Machine
  • Back Up to Disk and Simultaneously Convert to Virtual Machine
  • Back Up to Disk and then Archive
  • Create a Synthetic Backup

Only the options that apply to your environment will appear on the list of choices. For example, if you do not have a tape drive, then you won’t see any tape-related options appear on the list.

Restore workflow

The restore process wasn’t particularly bad in previous versions of Backup Exec, but it could be a bit overwhelming. When you chose to perform a restoration, you could sometimes be bombarded with restore options.

With Backup Exec 2012, Symantec has attempted to simplify the restoration process. When you click the Restore button, Backup Exec launches the Restore Wizard. This wizard asks you what type of data you want to restore and then guides you through the recovery process. For instance, there is a File and Folder Backups option, but there is also a Files and Folders Located Through Search option. This can be handy if you don’t know exactly what needs to be restored. As noted above with backups, restore options that do not apply to your organization are also hidden from view.

Intelligent Disaster Recovery

Symantec has also made some major changes to the Intelligent Disaster Recovery feature. In Backup Exec 2010, Intelligent Disaster Recovery was based on a backup and a boot disk. Although the feature worked, creating and maintaining the boot disk was something of a pain. For starters, there was no such thing as a universal boot disk. You had to create a separate boot disk for each server operating system that you wanted to protect. Furthermore, the disk creation process required you to have a copy of the Windows Server installation media on hand.

Another big problem with the Intelligent Disaster Recovery feature was that you had to recreate the previously existing volume structure before you could use it. This could cause big problems if you forgot to document a server’s volume structure.

Things have improved in Backup Exec 2012 in that you no longer have to create an operating system specific boot disk. Instead, Symantec provides you with a universal recovery DVD. Furthermore, you no longer have to create the volume structure so that it matches what previously existed. You are free to create volumes as your needs dictate. This also makes it easier to restore to dissimilar hardware.

As was the case with the previous version, the first step in the process is to create a backup of the server. By default, Backup Exec 2012 automatically selects all of the components that are needed for hardware independent disaster recovery.

If a failure occurs, boot from the Symantec Recovery Disk DVD and then click on Recover This Computer. You will then be prompted to specify whether the backup data is stored locally on a device attached to the server or if it resides on a Backup Exec server. Make your selection and then follow the prompts to specify which point in time you want to recover. The wizard even gives you the option of repartitioning the server’s volumes if necessary.


Backup Exec has changed a lot in the 2012 version. As is often the case with software upgrades, there is a learning curve. However, some of the changes make certain tasks more intuitive and Symantec has simplified some tasks.

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