Tuesday 30 January 2007

Symantec - Veritas Licensing Portal Experience

As most of us may know, Symantec purchased Veritas software.

We have been using the Veritas BackupExec product for our larger SBS production servers for a number of years now. The multiple tape library drive support is good for larger data volumes, backup management is relatively easy to work with, and once installed, BackupExcec runs very stable.

I do believe that we all go through some sort of apprehension when a vendor of a product we have been using for a long time gets absorbed in some sort of corporate way by another most of the time larger vendor. It was no different for me when Symantec picked up Veritas.

Other than the rebranding "edition" of 10d for BackupExec for Windows Servers, nothing really changed.

Well, unfortunately, that initial apprehension was warranted.

Recently, Symantec released a new version of BackupExec: 11d. This new version incorporates a bunch of new features, one of the best of which is encryption of all data on the backup tapes.

For those with an existing support contract, one has to log in to Symantec's "NEW" licensing portal, register the licenses, and go through a process to obtain the new media for installation via download, and the keys necessary to install the new product.

On day one of Symantec's implementation of their new Licensing Portal, it was essentially broken. :(

Having multiple clients with support contracts, some of them new so we were going to install the newer version as the initial install, we were into the Portal right away to upgrade their licenses, keys, and obtain the new product via download. But, we could not as none of the client accounts we setup on the new Portal would work as they should.

Phone support wait times in the first weeks of the product and Portal release, were indicated at anywhere up to 12 HOURS! Yes, TWELVE hours.

We ended up setting up the built in SBS backup to run a backup to a USB hard disk for anyone who had to wait for support. We supplied and installed at least two for each client so that one could be off-site at any given time.

After this experience, and given the success of the SBS backups to USB, and our client's willingness to rotate the drives, the simplicity of the setup, we may forgo using Veritas.

The one thing that I will need to do, and this is a priority at this point, is to run some recovery scenarios against a couple of our client's backup files (with their permission of course).

So, food for thought: Do we continue with Veritas where there is high data volume, or do we rethink things and run with the USB hard drive based backup? What about encyrption for the data on those drives?

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists.

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