Things are getting interesting at Symantec. This week the company announced that at the board’s request the CEO, Enrique Salem, had left the company. His replacement is Steve Bennett, who was the chairman of the company. The fundamental reason is that Symantec lost about 19% of its value in terms of its stock price in the last three years (since Salem replaced the prior CEO John Thompson.) In the last quarter alone, profit dropped by 9.5%.

From a backup perspective, Bennett was pretty clear, to wit

“We have a problem in the Backup Exec area,” Bennett said on a conference call today to discuss the Symantec CEO change and the company’s earnings. “We’re really focused on sorting that out.”

The CFO of Symantec, James Beer, was even more detailed and said it would take 6-9 months to fix Backup Exec.

“Let me spend a moment on an area where we didn’t execute to our high standard on a new product launch,” Beer said. “While we delivered a much improved user interface for Backup Exec, we excluded specific functionality that customers still required. As such, we have now re-instated this functionality to further simplify the backup process. We expect it will take two to three quarters to get Backup Exec back on track.”

Dave Raffo in his article then went one step further:

“Beer didn’t say what functionality Symantec brought back, but the vendor did add the option for a job-centric view in Backup Exec 2012 this month. Symantec originally changed to a server-centric view in the upgrade but customers complained that they couldn’t see their jobs without the Job Monitor that was included in previous versions. To fix that, Symantec added a Job Monitor tab for viewing the status of all backup managed by a Backup Exec server in Backup Exec 2012.”

Look – it’s difficult changing a user interface. Just this week, one of Unitrends’ great customer and supporters wrote me about an extra click we inserted in release 6.3 for a particular use case – and we’re working on reclaiming that click for him! (Note: It was inserted to make the product easier to use – and it does – but great companies have to get beyond the “or” and embrace the “and” – so we’re going to figure out how to do both (and quickly.)) But I think that Symantec’s ills in backup go deeper than the user interface – and when Bennett talks about an extended “listening tour” – I think about how lucky I am to work somewhere so much more agile than that. Unitrends is far from perfect – but I know that the folks here push hard on every issue in the quest to delight customers.

In the meantime, if you’re a Backup Exec customer who isn’t happy with your backup product, I can guarantee you that you won’t find anyone else willing to work harder for your business – give us a call (or try us for FREE now).

Comments

  1. Symantec Backup Exec 2012 – A horror story

    I used 2010 R3, which worked fairly well after much tweaking. Not to mention with the selection lists, policies, backup that you have to chain together, It can be quite confusing.

    Having been suckered at a launch event that Backup Exec 2012 was going to be awesome, I went ahead with the upgrade.

    The upgrade destroyed the 20 jobs I had meticulously put together and made them into about 40 server centric jobs that were oddly named. Seeing this and being extremely PO’d, I redid all my jobs from scratch to make them somewhat logical.

    I spent the next 2 months or so fixing various bugs, working with top tier engineers who didn’t really help that much. I was offered to be flown out to Florida for a focus group to fix the just released product, I was unable to attend. 2 months after it being released It already had two services packs, SP1 and SP1a. Those service packs broke a standard feature to just back up DFS folders from a root drive level without using VSS…I mean how basic is that!

    Backing up a Hyper-V HA/CSV environment was extremely vague. Nothing in their Admin guide, support were even a little unsure…then finally the guy figured it out.

    Backups were finally stabilized after several months and countless of hours of my time getting things to work. Fast forward a few months to when I actually needed to restore some critical data after a DFS server went ballistic and started deleting files – See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2450944

    All my DFS backups had been successful for several months. I had done some data validation a few months back without issue. I had forgotten to try some DV after applying the service packs. Upon trying to restore some critical SQL scripts and finance files, Backup Exec would throw an error that the DFS job was created prior to the upgrade – False

    Support Horror –

    Called support on a Tuesday, was told tech would call me back within 2 hours
    4 hours goes by and no tech callback
    I get an email from tech asking when he can contact me?…I respond how about now
    I get an auto-reply from tech that he is gone for the day
    To summarize I had to callback several times during the week and would get the same answer until I finally demanded to speak to a manager.
    Friday rolls around and I finally get a Tier 2 tech call me back. We worked for 3 hours trying to recover data, and it was hit and miss…heavy on the miss.
    Knowing that some of this data was critical to some deadlines the following week, I attempted to restore the DFS data from higher level root folders and finally got it to work Friday evening.
    Symantec has verified that they could recreate some of the bugs in their lab. The ticket has been open for going on 3 weeks without any resolution. Not trusting doing DFS snapshot backups due to the restore problems, I had to backup at the share level which is painfully slow.

    In my 14 years of doing IT, I have NEVER had such a miserable experience with a software upgrade and its support “lack there of”

    Symantec has made doing backups a complex mess and it’s reliability is seriously lacking.

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