Veritas Backup Exec 20 review

Great server and app protection features teamed up with classy recovery tools and versatile licensing options

Editor's Choice
  • Dedupe comes as standard; Instant VM Recovery is swift and useful
  • Backup services must be restarted after cloud storage is configured or changed

Backup Exec has always been a great choice for SMEs as an on-premises backup solution and this latest version adds even more to the melting pot. Along with support for SQL Server 2017, Backup Exec 20 (BE20) offers enhanced cloud support for S3-compatible providers, instant recovery of non-Windows virtual machines (VMs) and deduplication as a standard feature.

Licensing has been simplified with the new Bronze, Silver and Gold Edition options and the price we've shown is for a Bronze 1-year subscription with 1TB of front-end backup storage. This includes support for all Windows, VMware and Hyper-V platforms along with physical to virtual server conversions and the option to use a single tape drive.

The Silver Edition adds support for Linux OSes, apps such as Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint, granular app recovery and four tape drives. The Gold Edition activates everything, adds unlimited tape drives and includes NDMP support.

Installation is swift and we had BE20 loaded on our Windows Server 2016 host system in 30 minutes. The main console opens with a highly informative dashboard that can be easily customised by checking the widgets you require and dragging them to your preferred positions.

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Agents must be installed on all participating systems, and we pushed them out from the console using the remote deployment tool. Along with Exchange and SQL Server hosts, we sent an agent to our Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V host and there's no need to load one on each VM as the host agent takes care of them all.

Backup stores are configured next and we quickly created a hard disk vault on the BE20 host server. There are plenty of other choices as Veritas supports physical and virtual disks, cloud, tape, deduplicating stores, network shares and removable devices.

For cloud storage, we simply entered our Amazon S3 account ID and key, chose a bucket and set the number of simultaneous write operations. We recommend doing this when backup jobs are not running as the BE20 services must be restarted after cloud storage has been defined.

Backup task creation is swift as BE20 offers predefined jobs for backing servers up to disk, the cloud or both. Jobs start with a full backup followed by daily incrementals and can be edited to change sources, destinations and schedules or to add extra stages such as migration to tape.

Jobs default to using any available storage but you can change this to specific targets, set retention periods, enable compression and add software encryption for greater security. You can also keep a close eye on the action from the Job Monitor page which shows all job activity and any issues encountered.

Restoring data is a piece of cake; you choose a host, view its files, folder or volumes, pick a backup or point in time and decide where to send them. Bare metal recovery is a standard feature for recovering entire systems onto new hardware while the Instant GRT feature allows you to browse VM backups and restore any item within them including SQL databases or Exchange datastores, mailboxes and individual emails.

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Another feature we love is the Instant VM Recovery which uses a backup to create a new VM. We picked a Hyper-V VM running Windows Server 2012 R2 from the console, chose this option and had a new VM created from it in only 4 minutes

Businesses that want total control over their data backup and recovery plans will find Backup Exec 20 the perfect choice. It's very easy to use, provides a wealth of valuable features and the new subscription plans make it even better value.


Businesses that want total control over their data backup and recovery plans will find Backup Exec 20 the perfect choice. It’s very easy to use, provides a wealth of valuable features and the new subscription plans make it even better value.

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