Backup Exec 12.5 Compatibility

Backup Exec 12.5 is released within the next few weeks and for those of you considering an upgrade, I’ve gathered together some information that will hopefully make your decision easier.

Licensing Downgrades:

Can I use a previous version? If so what version? The curretn downgrade rights allow you to downgrade from V12.5 back to 11d. If you need to add new servers/agents/options to an older environment you will have to upgrade to V12.5.

If you purchase your licences with support, that will give you Version Upgrade Protection, enabling y ou to always keep up to date with new releases.

Backwards Compatibilty:

  • As has been the case before, the new features of V12.5 will not work if the agent is put in to an older environment (12, 11d etc)
  • Backup Exec 12.5 media server will work with 11d and v12 agents.
  • Backup Exec 12.5 Central Admin Server Option (CASO) will manage V12 servers, but not 11d or before.
  • Backup Exec 12.5 Media Server is compatible with Netware 9.2 Remote agents.

What Windows operating systems are supported in Backup Exec 12.5 and BESR 8.5?:
• Microsoft Windows Server 2008
• Microsoft Windows Essential Business Server 2008
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family (SP1)
• Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 family
• Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003.(SP1)
• Microsoft Windows 2000 Server family.(SP4, Update Rollup 1
for Windows SP4) (SP4 is the minimum requirement for support
of SQL Express 2005)
• Windows Small Business Server 2000, 2003, and 2008

What virtual environments are supported in Backup Exec 12.5 and BESR 8.5?:
• VMware ESX Server 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5
• VMware Infrastructure 3 (replacement/rename for ESX Server)
• VMware Server 1.0 (replacement/rename for GSX Server)
• VMware GSX Server 3.1 and 3.2
• Microsoft Hyper-V
• Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2

For those of you out there that are running Linux servers, the Remote Media Server Agent for Linux should be of interest. This means you can now add direct attached storage (DAS) to your remote Linux servers (the agent include a Linux Remote Agent too).

Microsoft Small Business Server 2008: As you may know,  SBS 2008 is now licensed by Microsoft to include a 2nd “Member Server” that can be used as part of the SBS 2008 Premium family to host SBS-included applications such as SQL 2008, Exchange, or SharePoint. Backup Exec 12.5 Small Business Server Premium will now include, at no charge, an Agent for Windows System (AWS) for customers who may want to protect this second sever as well.

What versions can I upgrade from?:

This is often the trickiest part of moving to a new version of software, if your current environment isn’t 100% standardised on one version.

From a technical standpoint, versions 11d & 12 can be directly upgraded to 12.5, while any previous versions must be un-installed prior to 12.5 installation.

From a licensing standpoint, you are still eligible to upgrade ANY previous version of Backup Exec.

Microsoft Unified Communications

Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 is now available in a free, online virtual environment via Microsoft TechNet Labs. These allow you to test out the software without any installation and set up being required. You can find the OCS 2007 lab at:

For those of you looking into OCS 2007, there are a number of Technet’s that will be useful when it comes to setting up and configuring the software. Check out these links for more info:

As always, I want to thank Johann over at 

for the info!

Have fun and let me know how you get on with OCS 2007!

Crystal Reports 2008

Crystal Reports is, in my opinion, the best reporting software in the market today. It’s been a real success story for us hear at Bechtle…2008 has seen a 600% increase in sales! I’d like to think this was all down to me and the sales guys and while we’ve certainly been instrumental, there has definitely been increased interest from customers in reporting software.

We all have SO much data these days and many of us (me included) have the feeling that if we could just get a handle on it, find it, organise it, process it and filter it-it would make a dramatic impact on how we do business. Say you’re a sales company and your systems contain information on who bought what, when they bought it, what else they bought, where they’re based and what industry they’re in for all 25,000 customers. If you could compile all that data, filter it, de-dupe it and match it you could make some really great targeted campaigns…but doing all that, quickly and easily can be nigh on impossible.

Yes, most systems these days have some kind of reporting tools but more often than not these feel tacked on in post production, almost an afterthought and they never quite let you run the reports you need. This is where Crystal Reports comes can connect to almost any data source:

Native, ODBC, OLE DB, and JDBC connectivity to relational, OLAP, web services, XML, legacy, and enterprise data sources, and new driver.

The Parameter Panel means parameter values can be set without refreshing data. Parameters used are displayed on the panel so that report consumers can easily see them, make changes, and have the new values applied directly to the saved data.

On-Report sorting, filtering & re-formatting allow users to change and explore the information without having to re-query the database.

Built in Barcode Supportmeans you can easily convert fields to Code39 barcodes without coding or extra steps.

Also, from a licensing point of view there is just one version of Crystal Reports 2008 making it easier to maange your licensing.

Free fully functional 30 day trials can be download from:

and of course, visit or contact for more info ;-)

Symantec Backup Exec 12.5

Symantec Backup Exec 12.5 is nearly upon us (06/10/08 – 6th October) and it has got some great new features. A lot of people felt that V12 wasn’t a huge leap forward and so kept their infrastructure on 11d, but I really think Backup Exec 12.5 is worth it…particularly it’s advances in relation to Virtualisation.

New Features:

Perhaps the biggest change is that you no longer require an agent per virtual machine-now it’s an agent per Hypervisor-with an agent for VMware and a separate agent for Hyper-V. This will definitely help keep downs the costs of backup in this modern age!

A blog post by Pat Hanavan, the VP of Product Management in Symantec’s Data Protection Group (the new name for Backup Exec & NetBackup) says:

“Backup Exec understands the structure of the Hyper-V environment and presents the same logical structure in the backup administrator GUI, so backup administrators can manage backup and recovery functions for their physical and virtual systems via the console.”

The full transcript can be found over at

Symantec’s Patent-Pending Granular Recovery Technology gives you individual file level recovery from a single backup-this applies to both Exchange & Sharepoint. This greatly reduces the time and cost associated with these backups.

If your virtualisation plans have been on hold/slow to take off due to worries about cost and/or complexity around backup of VM’s, I think Backup Exec 12.5 will allow you to take that first step into the virtual world.

More info on the new agents for Virtual Server can be found here.

Price & Availability:

The release date for this and Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 is 06/10/08 (6th of October 2008) and esitmated RRP (in dollars) is:

Backup Exec 12.5 has a suggested price of $995 USD for a media server license. Each additional agent or option can vary in price from $395 USD to $3,195 USD MSRP; Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5 has a suggested price of $1,095 USD per server and $69 USD per workstation.

Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5:

Another new product due out from Symantec is Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5. This is powered by Altiris software (following Symantec acquisition in early 2006) and aims to make simplify upgrades & patch management as well as reduce TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) through licence discovery tools. Another cool feature is it’s ability to give you a graphical map of your Backup Exec deployment :-)

Backup Exec Infrastructure Manager 12.5 is due out “late Fall 2008″, so I’d say November is likely to be when it becomes available. It has a suggested RRP of $1995.

Exciting times!

Microsoft Server Software VHD’s

Microsoft have released a slew of Virtual Hard Disks (VHD’s) making it quick and easy to evaluate Microsoft software for free, in your environment.

Their “Run IT on a Virtual Hard Disk” initiative can be found here:

and includes product such as:

  • Exchange 2007
  • Sharepoint 2007
  • Windows Vista
  • System Center
  • and many more

By installing these on a virtual machine, you can have the application up and running very quickly, reducing the amount of time that Test & Dev takes..which can only be a good thing right? :-)

Microsoft Exchange in Virtual Environments

Microsoft Exchange on a Virtual Server: The official line was always “No-it’s not supported”, but the release of Hyper-V has brought some changes.

Hyper-V now lets you run the Exchange 2007 SP1 64 bit versions of Mailbox, Hub Transport and Client Access Server Roles  without losing support, however Unified Messaging is still only supported on physical hardware.

Here’s a link to the support policy and recommendations paper for Exchange 2007 on Microsoft Virtualization technology:

“What about us non Hyper-V users?” I hear you cry..

is a link to the “support policy for Microsoft software running in non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software”. As you can see, your Hypervisor needs to have been validated to be supported and so far the only on is VMWare ESX 3.5u2.

Also, here’s a link that shows all the MS Server software that is supported when running on a validated Hypervisor:

To see what Microsoft have got to say about the world of Unified Communications, head over to the Microsoft UK UC Blog at:



Microsoft MSDN Licences for Production

As we all know, MSDN (MicroSoft Developer Network) licensing gives developers the rights to use Microsoft software fro Testing & Development purposes; but what not everyone knows is that it gives you production liceces too!

Each Developer who has an MSDN Premium subscription is allowed to use one copy of:

  • Office Ultimate
  • Visio Pro
  • Project Std
  • Sharepoint Designer
  • Office Communicator

for production purposes! That means that when it comes to licensing, if you’ve got say 100 users, 10 of which are Developers-you can purchase 90 x Office Std/Pro for the staff and the developers will be covered via their MSDN subscription. Being aware of this can help reduce the occurence of being over-licensed..and get you some brownie points with the FD?!


In the style of Michael Caine..not a lot of people know that!


I hope that helps…