How to Upgrade to Backup Exec v11d

There have been a reports of problems upgrading Backup Exec to v11d on the official Symantec support forums. Symantec does have a Best Practices guide for upgrading, and it is worth reading.

In general you'll want to consider doing the following before upgrading:

  • Make sure you've got a good backup of anything vital, including the BE server itself.
  • Make sure the OS of the server has all the latest patches
  • Clean out the alert logs and job histories to a reasonable level. You probably don't need or want to migrate alerts from years ago.
  • Get all your license keys before starting to do the upgrade. It's not uncommon for there to be delays in obtaining valid license keys.
  • Get the very latest version of 11d from Symantec's download site. (Yes, there's more than one version of 11d!)
  • Make sure that Backup Exec is idle during the entire upgrade (no backups, no restores, etc.). You can put the job queue on hold to help ensure that no jobs will start.
  • Document your backup schedules (times, days, run windows for each job). You may need it later.

After you've completed the upgrade, consider doing the following:

  • Check for and apply all patches released by Symantec.  You may find that if you use "Live Update" then not all patches show up there. You may wish to check and apply them manually.
  • If you are using the Central Admin Server Option, it is vital that you apply Hotfix 27. This solves a communications problems between media servers and the central server.
  • Upgrade the agents on all servers as soon as you can If the servers have v10 agents, you will get good backups, but with a warning in the logs.
  • v10 agents may have problems backing up the System State to a v11d server. (This needs to be confirmed)
  • Many users report problems with schedules and polcies becoming corrupted after a restore. Symptoms are many and varied, including jobs never running and strange errors. The universal cure is to delete the offending jobs and selection lists, then recreate them from scratch.
  • If you have a small list of jobs, consider deleting and recreating all selection lists and jobs as a preventative measure.
  • Many users report problems with agents crashing. If possible, upgrade with the following process to reduce problems:
      -Verify the server has all of the latest patches
      -Uninstall the old agent
      -Reboot
      -Copy the agent install directory from the BE server to a local drive.  (Network installs are known to have some problems.)  Typically this is from:
        file://server/c$/Program FilesSymantecBackup ExecAgents
        to
        C:temp
      -Starting with v11d, you can install both manually with "setup.exe" and the older automated "setupaa.cmd" script.  Both methods work.
      -After upgrading the agent, edit the backup job.  Deselect any system state objects, then reselect them.  This step has been known to solve a lot of System State errors.
  • Depending on your environment, consider setting the Backup Exec Agent service to restart on failure. (On Windows XP, 2000 and Server 2003, this is in the Service's properties, on the Recovery tab)  This won't prevent agent crashes, but it will restart the service for you.
  • For the first couple days, verify that all jobs really did run. This is the only way to catch certain types of schedule corruption issues.

And as a final step, if you have any other lessions learned or upgrade tips, post them here!