If you’ve been working in IT for any length of time, you’ve probably had plenty of exposure to Symantec Backup Exec. In fact, you’ve likely had something of a love / hate relationship with it like many other IT consultants!
Although Backup Exec has generally been seen as a step up from Microsoft’s in-built backup methods, over the years various new iterations of the product have created headaches for IT departments (especially the 2012 version). It’s always been a product that’s great when it works but frustrating when it doesn’t.
Back in February 2012, Symantec responded (somewhat late) to the trend towards online backup and announced Backup Exec.cloud, a hosted backup service aimed at SMEs. Now, less than two years later, it has quietly withdrawn it.
If your MSP business made use of Backup Exec.cloud, you now need to find an alternative for your customers. The good news is that you should have at least a little time to do so. Customers on annual contracts will be able to continue to use the solution until their contract ends, but the plug will be officially pulled on 6th January 2015. If you have signed up for longer contracts, Symantec have promised to release details pertaining to refunds.
In Symantec’s FAQ about the suspension of service, they state that they will offer traditional on-premise licenses for Backup Exec at a 35% discount for people who have been affected by the withdrawal of Backup Exec.cloud.
It’s hard to image many people jumping for joy at this option, as moving from cloud based backup back to on-premise is, frankly, a backwards step.
As a secondary suggestion, Symantec suggest that their Norton Zone file sync solution could form an alternative. This stretches the imagination somewhat, as Norton Zone is little more than a DropBox-style consumer service.
This leaves you in a position where you will have to find a new online backup system for your Backup Exec.cloud customers.
This needn’t be a bad thing, as it gives you an opportunity to look at what’s out there, and choose a solution that it easy to support and provides you with a good commission stream.
However, when you consider the solutions out there, you would do well to keep in mind that if a company the size of Symantec can pull the plug on a service, it could happen anywhere. As such, now is perhaps not the time to put a fledgling new provider to the test. You should seek out a backup partner who is long established.
Symantec’s reasoning behind pulling the plug on Backup Exec.cloud is probably less important to you than dealing with the practicalities of migrating away from it, but if you’re interested, their official line is as follows:
“Customers want features such as synch & share and mobile access. Backup Exec.cloud was not designed with these features in mind.”
Perhaps it should have been.