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Symantec CEO Says Bad Service Fix Only Temporary 116

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the better-and-better dept.
Lucas123 writes "Symantec's CEO John Thompson says the company is still struggling with its consolidated ERP system and that it has only thrown bodies and not technology at the post-Veritas buyout issues that created poor customer service. 'I've kind of lost track where we are timing-wise...but we threw an awful lot of head count at this wait-time problem. Wait times from their peak of well over an hour are down to now under two minutes,' he said."
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Symantec CEO Says Bad Service Fix Only Temporary

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  • by l33t.g33k (903780) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:25PM (#20094843) Homepage
    Dear customer, We apologize for the accidental good service. We promise we will make it bad again as soon as possible. Sincerely, Mr. Symantec
  • Uhhh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by orkim (238312) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:26PM (#20094857)
    Obviously he's not called the support line lately. I just spent 45 minutes on hold today for Veritas support.

    Though, nice marketing/support propaganda.
    • Damn straight.
      This morning he told you it wasn't sustainable, this afternoon he fired 90000 helldesk workers.
    • Re:Uhhh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:49PM (#20095073) Journal
      We bought a new tape drive a while back, and it stopped using hardware compression for some reason. I was fairly sure it was a Backup Exec problem, so I called support (this is around 4-6 weeks ago). 75 minutes on hold and the person who picked up literally did not know the software. At all. He kept looking things up and asking me to wait.

      Hang up after an hour and a half that's accomplished absolutely nothing. Call Quantum. On hold less than a minute. Guy picks up, I tell him what's going on, and even though it's not even his friggin software he gives me a few ideas to try. His second guess was right. 5 minutes on the phone and 10 minutes of testing, problem solved.

      We've dumped Symantec's virus protection because it was overly expensive, bloated, and slow. We dumped Brightmail, their anti spam service, because of the exact same reasons. Backup Exec will be on the way out in next year's budget.
      • Completely OT: What are you replacing Backup Exec with? All my testing[1] (except for tar and a BSD box) has given me Backup Exec as the lesser of all the evils. I'm known to be wrong on occasion, so maybe this is one of those, but I am curious.

        [1] Testing means I installed the software, ran a backup of a certain drive and looked at ease of use of said software, installation/stability, alerting etc. Not proper compression ratio's or security.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Nilatir (179045)
          Take a look at Commvault Galaxy. I've had results from it in both software and support.
          • by hmallett (531047)
            Commvault Galaxy is more of a NetBackup competitor - i.e. it's way more expensive than Backup Exec [backupexecfaq.com]. I believe there's now an Express version of Galaxy, but I don't know how it compares to Backup Exec.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by EvilNight (11001)
          I feel your pain, man. I've tested dozens of backup packages... so many I can't even remember them all... and in the end, Backup Exec, despite it's somewhat buggy behaviour from time to time, beat them all out in the end. That's the first time in a long time I thought I was using crap software, only to find out to my horror it was one of the best (best does not mean good).

          I found that by using carefully tailored versions of Samba, I could use Samba to replace BE's useless unix/linux clients (and it would be
          • by Yetihehe (971185)

            ...Proper disaster recovery is far too complex for any package to do it without problems.

            My other favorites were Bacula and BackupPC, both of which have some killer features, but are utterly lacking in the user friendly department...
            I think those two may be related somehow.
            • by EvilNight (11001)
              Directly. Most of the technically proficient packages tend to have garbage for user interfaces, while most of the newer, less technically superior ones have more intuitive GUIs. I want both, but since I can't get that, and in the real world people far less skilled than me must administer these systems from time to time, user friendliness is more important than technical prowess. The most user friendly packages I have seen are Backup Exec and Tivoli Storage Manager Express.
              • by jafac (1449)
                Personally, having worked in that industry (tape backup software) for 10 years, and seeing several really good products killed in mergers, if it were MY job to take care of a company's data protection, I would design each and every server (service, corporate application) so that it could be re-installed like an appliance - completely automated, either via scripted install, or images, with redundant standby boxes. (servers are best done by scripted installs). I would ensure that absolutely no persistent us
      • I take it was a Backup Exec problem afterall?
      • by jotok (728554)
        Sounds like you got dicked on the support contract...I suspect because whoever signed it considered your time cheap enough that it was worth it to just stick you on the phone queue. What you WANT is for them to throw in a consultant, even an on-demand one, because these are the guys who will roll in, fix your problem in about five minutes, and then treat you to lunch.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mindsuck (607395)

      I called a couple of weeks ago because VxVM decided to break for no particular reason at all and disable the 257 disks on the diskgroup. 20 minutes on the phone with the guy who opened up the case ticket, and then 15 minutes of terribly lame music until I got to a tech.

      And that's after saying "Yes, this is a production server and yes, there's a total outage."

    • I agree - out of IBM/Lenovo, Apple, HP, and Symantec (both sales and technical support) - Symantec had the worst support I had ever encountered.

      I work helpdesk at an IT consulting firm and I had to wait for 3 months (in addition to holding for at least 30 minutes each time I called them - 5 times, i think) for Symantec tech support to email me back about a problem I had with Ghost 10 and restoring a HP Compaq nc6400 notebook. Once the Ghost image was applied, the notebook didn't see the HD, Windows XP Pro S
      • by jotok (728554)
        You're an unusually empowered helpdesk jockey if you have the ability to choose solutions.
    • It's not so bad for us "big fish". We get a premium line to call where we get right through to a person. Sorry, just had to rub it in. :)
      • by klx (458077)
        Symantec support has been one of the worst things about my current job -- they had moved to NetBackup 6 disk staging just before I signed on, and while it's excellent in theory, the ride has been bumpy. Most of my prior work experience was at a MegaLargeTelco, so I had just assumed that I was getting a faceful of The Basic Support Experience -- that is, I have platinum-contract expectations and we can afford grudging-at-best base level support.

        This thread comes as something of a relief to me; perhaps basic
  • Great! (Score:4, Funny)

    by kpainter (901021) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:30PM (#20094897)
    Now, if they could just get a handle on that "crappy products" problem, they would be doing really well.
    • Meh - NetBackup (albeit a Veritas-made product) is fairly useful. Not as straightforward and flexible as Bacula, but still fairly useful.

      OTOH, their documentation layout and support doc search function... is fucking atrocious. I'd have an easier time trying to find a legal-aged virgin in New York City than in getting even the basic stuff to come up, and if I hadn't stumbled on their FTP server, I think I'd still be in there looking for Maintenance Packs.

      Urgh. If they desire to fix something that bad, th

  • by Kazrath (822492) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:36PM (#20094953)
    For anyone who has worked in a call center, Fast food, Or even a 7-11 wait times are not really under control of the site offering the service. You have ran into or experianced the instant explosion in customers wanting something all at once. Most people just through simple observation can see this but you really don't understand it until you work one of these types of jobs.

    In a call center you can staff appropriately and still have excessive wait times at random. I cannot count the number of times it has been dead all day long maybe 1 call an hour then for no apparent reason over the next two hours there are 1+ hour hold times. If you call in at random times during the day and have consistently 30 min - 1 hr hold times then I agree they need to get more headcount.

    Also, if most of you had any idea how many people call in wasting 10-20 minutes of a tech's time asking really stupid questions that can usually be found within the table of contents of the admin guide provided you probably wouldn't complain about hold times so much. Basically if the IT staff do their job and actually research & test before implimentation our hold times would be in half or non-existent.

    • You are right. Yet the randomly call for the last two months for 30 minute to 1 hour hold times have plagued our department. However, Symantec does not hold the record for being placed in the holding queue. The highest was nearly 3 hours.
    • by mosch (204) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:56PM (#20095145) Homepage
      People who run call centers have very good statistics available on the likelihood of various call volumes, and in an ideal world they staff accordingly, in a manner that's designed to meet minimum services levels X% of the time.

      Call center staffing is, quite literally, a textbook problem from operations management.

      This problem was the result of either a deliberate decision to provide inadequate service or gross incompetence. Either way, I wouldn't feel too good about Symantec if they were one of my vendors.
      • by PCM2 (4486)

        Either way, I wouldn't feel too good about Symantec if they were one of my vendors.

        Especially since Symantec seems to be saying that their band-aid was to overstaff so extravagantly that wait times are down to 2 minutes, without fixing any of the underlying problems. We'll see the impact of that on their next SEC filing, no doubt.

    • by KZigurs (638781)
      erlang queues?
    • I worked at a 7-11 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PCM2 (4486) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @08:09PM (#20095257) Homepage
      One time, a local TV station decided to air some cheesy old 3-D flick for the 8 O'Clock Movie in actual 3-D, using a new 3-D process for television. The station struck a deal with 7-11 to distribute the 3-D glasses. The catch? They would cost about 33 cents apiece.

      So here's me, Mr. 7-11 Guy in my orange smock, standing behind the counter. All of a sudden, at about 5pm, customers start filing into the store. It seems that just about everybody got a call at work at some point during the day, asking if mommy could pleeeeaaaasse go and get some of those 3-D glasses so everybody could watch the fun movie tonight. 33 cents was no big deal, so everybody did.

      The problem was, if they were free I could just toss them at people as they walked through the door. That's the way dumb promotions usually worked. But because they were 33 cents, every single customer that came into the store just for 3-D glasses had to wait in line at my register (I was the only employee on duty). Not to mention all the other people who came in for beer etc., just like usual.

      Well, I lost track at some point. But the following day my manager told me that, according to the register tapes, I spent the next three hours ringing up roughly one customer every thirty seconds.

      The thing is, a few people walked out. At times the line was as much as 12 people long, which is pretty long for a 7-11. But most of them didn't (as testified by the fact that I rang up so many of them). I kept my cool, cracked jokes, and pretty much nobody yelled at me. In fact, one guy even gave me a $5 tip on a 33 cent pair of 3-D glasses. And because people were waiting in line at 7-11, half of them grabbed a candy bar or a bag of chips or beer or something while they were waiting to get their glasses rung up, so it was a huge windfall for the store.

      My point? No, you can't control it when you get excessive wait times at random. But that doesn't mean you can't control your customer service.
      • by cez (539085)

        I kept my cool, cracked jokes, and pretty much nobody yelled at me. In fact, one guy even gave me a $5 tip on a 33 cent pair of 3-D glasses. And because people were waiting in line at 7-11, half of them grabbed a candy bar or a bag of chips or beer or something while they were waiting to get their glasses rung up, so it was a huge windfall for the store.

        P has a great point, and let me add...you can have a good marketing stunt without stooping to sleazy levels. Though they were lucky to have an employee su

        • by PCM2 (4486)

          Though they were lucky to have an employee such as you to facilitate smoothness, at least at that store.

          That's true, and in that sense maybe it was a bad example. Maybe management could have done more to ensure that there wouldn't have been a problem -- like having two registers running, just for a couple of hours. But at the very least you can credit them for having me work the shift, even if that was largely a coincidence. The crazy tweakers from the graveyard shift would never have been given a busy

    • Or my personal favorite: People who spend the first 20-25 minutes on the phone BITCHING ABOUT THE HOLD TIME. I worked for a subcontractor for AT&T when they went from @home to ATTBI. To say it was a nightmare is like calling the sun a tad bright. 4+ hour hold times, the phone system couldn't keep up and we were transferring people into the ether, where they would call back and then be on hold another yep, you guessed it, 4 hours. That was a month of my life I never want back. *shudders*

      My 2 cents,
      A.A
    • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Friday August 03, 2007 @12:00AM (#20097193)
      And it's usually your own fault it's so long. There are basic fixes, such as:

      * A meaningful message saying 'we're swamped, wait time is [whatever], the big problem right now is [whatever], our email and website are at [these locations]'

      * Actually connect customers with people who can address the problem. Wasting 45 minutes rebooting and tweaking the software before admitting that it's a kernel problem caused by your software and the only fix is to entirely uninstall it and wait for the next release is a tremendous waste of everyone's time, but it's happened with both Symantec and McAfee within the past year.

      * When a customer gives you the workaround or the fix, publish it to your staff quickly and put it in their flow charts. This has happened repeatedly, with both Symantec and McAfee, and numerous staff have wasted their expensive time for months going through the same problem and the same failures to fix it, then finally getting notified by their colleagues that the correct fix was on our internal web pages.

      * That 10-20 minutes of time you mention is usually wasted as the tech tries to shoe-horn the problem into a complex ritual of irrelevant problems before acknowledging the problem, when by listening to what the customer actually says they can leapfrog the flowchart to the actual problem.

      I've been that IT staff on various occasions. I do *not* consider Symantec's call center to be helpful, and it hasn't been since long before this recent incident. It's only good by comparison to McAfee.
  • Fixed what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by EmperorKagato (689705) * <sakamura@gmail.com> on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:36PM (#20094955) Homepage Journal
    OHH boy... let the karma burn!
    FROM TFA:

    "Wait times from their peak of well over an hour are down to now under two minutes. I think we have addressed it; if your readers say we haven't, then I'd like to hear that."
    We contact Symantec Enterprise Technical support(800 number ends in 6542). My co-worker was on hold for more than 1 hour. After dealing with Symantec for 2 hrs 34 minutes they came to the conclusion that there are still problems with SAV causing troubles with Explorer.exe after a successful login to the domain and have yet to provide us with a sound solution!

    Your Symantec Anti-Virus is still broken
    Your Symantec Veritas Backup Exec is broke
    Your customer service wait line is STILL too long.
    --

    I'm no Anonymous Coward!
    • by Pyrion (525584)
      ...and yet you still choose to do business with them?
      • ...and yet you still choose to do business with them?
        Because, "No one ever got fired for going with ".

        Stupid, yes. But then, that's the only reason novell is still in business.
      • Our parent company does so now we're stuck with them.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      OHH boy... let the karma burn!


      A Slashdot post predicting or implying the impending reduction of the poster's karma due to that post shall be moderated up to a degree such that the total karma gained from the post is the inverse of that which the poster predicted would be lost. I formally name this the Law of Reverse Slashdot Karma Prediction.
    • I'll tell you a good story about Symantec service. I had one version of their AV and I uninstalled it for the problems that it was causing so that I could reload it. Long story short not even their tools would get rid of it much less me going through every file and every registry entry to find it all so I couldn't reinstall the program. I turned their disc into a frisbee out my window and found something else. Now I use linux anyway but I still will never use a Symantec product again.
  • Its a hell of a lot better than the huge amount of copmpanies out there who have a problem and either ignore it or don't know about it.
  • Symantec, which acquired Veritas in July 2005, is running Oracle's E-Business Suite 11i applications on Sun Solaris servers. Using an Oracle Fusion Middleware portal on the front end, the new system was designed to provide a single point of contact for the combined company's customers and business partners, Thompson said. Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?com mand=viewArticleBasic&articleId=281856&intsrc=arti cle_more_bot [computerworld.com]
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      One company that makes horrible products themselves run software made by a company that makes horrible products.

      It all makes sense now.
    • Considering that ZFS (it's freeware) is about to eat Veritas Volume Manager's lunch. I would say it's high time to jump ship. Symantec has bloated everything they ever bought. re: Norton Utilities....

      Its a good time to be a Solaris Admin, and luckily for you Linux folk they finally got the licensing worked out. Oh, BTW, Apple too.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Every time I read something about how ZFS is going to fix everything it makes me cringe.

        I've been evaluating it on a test system to try and decide whether to put it in production and have found that it has quite a big impact on system performance and is substantially slower than UFS on lower end hardware particularly if the i/o load consists of lots of fairly small writes.

        I also think that the level of abstraction with ZFS is too great (a storage pool). Veritas Volume Manager has a lot of quirks but at leas

  • at the same time:
    1) message to existing customers: Sorry, we know. We are doing our best and we are honest about it.
    2) message to new prospects: We are humans, we try. Hard.

    Marvelous move. One of the best PR stunts of the decade, actually, I would say...
  • Screw Tech Support (Score:3, Informative)

    by dunezone (899268) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @07:58PM (#20095159) Journal
    How about you design an AV/Internet Security that uses less services, less resources, and doesn't attempt to take over every aspect of my system. Then I might consider using that product with my clients. Oh yeah, and stop designing your software to trash systems after the uninstall.

    On a lighter note, your uninstall tool is amazing A+++
    • by stinerman (812158)
      Agreed 100%.

      Uninstalling the "trial version" solves quite a few problems, at least those experienced by my family. Symantec AV slowed down their PC just as bad as any spyware would.

      In light of all these problems, I recommended OneCare to a client. It really hurt to recommend a Microsoft product to someone, but OneCare was a good fit. When their new desktop came in, the first thing I did was uninstall everything Symantec related and slapped OneCare on there. So far so good.
    • by quizzicus (891184)
      At least yours ran. After re-installing mine (I forget why), I could NOT convince it that it hadn't been pirated. Spent about a day with customer service and it still didn't work. Eventually, I decided to just eat my loss and go with Avast!.
      • You could always go with AVG free edition. It works the same as the pay edition (minus a few bells and whistles) and catches all the stuff the others catch.

        The only reason you might not go here is if you're running a business with that machine. Then you require a business license. Fair enough.

        This is what I push people towards when they have that crap 60 or 90 day version of nagware Norton or Mac-a-Fee. I get them hooked up with Firefox + plugins, Ad Aware, AVG antivirus free and other free/open apps. If pe
    • by RESPAWN (153636)
      One of my employees made a mistake of running the uninstall tool on the same computer on to which he had downloaded the latest install sources from our corporate repository in... well Timbuktu judging by the download speeds.

      The result? Yeah, the tool cleaned up Symantec AV off the server. It also deleted the new install source that he had just spent the last 30 minutes downloading. LOL. The tool is thorough if nothing else.
    • "On a lighter note, your uninstall tool is amazing A+++"

      The uninstall tool?

      Maybe I'm old fashioned, but in my day we simply made the uninstaller actually work.

      Symantec's home antivirus product is a nightmare. Once I remove Windows itself and intentionally hostile software from the list, my clients pay me more often to fix this antivirus product then any other single product. This has been true since the 2003 version.

      -Z
  • It's too bad the Symantec CEO didn't comment on what he plans to do with a suite of decade-old Veritas products that are harder to use, less capable, and more expensive than most hardware-based storage solutions available to the enterprise today.
    • by pete6677 (681676)
      He's going to do what Symantec does with every product they've ever bought: cash cow it!
    • by necrogram (675897)
      here's the best part... you talk to Veritas and their stuff's the shit. this isnt too far off froma sales pitch i got from one of their sales drones

      sales drone: with our storage management product, you can add more storage on demand...

      me: but my claiiron does that today, and its included

      drone: yeah, but our stuff takes minutes to do

      me: so does my clarii..

      drone: emc sucks! emc is evil!

      my local drug dealer isnt as much of a pushy, pompous ass!
  • What are considered the best corporate alternatives to Symantec's two largest products?

    1. Symantec Corporate Antivirus

    2. Backup Exec?

    I'd love to free myself of this company and their insane licensing process and terrible support... but it is really all I have ever known. What other products do what they do at least as good as they do it?

    • Mcafee does similar, but better stuff in anti-virus and I beleive they have backup software too, I haven't tried the backup stuff myself though
    • by banbeans (122547)
      CA
      There is no good backup software they all suck in one way or another.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kalriath (849904)
        Absolutely NOT. We recently had our network affected by a (man in the middle attack) virus which potentially stole lots of very sensitive stuff. CA eTrust couldn't find the blasted thing, but that's because CA was too damn lazy to update their definitions with it. Other antivirus software knew about it two months ago.

        I repeat... DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE CA - IT IS UTTER CRAP.
      • by rcw-home (122017)

        I evaluated Arcserve about a year and a half ago, using a leftover tape drive. I started a backup on it and then left for the night. When I got around to checking it a couple days later, the system was extremely unresponsive. "My Computer" would take minutes to open and you just couldn't open C: through Explorer no matter how patient you were.

        After letting "dir" run over the weekend, my suspicions were confirmed. Arcserve had created 700,000 temp files in the root of C:. Each one was a small text file as

    • 1. Trend Micro's OfficeScan -- http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ [trendmicro.com] 2. ArcServ -- http://ca.com/us/products/product.aspx?ID=4536 [ca.com] Trend has done some great work: 1. Sponsor HiJackThis 2. OfficeScan uses less resources than SAV(.exe(Trend) vs Rtvscan.exe(Symantec); .exe wins!) We used to use both of these products.
    • 1. Barracuda Networks spam/virus filter/firewall. http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/products/spam_ overview.php [barracudanetworks.com] 2. StoreVault or NetApp filer for data backup. Put a FC or iSCSI HBA in the server, and you can also boot from a LUN on the filer that can be replicated and snapshotted too.
    • by swb (14022)
      1) Take your pick. SCA isn't that good. How about Kaspersky?

      2) Arcserve or NTBackup. If you only ever expect to do DR, NTBackup. It's basically a Veritas engine and the scheduler works; with the savings you can buy some trick SAN and avoid doing many restores anyway.
    • 1) http://www.avast.com/ [avast.com]
      2) http://www.acronis.com/ [acronis.com]
    • Replace all corporate file servers with real file servres. (NetApps, Linux boxes, Solaris with ZFS, Samba, whatever fits your budget and needs.)

      Run ClamAV on them.

      Desktops are expendable and should be re-installed once a month: all work goes on the file servers.

      Backup is not an anti-virus issue, use what fits your needs for that. Veritas is overwhelmingly complex and overpowered due to running on PC's. Throw it out and use something that actually backs up the file systems.
    • by mr_sparc (1036588)
      1 McAfee 2 Netbackup Both are used by the corp I work for. Backup Exec was a product bought by Veritas, they did not create it. Netbackup is the corporate product of choice.
  • Customers won't be much happier if they don't have to wait as long to talk to someone that can barely walk them through the normal support tree. I'd rather wait longer to talk to someone that can actually help me, assuming that I can't get the ideal short wait AND someone that's knowledgable all in one go.
  • What??! You didn't know Symantec had a company song?

    Well, here it is [ranum.com] in its full awfulness. And no, this is NOT a parody...

    - Robin
  • by PhiberOptix (182584) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @09:46PM (#20096159)
    at the place where I work weve been using backup exec for a long time in all of our servers worldwide.. While thankfully Ive only had a few problems with backup exec, they were usually solved relatively well by Veritas. When symantec bought veritas I knew that wasnt a good sign. Luckily i didnt had to call them until this week...
    I wanted to upgrade a few licenses, so our local support had to forward me to US, for licensing support. I was then transfered to another tech support center in the US, and while everyone that I spoke with (about 6 persons) were very polite, NONE of them would send me to the right place. It felt like I was in a loop, always being asked the same questions, then the person would say, -oh, you need licensing support, hold a moment while i transfer you. If it was 1st of april that might have been mildly amusing, but cmon. I had to hang up and call the people that sold me the software to get the license thru other channels...
  • If they didn't have such a poor product then they probably wouldn't get so many support calls. We have been using Symantec at work for years and with each version their AV has continued to get worse. I could really go on a rant about all the problems with their software, but I'll spare the long post. We are making the change to Trend Micro soon. Almost every side job that I do for people that complain about performance problems has had a Symantec product on their machine. One of the first things I do i
  • by LazloToth (623604) on Thursday August 02, 2007 @10:01PM (#20096283)
    I've been with Backup Exec since the early NT4 days. I can tell you that Veritas support wasn't all that slick back then. The thing is, the software works. It takes some tweaking, but the scope of options is impressive. It's not cheap. Back before people knew that running Norton Antivirus client on MS Exchange would completely hose the database, I had to do bare-metal restores from Backup Exec tapes, and the product never let me down. Now that Symantec has taken over, phone support is phenomenally pathetic, but the product is still very capable. If you're doing backup-to-disk-to-tape using libraries, BE 11d is a peach. The Linux client works quite well. Bottom line: you hope the product doesn't malfunction, requiring you to go beyond the online knowledge base. Symantec has too many products and nowhere near enough trained support. I'm willing to bet the product line will slim down eventually, and the support crew will grow to nearly-appropriate levels.
    • by hmallett (531047)
      I'd pretty much agree. Backup Exec [backupexecfaq.com] mostly works. Yes, there are some problems with some parts of it, but many of the problems stem from the Administrator's Guide being over 1600 pages, and people not reading it.
      I've had issues with it (particularly with 10d), but since 11d came out, they appear to have been resolved. I did give up with support though, and it took 6 months and an intervention from a Symantec Product Manager to get the license upgrade keys.
      While their support forum isn't perfect, at least i
  • Then I'm able to optimize the human capital because I can train a storage administrator once on my software and he or she can manage a device from EMC, a device from NetApp, a device from Hitachi, a device from Dell, a device from HP -- you pick it -- because they now have a common interface and a common set of tools across all those disparate operating environments

    Is it just me or hasn't this been done? SNMP [wikipedia.org] Yawn.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday August 03, 2007 @12:24AM (#20097315)
    As I understand it, Veritas used to be a kick-ass company and the one to turn to for enterprise backup solutions. My company bought BackupExec 10d and it's been pretty much a nightmare to deal with. As I understand it, after Veritas was bought out the knowledgeable programmers were chucked and everything was outsourced to the Indians. Certainly the tech support has been. We have an Exabyte 10 tape robotic drive to use with the thing and it's not been pretty. BackupExec will forget which tapes are in the drive, cannot rediscover them, jobs will end with "unspecified failure" and no clue on how to troubleshoot, backup jobs will change lengths at random and for no discernable reason, etc. When you get right down to it, the worst thing about the software is I don't feel like I can rely on it. If it was my sole form of backup, I'd feel like I was one software hiccup away from disaster. So I'm running it because management paid for it and they want to make sure their investment is being used but I'm running duplicate backups on external HDD's with robocopy. It just seems more reliable and dependable.

    So, here's the question: am I not giving 10d a break, is it really a good product here, or am I completely right and should be fleeing in horror from it? I hear that version 11 is an even bigger nightmare, more indianized.
    • I'm running Backup Exec v9.x and it is rock solid, unless you want more than backup from an advanced agent for exchange (individual email level) a SQL agent (grabs SQL whole - not so advanced and I don't use it cause it's too expensive) and a fairly decent SMB agent (which I use). The new vulnerability every day sucks hard so I protect it like a bubble boy (No Internet access whatsoever). I would appreciate anyone recommending a better product that has MS compatible agents with granular control. Anyone?
    • Tape is dead. Seriously. Backing up direct to tape requires long backup windows, good network performance, constant purchase of new tapes, and expensive Backup Exec licenses, and even if you can get the latter to work, restoring from tape at best takes an hour--if the tapes you need are on site. Making tape backup work requires staging to disk with snapshots--and once you make that investment, you might as well use it as your primary backup and take advantage of replication, cloning, and other features t
      • Tape is dead. Seriously. Backing up direct to tape requires long backup windows, good network performance, constant purchase of new tapes, and expensive Backup Exec licenses, and even if you can get the latter to work, restoring from tape at best takes an hour--if the tapes you need are on site. Making tape backup work requires staging to disk with snapshots--and once you make that investment, you might as well use it as your primary backup and take advantage of replication, cloning, and other features that the disk filer probably has. Tape is useful only for last-ditch offsite data storage or vaulting, and even then it's still a security risk.

        That's the conclusion I've reached as well. I've never gotten tape to work right anywhere. I wasn't sure if the problem was me or tape. The best solution I've seen for offsite storage is to just run the backups over the internet. My company has two main offices. The multiple satellite offices all connect via terminal services, no problem. But the second main office has a lot of data sitting on local servers and nobody out there geekful enough to manage a tape backup. Since that office is connected over our

  • Here's what I don't understand with these call center twerps. Ok, so the wait time is going to be a while. Why not take the customer's contact number, stick it in the queue, and hang up? Then after an hour when it's their turn, the system calls them back. Once it confirms a connection is made with a live person, the next tech up gets the call. They do it with telemarketing, Bellsouth does it (or did it) with residential service, why can't the rest of the world get on the same page? I mean, what does the lon
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As someone who works in a call center, you can have a system that automates this process. All you have to do is choose to buy/implement the feature.

      Our average wait time is ~ 2 minutes, I've only ever seen a customer wait 20 minutes for support, and generally after 5-15 most choose the callback option, and leave us a (semi) detailed message and a number to call them back at.

      It works wonders for the techs who can take a bit of time to wrap up an issue before calling the customer back right away, which give
  • by RESPAWN (153636) <(ten.inmulaenalut) (ta) (llewdlac)> on Friday August 03, 2007 @01:01AM (#20097537) Homepage Journal
    OK so wait times are down, but has the service actually improved?

    In the past couple of months, I've had a couple of occasions to deal with them for BackupExec issues and came away none too pleased.

    First situation: I spent 4 - 5 hours with support attempting to troubleshoot an issue over the course of an 11.5 hour day. In the end, BE support couldn't solve my problem and the only solution was a full uninstall and reinstall. Of Windows. Still not sure what happened to break the software. We'd performed the same task on this very server several times (rename server, run BE database conversion utility, connect drives and get to work), but this time the software blew up to the point where only a clean format and reinstall of Server 2K3 solved the issue. I gave up with their "support" when their "clean" reinstall of BE didn't solve the problem.

    Scenario two: Apparently I didn't get enough punishment before. Call BE support for a new issue on the same server a couple of days (4 or 5) later. (Restoring data from before the format.) Get a new tech who flat REFUSES to help me until I download and install the latest version. I begin the download, but since our bandwidth is approximately equivalent to a pair of shotgunned 56k modems, I immediately deduce that the 500+MB software won't finish downloading anytime before the end of the work day. I call back and explain that the server has been down for 5 days already due to their inability to solve my issue before and now their "solution", which may or may not work, will cause another day of downtime. I ask that we skip that first step and try some other troubleshooting in the meantime. The tech's response: "nope". He wouldn't help me at all so off I went on my own... ...which is what I should have done anyway, but I was mentally drained and at my wit's end with this whole debacle so I decided to call the "experts" hoping they might be able to at least point me in the right direction. For the record, I eventually determined that the problem was due to bad LTO media. The tape verified fine after the backup, but there was a section with about 1.5 GB of data that the drive just couldn't read from for whatever reason. I've never had a tape fail like that (usually an all-or-nothing failure), but I was able to just restore around the bad section and retrieve the other 1.5 GB from a previous backup. Still, it would have been nice if the people who actually deal with BE problems every day could have suggested that possibility to me. Or any possibilities other than "upgrade first".

    Is it too much to ask that a person supporting a piece of software actually be more capable than I?
  • Well, I Didn't read the article, but I'd still like to put out my two cents on the Symantec service.
    Recently, I've had to contact Symantec on several occasions to ask for their assistance with some problems I couldn't figure out on my own (I support small business customers). Anyway, on every occasion, I was put through within a reasonable timeframe (usually less than 20 minutes) to someone who was able to help me sort out the problem.
    On one occasion, even after the problem was fixed, the technician who hel
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Friday August 03, 2007 @06:22AM (#20098929) Homepage
    Sure, telephone wait times might be down to two minutes, but it still takes about an hour for Norton AV to actually DO anything
  • Symantec Enterprise Services in the UK is shite! In order for me to raise a support ticket a 450 server enterpise Netbackup kit going down, so no backups for 24 hours, I was told on the phone by the support rep that I would have to put an email to enterpise support with my problem and someone might be able to pick it up within 3-4 hours! I asked why the hell I could raise the ticket through the website like I used to be able to with Veritas, they said the system were being consolidated and that wouldn't be
  • What blows my mind is that everytime I call Symantec for Backup Exec support (which I all the freakin' time) the wait times are always excessive. A major issue, which is supposed to have an 8 hr call return time is more often than not, is 3 days of waiting. Good news is that once you get ahold of someone, they own the case and help until its closed. Before the buyout, a Veritas tech was readily available. Symantec management has failed poorly if you ask me.

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