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Veritas Backup Exec 22 review: Complete protection for physical and virtual environment

An easy choice for SMBs that want total on-premises data protection with good Microsoft 365 support

The Veritas Backup exc console
£616 per year, exc VAT
  • Quick installation
  • Slick authentication process
  • Lots of backup options

Backup Exec is a great on-premises data protection solution for SMBs, combining extreme ease of use with a wealth of backup and restore services. Backup Exec 22 (BE22) adds even more appeal as it introduces a raft of new features and Veritas' BE Simple pricing structure.

Microsoft 365 (MS365) support allows BE22 to protect Exchange Online and OneDrive user data (SharePoint and Teams will be added soon), and Windows Server 2022 is supported as a host and client. BE22 uses a 64-bit SQL Express database for improved host performance, while ransomware protection gets a boost as it can now back up data to Amazon S3 buckets with Object Lock enabled.

The Bronze, Silver and Gold options have been replaced with a Simple Core Pack yearly subscription service, which does away with any backup capacity restrictions. It's based purely on compute instances, which can be a physical system, a virtual machine or ten MS365 users, and you can quickly increase the count by purchasing extra Simple AddOn packs.

Installation is a breeze. We loaded BE22 on a Windows Server 2019 host in 20 minutes and used its console to deploy agents to our physical servers in the lab. Adding our Hyper-V host was equally simple; after declaring it to BE22, a remote agent was pushed out automatically, while for our VMware vSphere host we only had to provide its IP address and credentials. Veritas receives tumultuous applause for its slick MS365 authentication process – it's one of the easiest we've yet seen. To add a tenant, all we had to do was copy the unique device code generated by BE22 and enter it using the link it provided for our account – simple.

Vertias Backup Exc user interface

MS365 backups require a deduplicating store, which we quickly created on our BE22 host using the storage wizard. It's possible to protect both Exchange Online and OneDrive with one job, and you can choose all or selected users, groups and public folders and decide whether to secure users' mailboxes, archive mailboxes and OneDrive data.

Recovery doesn't get any harder, either: we chose Exchange Online from the wizard, browsed recovery points, selected items and could restore them back to their original location or another user's account. Likewise for OneDrive, where we chose files from the list presented and restored them in seconds.

To protect our physical systems we used the BE22 wizard to select sources and choose a predefined strategy from its menu. These include backup to disk or cloud, and you can add multiple stages for local and offsite backup, migration to tape drives and replication to other disk stores.

There's plenty of choice for backup storage; BE22 supports physical and virtual disks, cloud, tape, deduplicating stores and network shares. We used a large-capacity NAS share on our Synology DS1621+ appliance and presented it to BE22 using its UNC path.

Data restoration is another winner. We could view files, folders and volumes on selected sources, pick a recovery point and decide where to send them. There are lots more choices, as Instant VM Recovery uses an existing backup to create a new VM on the same host, Microsoft Azure Site Recovery services replicate VMs to the cloud for super-fast recovery and BE22 offers to create a disaster recovery disk for bare-metal system restores.

Backup Exec 22 is a well-rounded data-protection solution offering complete protection for physical and virtual environments plus a wealth of recovery services. It's easy to manage, integration with MS365 is seamless and the new BE Simple licensing options make it particularly appealing to SMBs.

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