Virtualized Exchange Servers in Distributed Configurations
As previously described, Backup Exec supports modern image-level (“agentless”) protection of VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines, including virtual machines hosting applications such as Exchange. It’s important to note that Backup Exec does not currently support image-level backups of virtualized Exchange servers in a distributed configuration. Only virtual standalone Exchange servers are supported for image-level backup and granular recovery.
In order to achieve granular recovery support of virtualized Exchange servers in a distributed configuration, such as an Exchange 2010 Database Availability Group (DAG), the virtual machines must be protected using agent-based backups, which essentially treats each virtual machine as if it were a standalone, physical system.
Note: Backup Exec does not support granular recovery of Exchange 2013 mailbox objects. This functionality is planned for a later release of Backup Exec.
Protection of Physical Exchange Servers
For physical Exchange servers, the Agent for Windows is installed locally to the Exchange server. The Agent for Windows interacts with the physical Exchange server to prepare the Exchange databases for backup and to transmit backup data to the Backup Exec server over the NDMP protocol.
Backup of Physical Exchange Servers
VSS Integration and Physical Exchange Servers
Backups of physical Exchange servers that are captured by the Agent for Windows are snapshot backups performed using Microsoft’s VSS Writers (the only exception is Exchange 2003, which does not have a VSS writer). In most cases, Backup Exec uses a VSS full backup, which ensures that Exchange is placed into a consistent state at the time of backup and also truncates transaction logs, a key element of maintaining a healthy database application over time.
The Agent for Windows can only protect Exchange components of a server after the Agent for Applications and Databases has been licensed within Backup Exec.
Granular Application Recovery of Physical Exchange Servers
In addition to preparing physical Exchange servers for backup and transmitting Exchange backup data to the Backup Exec server for storage, the Agent for Windows also plays a key role during Exchange recovery. For example, the presence of the Agent for Windows locally installed to a physical Exchange server enables the Backup Exec server to directly transmit and restore granular Exchange objects back to the production Exchange environment of an organization.
Offhost Backups of Physical Exchange Servers
Backup Exec also supports offhost backups of physical Exchange servers. Offhost backups help alleviate the processing overhead of backup operations from the physical Exchange server and transfer them to the Backup Exec server.
For more information on Backup Exec and configuring offhost backups of physical Exchange servers, refer to the Backup Exec Administrator’s Guide and the following technote: http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO12231.
Granular Application Recovery of Exchange Virtual Machines
To enhance Backup Exec’s virtual machine protection and recovery capabilities, particularly when the virtual machine is hosting Exchange, the Agent for Windows should be installed into the guest virtual machine itself. In this configuration, Backup Exec can still capture snapshot-based, image-level backups of the destination virtual machine, but can then also offer dynamic application discovery capabilities and granular recovery of Exchange application components, all from a single-pass backup. In other words, even with the Agent for Windows installed to the virtual machine, the backup process remains what is known in the industry as an “agentless” backup; the presence of the Agent for Windows within the virtual machine simply allows for application metadata capture and granular recovery of application objects directly back to the original virtual machine.
Agent for Windows Enables Granular Recovery of Virtualized Exchange Servers
While Backup Exec fully supports protecting virtualized Exchange servers without installing the Agent for Windows to the virtual machine, recovery options are limited in this configuration. When the Agent for Windows is not present on the Exchange virtual machine, Backup Exec has no direct knowledge of Exchange being present on the virtual machine, and recovery options are limited to full virtual machine recovery and file/folder recovery.
Application-specific recovery features are only available when the Agent for Windows is installed to the Exchange virtual machine, which allows Backup Exec to discover the Exchange application and capture the Exchange metadata needed to enable application-specific recovery features.
VSS Integration and Virtualized Exchange Servers
When protecting virtualized Exchange servers, Backup Exec utilizes Microsoft’s VSS service to prepare the Exchange virtual machine for backup and truncation of Exchange transaction logs. For VMware environments, these VSS calls are made to the Agent for Windows on the Exchange virtual machine through interactions with the vStorage API, and involves the VSS writer on the virtual machine. The VSS writer will be either the VSS writer included with VMware Tools, or the Backup Exec VSS writer that is installed with the Agent for Windows. For Hyper-V environments, a similar process happens through interactions with the Hyper-V host via the local Agent for Windows agent installed to the Hyper-V host. The VSS writer that is used to prepare the virtual machine for backup will be either the VSS writer installed to the virtual machine along with Hyper-V Integration Services, or the Backup Exec VSS writer that is installed with the Agent for Windows.
With either VMware or Hyper-V environments, Backup Exec invokes a virtual machine-level VSS full backup, which prepares Exchange for the virtual machine snapshot event and truncates Exchange transaction logs. If the Agent for Windows is installed to the Exchange virtual machine, the VSS backup method can be changed to a VSS copy, which will not truncate log files.
For more information, refer to the following technote: http://www.symantec.com/docs/HOWTO74082.
Uniquely Named Mailbox
To enable key features related to the protection and recovery of Exchange servers, such as granular recovery of Exchange objects, Backup Exec must have access to a uniquely named mailbox within the Exchange infrastructure. Access to this mailbox enables Backup Exec to interact with Exchange and important components within the Exchange Information Store. In order to enable granular recovery of Exchange objects, you must use the appropriate Exchange Server management utility to assign the user account to the Exchange Organization Administrators role (Exchange 2007) or the Exchange Organization Management role (Exchange 2010/2013).
The uniquely named mailbox cannot be hidden in the Exchange Global Address List.
For more information about this mailbox and associated requirements, refer to the Backup Exec Administrator’s Guide or the following technote:
- Ensuring Exchange mailbox name is unique http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH24691.
Exchange Management Tools
You must install the Exchange Management Tools on the Backup Exec server. The management tools on the Backup Exec server must be the same version or later as the management tools that are on the Exchange Server. For more information about installing the Exchange Management Tools, refer to your Microsoft Exchange documentation.
Protection of Virtualized Exchange Servers
For virtualized Exchange servers, Backup Exec interacts with the Exchange server through the virtual host, either through software APIs provided by the virtual infrastructure (VMware), or through the Agent for Windows installed to the virtual host (Hyper-V). For virtualized Exchange servers, Backup Exec fully supports what is generally known as “agentless” backup, both for VMware as well as Hyper-V environments.
Backup of Virtualized Exchange Servers
For additional information on requirements for protecting Exchange environments using Backup Exec, refer to the Backup Exec Administrator’s Guide and the following technotes:
- General Exchange protection requirements: http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=HOWTO24128
- Exchange granular recovery requirements: http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH51740
Note: “Licensing Backup Exec in Exchange Environments” provides more information about the Agent for Applications and Databases licensing.
Exchange Protection Methods and Technology
Backup Exec employs modern, highly advanced, and scalable technology to protect and recover Microsoft Exchange systems. While very easy-to-use, these sophisticated technologies ensure that Microsoft Exchange remains properly protected and ready for recovery events, allowing customers and partners to sleep easy at night, knowing they are prepared to handle any disaster that may befall their Exchange infrastructure.
Supported Exchange Versions
Backup Exec supports all major versions of Microsoft Exchange, including Exchange 2003/2007/2010/2013. Please note that for Exchange 2010/2013 systems, the Backup Exec server must be hosted on 64-bit hardware. For a complete list of supported software platforms and applications, please refer to the Backup Exec Software Compatibility List (SCL): http://entsupport.symantec.com/umi/V-269-1.
Components Used to Protect Exchange
The Backup Exec Server
The primary component used to protect and recover Microsoft Exchange is the Backup Exec server. The Backup Exec server interacts with the Exchange system to prepare the system for backup, to capture backup data selections, to store backup sets to the target storage device, and to perform recovery operations.
The Agent for Windows
For physical Exchange servers, the Backup Exec Agent for Windows is installed to the physical Exchange servers to identify, capture, and transmit Exchange backup data to the Backup Exec server for storage. For Exchange 2007 and later (Exchange 2003 does not have a VSS writer), Exchange backup data is captured through VSS snapshots and transmitted by the Agent for Windows to the Backup Exec server over the NDMP protocol, using a secure (TSL/SSL) and trusted connection.
For virtualized Exchange servers on the VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V platforms, the virtual machines hosting Exchange are protected using image-level backups through snapshot interactions with the virtual host. In these virtualized configurations, the Agent for Windows can be installed on the Exchange virtual machine to enable application discovery and metadata collection, allowing for granular application recovery features for virtualized Exchange servers. Protection of virtualized Exchange servers without the Agent for Windows installed is also supported, but virtual recovery options are limited to full virtual machine recovery and file/folder recovery.
Additional information on the differences in how Backup Exec can be used to protect physical and virtualized Exchange servers is provided in “The Agent for Applications and Databases.”
The Agent for Applications and Databases
When protecting either physical or virtualized Exchange servers with Backup Exec, a license for the Agent for Applications and Database is required before Backup Exec can perform backup and recovery operations of Exchange application data.
Enabling the Agent for Applications and Databases
Whether the Agent for Applications and Databases license is included or purchased separately depends on the Backup Exec version that is being used. For example, the standard Backup Exec 2012 product allows customers to pick and choose the different agents and options they need to protect their environment, while the Backup Exec 3600 Appliance includes unlimited use of the Agent for Applications and Databases in its core license.
It’s important to note that the Agent for Applications and Databases does not represent a true software agent that needs to be pushed or installed to a physical Exchange server in order to protect it; the license simply unlocks the ability for Backup Exec to interact with and protect Exchange components. The Agent for Applications and Databases also enables the use of Backup Exec’s VFF driver, which is used for advanced granular recovery operations.
We have become a species of information addicts – the “information explosion” is affecting the everyday lives of office workers. What is crystal clear is that we are all suffering from a 21st century ailment – Information Overload – and it is taking over our personal lives, working lives, and our businesses.
Businesses need to protect a broad range of information, generated in a plethora of ways, through multiple applications used by billions of individuals around the world. Organisations not only need to protect their information and IT infrastructure, but need to be aware of how the infrastructure facilitates the sharing and use of the information used by the organisation between, not just connections among colleagues, but linking businesses, from businesses to consumers, as well as between consumers themselves. In other words, all the collaborative environments, and the movement of data while in use.
Accessing work information out of hours, compulsively checking emails, texts and social media and hoarding endless emails and multiple versions of the same file are all symptoms of information overload. But the technology enabling us to be more productive (fantastic mobile devices and faster connectivity) together with the mismanagement of information is actually counter-productive.
Email is Business Critical
Email has become an indispensable way of communicating and transferring data in the modern electronic age. In the year 2010, it was estimated that almost 300 billion emails were sent each day, and around 90 trillion emails were sent every year. Considering the rate at which data continues to increase year-over-year, the number of emails sent today is likely significantly greater. Email is used for many forms of communication, including business critical communications for companies of all sizes.
Companies rely heavily upon email systems to conduct day-to-day business operations, and any significant period where access to email is lost is considered to be highly intolerable.
All email solutions used by modern businesses are based upon a server infrastructure hosting an email software system. Whether hosted locally on physical or virtualized servers, hosted by a partner, or hosted in the cloud, these email software systems support the incredible amount of email transmissions that happen every day, and can be implemented in many different sizes and configurations. Perhaps the most common and popular email system used in the industry today is Microsoft Exchange.
Because Microsoft Exchange plays such a critical role in the ability for organizations to conduct day-to-day business, it’s equally critical that companies employ protection solutions that enable them to quickly and easily recover their Exchange system should a data loss or disaster event occur. Backup and recovery solutions of the highest value will offer features that enable the following:
- Functionality designed specifically for Microsoft Exchange
- Protection of Exchange while it remains online and functional
- Ability to protect physical Exchange servers as well as virtualized Exchange systems
- Support for highly available Exchange configurations
- Adherence to Microsoft best practices for Exchange backup and recovery
- Optimization of secondary (backup) storage using data deduplication technology
- Support for local as well as offsite storage of backup data
- Multiple levels of recovery from a single-pass backup
Symantec Backup Exec
For many years, the Symantec Backup Exec product family has offered market-leading solutions for the protection of Microsoft Exchange, and solves each of the key problems mentioned above. The Agent for Applications and Databases offers purpose-built functionality to ensure Microsoft Exchange is properly protected against disaster and to help partners and customers quickly and easily perform any level of Exchange recovery, whether it’s bare metal recovery of a physical Exchange server, granular recovery of an individual Exchange email, or anything in between.
Key benefits of Backup Exec include the ability to:
- Reduce business downtime
- Eliminate complexity
- Spend less time managing backups
- Ensure critical information on virtual or physical systems is always protected
- Restore data in seconds
- Reduce storage and management costs
- Optimise network utilisation
- Eliminate redundant additional backup jobs
- Provide granular recovery of data for applications and databases
Data Deduplication and Virtual Machine Backups
The Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Agent for VMware and Hyper-V enables optimised, image-level backups of both VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines. This is accomplished by capturing backups through communication with the VMware or Hyper-V virtual host. However, deduplication recommendations differ between VMware and Hyper-V environments being protected by Backup Exec 2012 SP2.
Deduplication of Image-level VMware Backups
While it is possible to utilise client-side deduplication when protecting VMware virtual machines, this configuration requires that backups be processed by locally installed agents within the virtual machines themselves (either the Agent for Windows or the Agent for Linux). This configuration bypasses the optimised, image-level backup capabilities of the Agent for VMware and Hyper-V in VMware environments that take advantage of Backup Exec’s advanced integration with the VMware vStorage API. For this reason, using client-side deduplication in VMware environments is generally not recommended. Backup Exec server-side deduplication is optimal.
Backup Exec Server-side Deduplication of VMware Image-level Backups
Deduplication of Image-level Hyper-V Backups
Client-side deduplication can be used when capturing image-level backups of Hyper-V virtual machines using the Agent for VMware and the Agent for Microsoft Hyper-V. In this configuration, optimised, image-level backups of virtual machines are captured and deduplicated through the Backup Exec Agent for Windows installed locally to the Hyper-V host. It is not necessary to install an individual agent into each Hyper-V virtual machine in order to realise client-side deduplication in Hyper-V environments.
Client-side Deduplication of Hyper-V Image-level Backups
VMDK and VHD Stream Handlers
Backup Exec 2012 SP2 includes stream handler technology designed specifically for image-level backups of VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines captured through the Agent for VMware and Agent for Microsoft Hyper-V. The stream handler technology within Backup Exec operates invisibly, meaning no additional management or configuration adjustments are required on the part of the administrator.
The stream handler technology within Backup Exec applies to both client-side and Backup Exec server-side deduplication. The stream handlers enable variable-length segmenting of VMware (VMDK) and Hyper-V (VHD) disk files during deduplication calculations. This aligns deduplication blocks to file extent boundaries within the virtual disk, and data changes over time within virtual disk files result in fewer unique blocks. This translates into better storage savings across both VMware and Hyper-V backups when using the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Agent for VMware and Agent for Microsoft Hyper-V in conjunction with the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Deduplication Option.
Combining the Agent for VMware and the Agent for Microsoft Hyper-V with the Deduplication Option can offer significant storage savings for Backup Exec administrators, allowing them to reduce storage costs by getting the most out of the backup storage resources at their disposal.
Additional information on the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Agent for VMware and the Agent for Microsoft Hyper-V can be found in the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Agent for VMware and Hyper-V Technical Feature Brief, and in the Backup Exec 2012 Administrator’s Guide and the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Administrator’s Guide Addendum.
Data Deduplication and Storing Backups to Tape
An environment with a disk-to-disk-to-tape architecture is fairly common among customers who are interested in deduplication. It’s important to note that all of the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 methods of deduplication mentioned here are disk-based; deduplicated data is never stored directly to tape in its deduplicated form. However, the process of migrating deduplicated data to tape is very simple. Customers simply add an additional stage to their backup workflow that sends the data to tape storage.
Data Deduplication and Storing Backups to Tape
For data that was backed up using client-side or Backup Exec server-side deduplication, the Backup Exec server is responsible for “rehydrating” the deduplicated data – meaning the process of recreating whole files from deduplicated blocks – before transferring the data to tape. There will be some impact to processor and memory usage during the tape stage of the backup workflow due to the rehydration process. While resource consumption varies based on data set, at most the tape stage of the backup workflow will use 100% of one processor core while rehydrating deduplicated data and copying it to tape.
For data that was backed up to a deduplication appliance, the deduplication appliance itself is responsible for “rehydrating” the deduplicated data prior to it being sent to tape.
Backup Exec Server-side Deduplication
Do you have VMware ESX or vSphere servers with high average processor utilization? If so, the Backup Exec server-side deduplication method can be a useful and effective deduplication solution for these environments. This method of deduplication is performed entirely on the Backup Exec server and does not impact source systems any more than a typical backup would.
The Backup Exec server-side deduplication method performs the deduplication processes against data when it arrives at the Backup Exec server – that is, just before the data is laid down on disk. Data is transmitted in its whole, un-deduplicated form, and then decomposed into deduplication blocks in-line by the Backup Exec server. Only the unique data blocks (that is, the data that the deduplication disk storage device doesn’t yet contain) are stored.
Figure 4: Backup Exec Server-side Deduplication
The Backup Exec server-side deduplication method is optimal for situations where:
• High Processor Utilization on Remote Servers
If the remote system has no processor cycles to spare for deduplication calculations, Backup Exec server deduplication can take the load and still perform deduplication.
• VMware Environments
When using the Agent for VMware and Hyper-V to capture image-level backups of VMware virtual machines, Backup Exec server-side deduplication must be used.
Backup Exec server-side deduplication is not recommended for the following environments:
• Remote Office Protection Over a WAN
With Backup Exec server-side deduplication, the Backup Exec server receives the entire data set before deduplication takes place. This is not a WAN-friendly method of deduplication. Generally, remote office protection without local storage should use client-side deduplication.
Any Backup Exec server that has the Deduplication Option licensed can utilize the Backup Exec server-side deduplication method. Most agents and backup types supported by Backup Exec can take advantage of the space savings inherent with Backup Exec server-side deduplication.
Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Agent Backup Exec Server-side Deduplication Support
Agent for Windows Yes
Agent for Linux Yes
Agent for Mac Yes
Agent for Applications and Databases Yes
Agent for VMware and Hyper-V (VMware) Yes
Agent for VMware and Hyper-V (Hyper-V) Yes
Some Backup Exec customer environments have an existing investment in deduplication-enabled appliances for onsite backup, offsite storage (disaster recovery), and remote office protection. The appliance deduplication method is an excellent fit for these environments.
The appliance deduplication method uses Symantec’s OpenStorage (OST) technology in conjunction with both a 3rd-party deduplication appliance and a manufacturer-developed OST plug-in. Together, these components enable the following:
• Intelligent Replication Tracking
Many 3rd party deduplication appliances include a replication feature enabling data to be efficiently copied from one device to another downstream device. When backup data is transferred by a Backup Exec server to a deduplication appliance through the OST plug-in, the Backup Exec server is able to track when data is replicated to additional appliances. This allows the Backup Exec server to be able to restore data from both the original deduplication appliance or from any of the additional appliance replication destinations.
Appliance deduplication requires that the Backup Exec server be paired with one or more supported OST-based deduplication appliances. Symantec Backup Exec is committed to expanding the breadth and depth of OST partners certified to work with Backup Exec, so additional OST devices are being certified and supported as they complete Backup Exec’s internal qualification processes.
For more information on supported 3rd-party appliances compatible with the OST-based appliance deduplication technology within Backup Exec 2012 SP2, please refer to the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) available online.
Deduplication Methods – Client-side Deduplication
With Backup Exec 2012 SP2, exciting possibilities for remote office protection are available. The concept of client-side deduplication – where the remote system is responsible for deduplication calculations and where backup data is sent over the network in its deduplicated form – can make the process of protecting remote offices a much more streamlined experience. Remote offices can be challenging to protect effectively; WAN environments may only utilize a fraction of the bandwidth available to a LAN backup. Backups over the WAN can be a challenge to set up, as well as to complete. Some environments include backup servers that are not as powerful as the application servers they are protecting – often, the SQL server or the Exchange server in the environment is the most powerful machine available in terms of processor speed or disk throughput. Where appropriate, why not leverage some of this remote computing power to achieve faster backups? Both of these situations are problems where client-side deduplication can offer a comprehensive solution to the data protection challenges brought on by the environment.
Generally, remote office backup strategies have two basic architectures. First, there are remote offices which do not have local storage, and where backup data is sent directly over the LAN or WAN to the central data center for storage. Second, there are remote offices that employ local storage and then “forward” that locally stored backup data to the central data center for protection. Both of these configurations can use the Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Deduplication Option to streamline and improve backup and recovery for remote offices.
Client-side deduplication is the act of skipping redundant data blocks at the backup source before transmitting the backup stream to the Backup Exec server. Data from the source system is refined into smaller deduplication blocks, and only the unique blocks (that is, the data the Backup Exec server doesn’t yet contain) are sent to the Backup Exec server’s deduplication disk storage device.
A deduplication disk storage device is special type of disk storage configured by Backup Exec where all deduplication data blocks are stored. With the client-side deduplication method, the majority of the processing necessary for deduplication is done on the remote system rather than as the data arrives at the Backup Exec server. Client-side deduplication is the default deduplication method Symantec recommends for several reasons:
Client-side deduplication enables greater scalability by spreading processor usage out across all clients running backups, enabling the Backup Exec server to process more concurrent backups.
Reduced Network Data Transfers
Client-side deduplication minimizes network data transfers as only unique data blocks – not yet stored by the Backup Exec server – are transferred. Most environments – either LAN or WAN environments – can benefit from less data being sent across the network.
Each Backup Exec Agent for Windows and Agent for Linux has the built-in capability to perform client-side deduplication calculations. Note that all deduplication operations require the Deduplication Option to be licensed on the Backup Exec server.
|Backup Exec 2012 SP2 Agent||Client Deduplication Support|
|Agent for Windows||Yes|
|Agent for Linux||Yes|
|Agent for Mac||No|
|Agent for Applications and Databases||Yes|
|Agent for VMware and Hyper-V (VMware)||No*|
|Agent for VMware and Hyper-V (Hyper-V)||Yes**|
|*While it is possible to utilize client-side deduplication when protecting VMware virtual machines, this configuration requires that backups be processed by locally installed agents within the virtual machines themselves (the Agent for Windows or the Agent for Linux). This configuration bypasses the optimized, image-level backup capabilities of the Agent for VMware and Hyper-V in VMware environments. For these reasons, using client-side deduplication in VMware environments is generally not recommended. Backup Exec server-side deduplication is usually optimal.|
|**Client-side deduplication can be used when protecting Hyper-V environments using the Agent for VMware and Hyper-V. In this configuration, optimized, image-level backups of virtual machines are captured and deduplicated through the Backup Exec Agent for Windows installed locally to the Hyper-V host. It is not necessary to install an individual agent into each Hyper-V virtual machine in order to realize client-side deduplication in Hyper-V environments.|
It used to be good enough to have your Monday tape and your Tuesday tape and what you did was … hmm, not working so well in today’s media rich business environment. VPN has meant I can work through my business network anywhere in the world – and WiFi more or less anywhere cable free and create stuff that isn’t necessarily in the right place to be backed up onto my Monday tape, or Tuesday tape. The only place I may struggle to work is on an aeroplane (which may also be a barrier that’s coming down) … and yet I’m writing this at 37,000 feet somewhere North-West of Munich.
Given that the messaging infrastructure and business file and print servers still seems to be separated by the red sea, a PDA to give me email may be good enough. Where a few years back more of our important business information resided centrally and less on laptops or desktops, or at remote offices, this now means that the chances are you are likely to be still totally reliant on dedicated IT equipment or several small-scale backup solutions? Or perhaps remote machine backup is not catered for at all?
This can be costly and could ultimately damage your business and its reputation. How comprehensive is the coverage defined in your current backup policy? Have you actually gone through the process of working out where your company data actually resides and then match the results to the level of data protection across your business? If end-users are geographically isolated, thereby inhibiting data management and backup, or if you are having to deal with the rapid growth in the volume of data that needs protection you might want to reconsider more advanced backup solutions to provide an effective backup and recovery platform across your IT environment, desktops and remote devices.
A backup solution that was highly effective 5 years ago (Backup Exec 8.6 included) may not be sufficient for your purposes now. It doesn’t have to be financially crippling. As existing Backup Exec customers on maintenance you can automatically upgrade – anyone on 10d needs to get moving at 10d end of lifes in April – and anyone can upgrade from previous versions of Backup Exec or other backup solutions for substantial discounts.
Customers on Backup Exec 11d and 12 can upgrade directly to 12; Backup Exec 10d & older versions then you will have to uninstall previous version and reinstall 12.5 … alternatively you can wait for Backup Exec Information Manager due out in April to automatically upgrade from 9.1 onwards to 12.5. For Backup Exec System Recovery 6.5, 7.0 & 8 you can upgrade directly, for LiveState Recovery 6.0 to LSR 3.0 you must uninstall previous version and reinstall 8.5.