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Veritas learns downside to ‘first mover advantage’

Jul 02, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Veritas rejiggers Backup Exec 9.0 to work with Windows Server 2003

Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to be the first vendor “out of the box” to support a new operating system.

Veritas was very proud that the latest release (Version 9.0) of its flagship Backup Exec would be available for Windows Server 2003 from the day the operating system shipped, and would take advantage of all the bells and whistles the new server operating system offered. In particular, Veritas proudly proclaimed that its archival product would be the first to take advantage of Microsoft’s new Volume Shadow Copy Service.

We looked at Volume Shadow Copy Service in a previous newsletter (see link below). It’s a new and neat technology that provides a shadow copy of a storage volume  – a point-in-time copy of the original entity. The shadow copy is typically used by a back-up application to back up files that are made to appear static, even though they are really changing.

Veritas quite rightly wanted to crow about being the first to work with this service. But, as those of us who have used beta copies of Microsoft products quickly learn, Microsoft does not hesitate to make major changes to a product right up until its production ship date. This can cause problems. As Veritas, rather diplomatically I think, notes on its Web site (

“Following this initial release of Backup Exec 9.0 for Windows Servers, Microsoft implemented design modifications in the Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) interface which cause a known incompatibility with the final version of Windows Server 2003 and Veritas Backup Exec 9.0 revision 4367. While Backup Exec 9.0 for Windows Servers revision 4367 will seem to install and operate normally on Microsoft Windows 2003 servers, the incompatibility with certain VSS operations will require the installation of an updated version of Backup Exec 9.0 for Windows Servers to fully protect the Windows 2003 operating system.”

In other words, “It’s broke, but it looks like it’s working. And it’s Microsoft’s fault!”

Veritas has released an updated version of Backup Exec 9.0 which does work with VSS. Details of the updated version can be found at the end of the knowledge base article quoted above. Veritas is to be commended for its forthright admission of the problem. Now if we could just get Microsoft to actually lockdown code in a timely manner, this shouldn’t happen again.