12.5 issues continued....
I'm going to post a few issues here. I'd love to speak with someone who has the authority to speak on the record about why things are in such a disarray at Acronis and why things can't or won't get fixed. I'm unable to call Partner services, their number just rings forever or it rings to a fast-busy signal. Support cases get great excuses but never see solutions.
1) 12.5 upgrades from 11.x are dismal. Backup plans fail to import most of the time. At each client location we've "upgraded" we've had to recreate everything because backup plans fail after the upgrade. If these upgrades aren’t going to work 100% of the time, just tell us that so we have the understanding we’re going to have to start over.
2) The new GUI is horrible. It's actually beyond horrible, but words to describe it are inappropriate here. That Acronis has decided to rely 100% on 3rd party code to manage a mission-critical system is beyond understanding. Acronis has a horrible reputation for extended times for bug fixes so what guarantees do we have that Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, or whomever won’t release an update to their respective browser that won’t break Acronis? Absolutely NONE. What guarantees do we have that if a browser update breaks Acronis that we’ll have a patch in 24 hours from Acronis? Absolutely NONE. This is so dangerous by Acronis to tie a mission critical process to someone else’s code.
3) 12.5, more often than not, refuses to backup in .tibx format even if new backup plans are created. The claim that, “Version 12 will be used unless the backup plan appends backups to the ones created by earlier product versions.” appears factually false. I’ve repeatedly recreated backup plans and they still create .tib files.
Further to this, there is absolutely NO technical reason why we shouldn’t be able to change file formats on the fly. NONE. Try this. Open Microsoft Word. Create a document using the .doc file format. Now close Word. Double click on the file to open it. Click File, Save As, save it as a .docx file. Boom! Magic. New file, new format, ZERO ramifications to the previous file. Now, you’re going to say, differential/incremental formats reference the previous days’ backups. Maybe correct; however, first, let’s be clear, NO ONE should be using differential/incremental, at least in an SMB setting where there is sufficient time to do a full backup of all data over night (yes, that’s a personal belief, but one I will argue forever over – buy more space if you don’t have enough space, but never rely on chained backups for your mission critical data). Besides, even if you are chaining backups, Acronis could VERY EASILY just pop-up and say, “If you change backup file formats you must execute a FULL backup before your next backup. Would you like to execute it now or at the next scheduled time?” That’s literally 5 minutes of code and an hour of testing. For anyone doing FULL backups this is moot, just create the next backup using the new file format. I’d love to hear the logic behind not allowing this.
4) The ability to change the encryption key is exactly the same thing as changing file formats. There is NO technical reason not to allow us to change a key other than Acronis incorrectly believes that no one would ever want to. When someone with access to the backup key leaves a company it’s good practice to change the key; however, if you’re backup plan has dozens or hundreds of specifically selected folders, it’s ALL TOO EASY to MISS one or more when creating the new backup. Just allow us to change the key and issue a pop-up that says, “You will be required to use the old key for backups before today and the new key after.” If you’re crazy enough to be doing chained backups the pop-up would say, “If you change your encryption key you must execute a FULL backup before your next backup. Would you like to execute it now or at the next scheduled time?” Again, a few minutes of code for consistent and reliable file/folder selections between backups and better company security. I would bet $ that MANY SMBs don’t bother to recreate backup plans to just change the key and leave that data vulnerable to a former employee. As with file formats, I’d love to hear the logic behind not allowing this.
5) Subsequent to the file format and encryption change issues, if one is forced to create a new backup plan and disables the old one, backup retention for the now-disabled plans STOP working, meaning those backups will remain indefinitely until someone manually deletes them. That creates a disk space issue VERY QUICKLY. This yet another reason why we MUST be allowed the right to make changes to EXISTING backup plans rather than being told to create new ones. Honestly, the answer telling us to create new plans is just L.A.Z.Y. syndrome by Acronis’ developers who appear to not want to write the small amount of code to allow changes. Passing the burden to customers is unacceptable.
6) Backup retention policies are very outdated. I don’t care how many or how long backups Acronis keeps, I want it to use the ENTIRE backup destination disk for as many backups as possible with the option to delete backups as needed to ensure enough space exists to complete the current backup. For example, if I’m backing up to a 4TB disk and there’s room for 32 backups to get to 3.9TB but the 33rd would require the removal of the 2 oldest backups, then remove the 2 oldest and create the 33rd backup. Right now, Acronis will just fail if you’ve set it to keep 31 backups and the dataset has grown to make it so you only keep 30.
7) Updates to Acronis are 1.4GB each time. This is ridiculous. Imagine if every month Microsoft required everyone download a 4GB file just to get the most recent patches for Windows or a 2.6GB file to update Office! Acronis’ are just crazy AND you’re not notified inside the app that there is an update. There are MANY people who still don’t have unlimited broadband plans or don’t have really high-speed plans. There are many in my area still on 6Mbps or slower DSL because that’s all they can get. Acronis must implement an auto-update plan that offers to download and install patches to existing code rather than a full new installer and it must notify users the updates are available. Microsoft did this 22 years ago with Windows 95. Time for Acronis to move into the mid-90s.
8) Referring to https://kb.acronis.com/content/58372, this is more mess left over from the dismal failure that were Vaults. Differential/incremental backups worked PERFECTLY well with tapes for years so they would work perfectly with removable disks too, except Acronis is so deeply intrenched with its metadata (a rose by any other name still has thorns) system that it can’t understand the swapping of drives. The statement: “If the target medium storing the full backup is replaced, it is not possible to create subsequent incremental or differential backups.” is factually false other than Acronis’ code is poorly designed. There is NO technical reason why I can’t put a full backup on one disk and subsequent backups on other disks. Acronis just needs to ask for the other disk during a restoration process. That’s EXACTLY how QIC-xx tapes worked decades ago and how Acronis should work today, except after Acronis introduced its vault systems a decade or so ago it totally ignored the possibility that someone may run out of space or want to swap disks. It’s time for Acronis to dump its metadata (they can call it whatever they want in 12.5, it still acts essentially like the failed vault system) and make it so people are allowed to rotate disks as we want to.
Don’t get me wrong, Acronis is a so close to a great product but they seem to just stumble at the most basic design steps. It’s like they don’t use their own software in the scenarios that all their customers would. We’re all NOT enterprises. There are MANY more SMBs than enterprises, but so much of the problems seem to hamper SMBs more than larger customers.