No more hiding in the server room
I've worked with quite a few options, and Backup Exec seems like the least headache for me so far. We're tending to move away from tape, in favor of D2D backups.
The nice thing about BE, which I didn't really appreciate until I used other solutions, is how informative it can be. If you learn to use the tools that come with it, it will tell you an awful lot about why a backup isn't working. Some of the other systems I've used are more or less black boxes for troubleshooting purposes, and won't give any clues as to what's going on inside.
Honestly, my favorite backup system to maintain (I haven't used it in 5 or 6 years), was AMANDA. Set it up right, and it just worked. Aside from swapping tapes and test restores, I'd touch the system once or twice a year to make sure that backup sizes weren't outgrowing the disks.
There should have been an alert generated when it hit that limit.
We're using Buffalo TerraStations in most cases, with USB drives backing up from them for offsite. I haven't seen any problems with restore jobs.
At the moment we're in a state of flux whilst we implement SANs on two sites and move some of our key servers over to a virtual platform but historically we've been pretty happy with BE and tapes.
Going forward we're planning on looking at things like VEEM for the virtual infra but some things are just easier with BE (ie: Enterprise Vault) so we'll never really get rid of it.
I suppose the choice of media boils down not to how you do the backups but how you want to do the restores and what you want to be able to restore.
We use a lot of server-to-server replication for things like main data servers which is great if you stage things so they're slightly out of synch but if you need a file restoring back to last week / a fortnight ago / a month or even longer then you're going to struggle IMO. Our overall strategy is to replicate to another server locally (cheap HP NAS / storage server) and then a DR server on another site. The data is replicated to be 24hrs out of date down the line however we do full backups of the live server weekly with daily diffs to tape too. As a longer term restore point we take one set of tapes out every six months to provide a restore point. These are then kept in long term storage / archive off site.
The trick I've found with tapes is to make sure you get a good autoloader and keep it working sweetly coz when things start going awry it'll be a pain to sort! :) lol