Symantec sell two, fairly similar, backup products - we're a NetBackup house but should I be looking at Backup Exec?
Who would win in a fight and why? :)
I haven't used either for a couple of versions, but here is what was true at least of a few years ago (in my subjective opinion, of course).
But that's just my opinion.
I got a chance to work with both being used in the same datacenter during a contract last year. I got a chance to do some bare-metal restores with NetBackup (which I've done several times with Backup Exec), and to do some optimization of two different NetBackup environments. Some of the observations I can offer, based on that experience, are as follows:
NetBackup is clearly shows its Unix-based heritage. I am a long-time Backup Exec user (clear back to when it was "Arcadia Backup Exec"), and I was initially shocked at how steep the learning-curve was in NetBackup as compared to Backup Exec. Once I got a handle on the NetBackup "metaphor", and realized that I was looking at an old-school Unix application, deep down, I started to really enjoy using it. You're pretty much expected to be capable of writing scripts, dealing with text-based configuration files, and being able to diagnose issues yourself with NetBackup. It's very powerful, but not necessarily a "point and click" operation.
Backup Exec has a Windows heritage, and you don't often find yourself out of the GUI. It does a good job backing-up Windows hosts and applications. I've used it to backup Netware (ick, ugh) machines with no problems. I've never had occasion to use its Linux support, but I'd expect that it's decent.
Both products are a pain to deal with when they don't work properly. Backup Exec has debugging modes that make diagnosis easier. NetBackup is more verbose in its output as a matter of course.
If you intend to upgrade versions of hosts or applications or to get new tape drives you should pretty much count on keeping a support contract on both products.
If you want things like data de-duplication, better SAN support, a wide variety of host operating systems, streaming to multiple tape drives simultaneous (recently added to Backup Exec 12d, I believe, but not as time-tested as NetBackup), and massive scaling, NetBackup is your choice.
If you're a strictly Windows shop (or, perhaps, with just a few non-Windows server computers) and the concerns that I've outlined above aren't a big deal, go with Backup Exec.
Oh-- and NetBackup is much more expensive than Backup Exec.
Netbackup is still the higher-end product with better support for platforms other than Windows and for more expensive tape libraries. BackupExec can handle a pretty big data center, but it is more Windows-centric and you're on your own for some of the cross-platform agents. That said, we had no problem using the generic unix agent on a couple of Linux systems.
The only reason I could see for switching from NetBackup "down" to BackupExec would be to save some money.