Veeam Backup & Replication has added a new integration – Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. How can you benefit from Office 365 email backup with the Veeam’s new product? Why is cloud Availability different from cloud recoverability? In this blog, we will discuss all these topics and try to shed some light on the needs and use cases of email backups. Of course, we will demonstrate the product in action for you.

Before we jump into the details, let’s first define the two terms, Availability and Recoverability, from the outset.

Data Availability is a term used to describe product or services continuity at a required service level (SLA), or performance. Data Availability on the cloud will be achieved through redundancy zones. On the other hand, Data Recoverability refers to the ability to restore data to the point at which a failure occurred.

In the world of cloud, there is confusion about the meaning of these two terms, and one piece of confusion arises when discussing cloud services. The assumption is that when moving a workload to the cloud, there will be no need for data backup. However, this is a mistake and data must be backed up. It appears this happens due to the lack of understanding of the above two terms.

All the great features that Office 365 Exchange Online offers to you and your business still hold hidden risks, including the lack of comprehensive backup and limited recoverability.

Considering these risks, you should ask yourself:

  • How will I manage my service levels (or lack thereof) with these limitations?
  • How do I mitigate the risk of mailbox data loss while my data is in the cloud?
  • Does Microsoft guarantee data loss avoidance of your business-critical messaging system and its data?

To ease your concerns, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365, will help you to:

  • Securely back up your Office 365 email data to your on-premises environment
  • Mitigate the risk of losing access to your email and so ensure continuous email Availability to your users
  • Quickly recover individual mailbox items with best-of-breed granularity
  • Efficiently perform eDiscovery of email archives
  • Securely leverage connections to your business Office 365 organization through native Exchange Web Services APIs.

NOTE: This testing is built on the Beta version, so some of the screens are listed as TBD or may not have their icons/visualization complete as what you’ll see in the generally available build.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 architecture

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is integrated with Veeam Backup & Replication, which means you can back up hybrid cloud environments and migrate mailbox data between Office 365 and your on-premises Exchange deployment.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Office 365 Exchange Online first line of defense

The first line of defense when retrieving a deleted mailbox item is retrieving it from the deleted items store, which works only if item’s retention period has not expired. By default, the retention policy is set to 30 days. Deleting entire mailboxes also calls up the retention policy, also set to 30 days by default. Of course, these defaults can be changed from the Exchange Admin Center.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

How then, is Microsoft protecting my Office 365 email data?

Microsoft uses its Exchange Data Availability Group (DAG) to protect your data. For internal use only they also utilize traditional backup to protect Office 365 from any catastrophic disasters. Unfortunately, local failures still can happen to anyone and the above methods will not protect you from mailbox corruption, nor will these methods restore your mailbox to a point in time. Your SLAs, or data Availability requirements, will be defined by Microsoft SLA policies, but they will not provide data recoverability.

Installation and configuration

Let’s run through the Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 installation and configuration. One thing that impressed me about this product is the configuration process – it is very straightforward and very simple.

Download the installation package (it is a Beta version at this stage). Inside you’ll find two executable files, which you need to extract:

  • Veeam.Backup365.exe (3280 KB)
  • VeeamExplorerForExchange.exe (4,965 KB)

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

The Veeam.Backup365.exe file is the installer for the Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 application, and the VeeamExplorerForExchange.exe is the installer for Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange. These two installation files indicate that the product is standalone and can be installed on any workstation.

Installation of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is a straightforward process, so let’s move straight to setting up its configuration. Click Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

You can see the user interface below:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

To start the configuration, click on the menu icon at the top left corner and then choose Options:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

You need to set up backup repository, define the backup retention period and specify folder location. In addition to the repository location, on this step you can also configure which folders to exclude from your backup (if any):

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

After setting the repository, backup retention period and folder location, you need to connect and configure your Office 365 account.

No stress here, this is an easy task. Start by clicking the Add Organization window, or click the Add Org icon as shown below:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Add your Office 365 credentials in the Add Organization window:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

On adding your credentials, Veeam will configure and enable the necessary PowerShell commands and the Office 365 configurations for you:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Now it is time to create a backup. Right click the Organization name or click on the Backup icon:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

At the prompt, provide a Backup job name, then choose the account to be backed up. You can also choose either to back up all mailboxes, or only selected ones:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Set up the desired schedule in the New Backup Job window:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

That’s all it takes to configure Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 and back up your Office 365 mail server!

Recovery with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Performing a recovery with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is even simpler than its setup.

To start recovery run Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange and choose the desired recovery option:

  • Explore latest state as of <day, date and time>; or
  • Explore point-in time state…

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

If you choose “Explore latest state”, it’ll immediately start Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange tool. With the “Explore point-in time state” option, you will need to specify the details in the Explore Backup window:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Browse available mailboxes to select a mailbox item for recovery:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Choose the destination for your recovered mailbox and start the restore. Upon the process completion you can deliver the recovered mailbox to your end user:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Conclusion

Even when moving your workloads to the cloud, it’s still critical for the safety of your business to do regular backups of that data. As with any of your cloud services, it is important to understand your cloud provider SLAs and know what recoverability options are provided.

We have demonstrated an easy and secure way to back up your Office 365 email data with Veeam. When it comes to protection for your mailbox data, Veeam Backup for Office 365 is a right solution enabling both data Availability and recoverability. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on the Beta version! Please don’t hesitate to share your ideas and opinions in the comments to this blog or in Veeam Forums.

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  • Daniel

    Great news! Now if we could use this to meet statutory regulation and email compliance, that would be amazing! GFI is too complex and Mailstore ist just not my cup of tea, so I’d love to trade for VEEAM software to do my mail archiving.

    • Daniel,
      It will depend on what your regulation and compliance rules are… We always would love to hear the specifics in our forums (forums.veeam.com) so we can see what is necessary for customers
      Thanks
      Mike

  • Chris

    Is there a minimum version of Veeam B&R you need to be on?

    • Chris,
      For the beta (available now) you can run this as a standalone solution. We don’t know for the GA version but most probably you will be able to run this standalone also. If there is going to be integration, then it will be with v9.5 (which is also beta for now)
      Mike

    • Hal Yaman

      Hi Chris, Veeam backup for office 365 is a standalone product (Beta) which also includes the exchange/mail explorer.

      • Chris

        Ahhh…that explains it. I tried to install it to our Veeam server and it whinged that Veeam B&R had to be more than version 9.0 . I’ll install on our “Utilities” server for testing purposes.

      • Chris

        Where’s the best place to send any bugs/peculiarities? I’m getting an XML error after 5-10 minutes…?

        • I don’t get very far at all. 12 seconds in I get an XML error.
          Error: There is an error in XML document (1, 15712).
          Error: ”, hexadecimal value 0x08, is an invalid character. Line 1, position 15712.

          • Brian, Chris,
            Can you post this on our forums (forums.veeam.com) so we can have a look at it? (Forums.veeam.com)
            Thanks
            Mike

          • Chris

            Here you go Mike, I’ll find the relevant forum and put it there too.
            26/09/2016 13:07:13 :: There is an error in XML document (1, 31559).. ”, hexadecimal value 0x08, is an invalid character. Line 1, position 31559.
            It ran for 8 minutes and 50 seconds.
            {Posted for the sake of the Great God Google}

          • Hi Chris, if you go there, there should be now a sub forum visible called Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365… Hope you can see it
            Thanks
            Mike

          • Chris

            All done.

  • Derek

    Is there intent to provide this solution as multi-tenant so I as a reseller could supply backup of Office 365 data for multiple customers?

    • Derek,
      Not in v1 but please go to the forums (forums.veeam.com) and tell us what your idea and requirements (business and technical) are on delivering this to your customers. I would love to hear more about it
      Thanks
      Mike

  • David Wolf

    When will it be possible to use a network location for a repository?

    • Hi David,
      You can do this today with the GA version. We have experimental support for an SMB 3 share. The servers computer account must have write permissions on the network share though. You can also see it in the release notes
      Cheers
      Mike

      • David Wolf

        Thank you for the response, shortly after making this comment I found exactly what you said on the Veeam forums.

  • Roger

    Is it possible to have network throttling? Otherwise if I start backup jobs my download internet connection gets overloaded.

    • Roger,
      Network throttling is not in the product itself, but Exchange Online has its own throttling so you will probably not succeed in getting your internet connection overloaded. The throttling policy of Exchange online is rather on the low side

      • Roger

        Mike, thanks for your very quick answer. I just tested in my lab and the internet connection in my OnPremise datacenter got overloaded. the Backup job downloaded data with a rate of 50 Mbit/s which is the maximum i can get. any suggestions?

        • Hmmm, can you cap the bandwidth to that specific server in your network equipment? Or in the virtual infrastructure? As said, there are no throttling options in the product at this moment

          • Roger

            I will have a look at this, thanks.

            Other question, if I install a second Veeam Backup Server for Exchange Online in Azure, in addition to my existing OnPremise Veeam Backup Server for VMs, then I have to buy second license, right?

          • Roger, our Office 365 offering is per user and not per server. But best is to contact your local sales rep from Veeam. I am not 100 percent aware of licensing 🙂

          • Roger

            alright, thanks for you help!

  • Deb Codding

    We use Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 (Enterprise edition). I have been tasked with determining if the Backup to Office 365 component would be of use in our current environment. We use O365 EES to provide faculty, staff and students access to Sharepoint, OneDrive and Office Suite, but our email is maintained via Exchange 2013 on-premises, with AD sync to Office 365. I have been unable to find anything other than sales pitch sentences relative to hybrid environments. Can you point me to any documentation (such as this article, which is very well written BTW) that is specific to how to use Veeam Backup to Office 365 with current Exchange on-premises, NOT Exchange Online?

    • Hi Deb,
      Please see my response at forums.veeam.com on your question over there
      Thanks
      Mike

  • Giulio Alè

    hello I do not understand, when do expire license for this beta product ?
    By the way I’m worried of bandwidth issue so I’ll test backup just on top managers mailboxes for starting.

    • Hi Giulio,
      This product is not in beta anymore so I hope you are testing it with the latest version :-). There is a free trial that you can download on our website

  • superrushfan

    veeam is friggin awesome. I want to buy shares when they go public

  • Craig Durdy Elliott

    is it possible to restore the mailboxes from office 365 to another mail host like lunarpages for eg using this software?
    our comany want to migrate mail services to our own server or maybe another company.

    • Hi Craig,
      I am not familiar with lunarpages but a lot of our customers use this solution to restore emails to an exchange server (on-premises or even hosted somewhere else). If lunarpages is such a hosted exchange solution, it should be possible
      Cheers
      Mike

      • Craig Durdy Elliott

        apart from the 2 executables listed above.. do i need to install any other software? during installation i am not promted to set up any local host or port or any network config of any form. but yet upon opening the application i get an error message “veeam no connection could be made…”
        am i required to set up and configure some sort of Veeam Backup And Replication Server?

        • Hi Craig,
          No you don’t. If you can’t open the application, that probably means something went wrong during the installation. I would advise to create a support call at that point in time

          • Craig Durdy Elliott

            ok i will but first I have tried to reinstall and now i am prompted to install license which did not happen before. i shall install license and get back if anything. thank you again.

          • Craig Durdy Elliott

            It Works Flawlessly! The issue was with the installation. I uninstalled and went for it again and i have successfully run a demo on a small 365 account with few mailboxes. successfully exported to pst from there. Great purchase. worth the money

          • Craig Durdy Elliott

            Hi again @MikeResseler:disqus . the product works great. but a few minor issues. I believe bandwidth control needs to be implemented or patched into an update for this particular product. When the backup process is initiated, it utilizes all available bandwidth and degrades the speed of every other device on site. I have explored options to cap the bandwidth of the backup server to remedy this issue but just wanted to point this out. Secondly I believe the backup process gets interrupted by Microsoft’s own backup instances. I keep getting error messages on occasion about mailboxes not being processed due to another backup instance. Can you provide any guidance on the matter? I have contacted Microsoft support but i’m not satisfied with the amount of time it takes for response and lead time is at a minimum for us here. I have also contacted Veeam support but you seem to have a far more dynamic understanding of the product and your response time is great.

          • Hi Craig,
            We just finished our VeeamON event and I talked about VBO 1.5 (expected beta in a few weeks) that has bandwidth control implemented and an architecture that can scale-out vertically. About your other issue. Can you post some more details on forums.veeam.com (there is a subforum specifically for VBO) and I will look into it as soon as possible! I think you might have (what we call) overheating problems of the mailbox but want to make sure it is not something else!

          • Craig Durdy Elliott

            In-case anyone else has the same issues. For bandwidth control at the moment i used a program call TMeter (Google it). For the other issue ill post in forum but i have noticed that the error does not appear when i cap bandwidth at about 4MB/s (which is quite slow). thanks again @MikeResseler:disqus .