Updating anything in an environment can be a very stressful process and is easily the least favorite task of any IT team. This is in large part due to the unknowns that can happen while updating any products or components. No one wants to modify something that is currently working, bringing on the mentality of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. This common rule can be a double edge sword that leaves your environment open to security vulnerabilities and dated product features. Considering this problem, I think Grace Hopper said it best, “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘we’ve always done it this way’”. This post serves as a guide for the reasons why you should update Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365, as well as pre-check list to assist you in the update process. There is a longer version of this guide available [Here](Link to whitepaper), which includes steps on how to upgrade, troubleshoot and how to open a support case.
Beyond security concerns, the greatest reason to upgrade a product is because of new and enhanced features, Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 is no exception to this rule. Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 is our solution to backing up Microsoft’s Software as a Service offering, Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 is continuously updating and enhancing their software in order to meet customers’ constantly evolving needs. When the updates roll into the frontend interface for users they may only see minor differences, but the backend connectors undergo larger and more complex changes. When connectors update, Veeam is able to offer new and enhanced features for customers.
Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 v6 introduced two major features: backup copy to low-cost object storage and web-based self-service restore portal. The backup copy to low-cost object storage allows customers to tier off older backup chains to an archival storage so they can save money on long term backups. This also allows customers to meet compliance for additional copies of data. Web-based self-service restore portal offers two restore options: self-service restore and restore operator. Self-service allows all users to restore their own data by logging into the portal with their Microsoft sign on. The restore operator role allows delegation rights to be assigned to users to perform restore operations for other users or shared resources.
Every major release of Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 offers new features at no additional cost to the customer. Along with major releases, there are patches released in-between that are just as critical to the function of the product. As mentioned above, Microsoft patches the frontend continually, but they also deprecate or modify the connectors that many products use to connect with the Microsoft 365 data. When this happens products will release patches to keep functionality available for customers.
Prepare for the update
Before starting the update process, there are some steps that ensure there are as few issues as possible. Before starting these steps it’s important to keep in mind that every environment is different and may have additional concerns to address. An example of this is if your company received a custom patch through support. The patch could be in the product, or the patch may need to be modified for the current version. To mitigate repeating past mishaps, take the following steps and incorporate them into your internal process documentations then modify as needed.
- When updating the product, there will be a gap in backups and restores while the update is in progress. Sending out a communication and creating a maintenance window will mitigate end user confrontation. The time it will take to update will vary depending on the size of the jet database on the server.
If the repository is a block storage type, then the jet database is the size of the repository. If the repository is an object storage type, then the jet database only contains cache and is about one percent of the size of the data on object storage. To estimate the time it will take the server to update, take the size of the jet database per terabyte times 30 minutes.
- If you are manually downloading the patch or update from the website instead of using the update feature in the console, make sure to check that the files’ MD5 or SHA1 hash matches the download page. If a package is downloaded and needs extracted from a zip file then make sure the file has been unblocked, learn more here
- Check that the server still meets System requirements
- Check to see if there are any new permissions required for the update in the Permission change log
- In order to backup Microsoft Teams, Microsoft requires customers to request access to the Microsoft Teams API, (read more here).
- If you have worked with Veeam support on any special private fixes and you are not sure if it’s included into the patch, open ticket with support for confirmation.
- It is not possible to update from a beta version of the product to a generally available version. The beta and all components must be uninstalled and a fresh installation performed.
This is a list of the top issues a that customer might run into if not properly vetted. However, for the full list of update information be sure to always read the release notes. The release notes for all versions of the product can be found in this Knowledge Base article. Along with a list of known limitations, the release notes will advise what versions are compatible for the update.
Upgrading is not everyone’s favorite thing to do but with some preparation it can be a less painful process and, in the end, leave you with a more secure environment. On top of being more secure, most versions provide access to features and components that make your job easier. If something does go amiss, then check out this longer guide with upgrade processes, troubleshooting, and all the information support will need to open a case. Once the update process has completed, go update any internal documentation with any of the lessons you learned and the current version. This will make the process smoother for you and others in the future. For more information on updating the server, or steps to take going forward, check out some of the informational links below.
For additional resources check out the following: