Last week, Veeam released the beta version of the new Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5. It promises a significant improvement over the previous version, starting from easier usability, better performance and improved scalability — all designed for service providers in mind. As usual, I took the new version for an early test run, and we wish to share with you what I found.

Note: As always with these early reviews, all the information we provide is not guaranteed to find its way into the final release. Therefore, reader discretion is advised.

As with the previous version, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is still considered and deployed as a standalone backup product specifically developed and designed to protect the Microsoft Office 365 email system. It has new and improved architecture components to allow it to easily scale for large and multi-tenant deployments. The Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 server can be deployed on any Windows OS. The following specifications are recommended:

  • CPU: x64 processor
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Disk: 500 MB for the installation
  • OS: Windows 7 or later
  • Architecture: Virtual or physical

A new component added to this latest version is the backup proxy. With the current Veeam Backup & Replication backup proxy, this newcomer to Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is designed to optimize data processing and the first proxy will be deployed during the product installation. The backup proxy server requirements are:

  • CPU: x64 processor
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Disk: 500 MB for the installation
  • OS: Windows 7 or later
  • Architecture: Virtual or physical

Note: The proxy server must belong to the same domain as to the Office 365 backup server, and must be able to communicate with Microsoft Office 365 on ports 80 and 443.

Now, let's start with what's new in Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5.

User interface

When you finalize the deployment and run the console, you will immediately notice that the user interface now has a new option called Backup Infrastructure. This is the same as in Veeam Backup & Replication product option and should give away that Veeam has big plans for this product.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Accessing the Backup Infrastructure will allow the configuration, or addition, of a new proxy server, along with the capability to add and configure the backup repository.

Backup repository

The backup repository will be used in the same fashion as in Veeam Backup & Replication when storing the backup data. In this latest version, a user can configure multiple backup instances, and then target his backups to a different backup repository (e.g., per customer or organization, and so on). In addition to this new flexibility, each repository can handle its own retention policy. The default retention is three years, but users can adjust the period to a specific number of days or years (one, two, three, five, or 10 years) or permanently.

Each repository will assign a backup proxy server to it. See the following figure:

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 stores backup data in its own database, which is similar to the Exchange database type, but still is specific for Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. The database structure consists of a database, checkpoint and log files. For example, backup data will be stored in a .ADB file (Exchange databases used .EDB).

Add organization

A big welcome to the new release is the diversity you can use this product with when it comes to the Exchange server deployment. From now on, you will be able to back up the Microsoft Office 365 organization, or on-premises Microsoft Exchange, and if you are using a hybrid deployment, you can protect both.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

PowerShell and RESTful API support

Version 1.5 has added support for PowerShell and RESTful API, giving customers and service providers the option to automate many of the administrative tasks, injecting Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 commands to the PowerShell will accomplish using the Import-Module Veeam.Archiver.PowerShell command. The RESTFul API will be welcomed by the service provider community, and with the multi-tenancy repository and scalability, a service provider can build a self-service offering throughout the web, for example.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Notifications

Notifications are an important part of any scalable product. With that in mind, Veeam added several notification layers to keep the backup administrator informed of jobs and proxy status. With job notifications, administrator can select Success, Warning or Failure as the status level of server performance to be reported.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

For example, the notification for a proxy server can inform the user if the server goes offline.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

All notifications are provided using an STMP delivery method.

Scalability and backup performance

As we mentioned earlier, scalability is one of the focused areas of the new release, and it is achieved by using the new proxies and repositories server role. For example, customers or service providers can configure a different organization to target a different repository. Each repository will be accessed through a dedicated proxy server with the option of sharing one proxy server to target multi-repositories.

Backup performance was also kept on focus when interacting with Microsoft Office 365 or on-premises Exchange server. In this new release, the number of backup threads is increased from 32 threads on the previous version to 64 by default with the option to modify this parameter along with the limiting the network bandwidth on each proxy.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

Backup continuity

There’s no doubt this version builds on many intelligent algorithms, and what’s impressive is the autonomy of the proxy server when it comes to backup. If the backup server fails, the proxy server will keep backing up the data from Microsoft Office 365. Only if the connection with the backup server is not resumed within 48 hours, the proxy server will stop pulling the data until the backup server comes back online.

Conclusion

It is clear that Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 version 1.5 has been designed with service providers and scalability in mind. The performance has been improved dramatically, and this can be noticed in daily operations. Recovery processes and management options are still the same as in the previous version, but with 1.5, data restore also can be initiated from PowerShell.

To summarize, it is a much better product, and the improvement is obvious. And when looking at this new release, I see a big winner for you service providers. The beta version is out, and I recommend that you give it a try. I think you will be as excited about this as I was.

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NEW Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5 — Early review and beta testing, 5.0 out of 5 based on 5 ratings

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  • Pétur Árnason

    I have been running the beta for a few days now and it looks good. My company is a service provider and we need the option to send individual e-mail notifications per customer / backup set. As it is now e-mail notifications can only be sent globally. But other than that the product looks good, especially the option to make seperate backup repositories per customer. Now we look forward to version 2 and integration with Sharepoint backups so we can switch our Office 365 backups entirely to Veeam.