Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Best Practices

When the first version of Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 was released in 2016, no one realized how fast Microsoft 365 would grow and how our daily communication and work life would change. New features and software were added to the Microsoft 365 package. For example, Teams was just becoming a fixed component of Microsoft 365.

At that time, there were still various challenges. Object storage was not yet state of the art and there were not that many customers with larger user numbers in enterprise environments. We soon found out that we had created a successful product with a lot of potential, which was improved from version to version.

In the meantime, Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 v7 has been successfully released. Due to constant improvements and innovations in the product, the best practices have also changed.

You can find all current best practices in our official best-practice-guide: Best Practice Guide

In this article we would like to deliver a better point of view about the background of the best practices and provide a comprehensive understanding for successful and simple infrastructure planning.

 

Basics

The strength of Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 is its simplicity combined with our maximum flexibility. However, these advantages also make further planning difficult because there is not “the one” perfect solution.

Whether cloud-only, on-premises or a mix of both, Veeam will give you the ability to integrate perfectly with your infrastructure and strategy.

Components:

For successful best practices and sizing, you need to take a closer look at your environment. You need the following data to draw further conclusions:

– Number of objects to be backed up per service (Mail, SharePoint/Sites, OneDrive, Teams).

– Data volume for each service to be backed up (Mail, SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams)

– Retention period of your backup data

– Repository type for your backup data (Disk-Repository or Object Storage Repository — see section “The repository”)

For better understanding, these are the following recommendations  within Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 that serve as a basis for a successful sizing:

Current numbers:

Type

Recommended machine config
(8 Cores/32GB)

Minimum Machine config
 (4 Cores/8G)

Proxies per VB365 controller

50

10

Objects per proxy

20,000

2,000

Objects per VB365 installation

1,000,000

20,000

Objects per organization

400,000

20,000

Users per job

5,000

500

Users per proxy

5,000

500

Users per VB365 installation

250,000

2,500

Users per organization

100,000

2,500

An object is equal to one service of one user. A service is Mail, Archive, OneDrive, personal site, a SharePoint site or a Teams Objects, etc.

For example, if a user backs up all services, you are using four objects.

For more information please see:

RAM allocation and number of repository databases per proxy

To build a suitable backup environment, it is necessary to understand our backup technology and strategy.

 

The Management Server

The actual server is a pure administrative component and is used for connecting an organization in Microsoft 365, creating backup jobs and managing the infrastructure.

The management server is automatically installed together with the first proxy server during the initial installation. These services can be run together, as the management server requires only a few resources (RAM, CPU). Separation of the components is recommended in large environments (>10,000 users).

The Proxy

The proxy server is the main component that downloads all data from Microsoft and processes the backup data and stores it on a repository.

To optimize requests towards Microsoft, they can be split in parallel and in so called “threads.” A thread describes an “action” like requesting objects, files and attributes like title and content of an email, file history, etc.

Any kind of information we need in case of a disaster to be able to restore elements successfully and completely.

The number of threads is between 1-256, but a too high number of threads is often the cause for a very high RAM and CPU usage and increases the risk that the throttling rule of Microsoft limits the requests and data processing rate strongly.

Of course, the available bandwidth on the customers side also plays a major role, but there are limitations on Microsoft’s side as well.

What use are 10 proxy servers when they are each restricted by an inadequate Internet connection?

For example, if you are connected to a high-performance Internet line, it does not mean that your backup will be downloaded quickly. Usually we see the limitation in the bandwidth provided by Microsoft (source-side).

One of the biggest challenges is the dependency on Microsoft. Factors beyond our control may negatively affect the performance of our backup, yet they are still essential for a successful one:

-The bandwidth (For more information see: Microsoft 365 network connectivity principles)

-The throttling:

How to temporarily turn of Microsoft M365 throttling
Veeam Best Practice Guide – Throttling

In addition, depending on the current load in the Microsoft 365 data center or access point, faster or slower access is granted. This cannot be influenced or increased.

Therefore, set the backup times preferably outside the normal working hours. At this time, the access points usually have a lower load and you will see a higher backup speed.

 

The Repository

The repository can be a local disk repository or an object storage. For a high-performance backup and better scalability for future needs, we recommend object storage.

If you are using object storage, the responsible proxy hosts an on-premises “cache” for metadata.

The repository cache in Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 helps to speed up the backup and restore process and reduce costs by caching the metadata locally before transferring it to the cloud repository. This helps to reduce bandwidth usage and improve the reliability of backups by reducing the risk of connection issues.

The repository cache requires ~ 1% of the over-all backup size as free disk space.

Veeam Disk Repository – Best Practices

Veeam Object Storage Repository – Best Practices

If you a looking for a good estimation for your future requirements and costs you can use the Veeam Capacity Calculator.

 

Optimization for Large Environments

For large environments (>2000 users) you can consider some optimizations when creating jobs.

Consolidate backup jobs with the same services on a proxy server (see example below). Create separate repositories or subfolders for each service and mount them individually in the backup infrastructure.

 For enterprise environments it is essential to increase flexibility in job configuration to ensure future usability. It is advisable to split the services into individual repositories and individual proxies right from the start.

 If you are currently migrating your environment or there are already plans for future growth, consider creating more repositories per service than initially needed. You can split up the jobs from scratch and separate them in future on dedicated proxies.

This pre-sorting from the beginning of your configuration allows you to separate the corresponding backup data with the backup APIs on Microsoft’s side.

 

For a better understanding:

The backup/graph APIs are addressed by Veeam in parallel, so jobs can run simultaneously without provoking throttling.

Another advantage of the parallelization of the backup jobs is their dependency in case of an error within the data structure. For example, a backup job that backs up all services is processed step by step. If, however, a SharePoint share contains a corrupt file, this behavior affects the entire backup job.

To avoid unnecessary storage space consumption you can consolidate SharePoint and Teams jobs on one repository, due to the service infrastructure design of Teams.

Teams creates a SharePoint page for each channel and saves nearly 80% of its data on SharePoint.

Warning: If you split up SharePoint and Teams in separate repositories and jobs, data will be backed up and stored twice.

In the following example, we have three proxies that are only responsible for certain services and use their own repository for each service.

The Backup Job

You can define all these dependencies (Backup Job -> Service -> Proxy -> Repo) in the backup job wizard.

To avoid that users are accidentally forgotten in larger environments it is advisable to work with backup groups based on Dynamic Azure Active Directory groups. (Job Design with Azure Active Directory Groups)

For SharePoint and Teams backup we need to consider that there are not only user objects.  For SharePoint pages as well as for Teams we need to work with the related objects.

You can also use a script to simplify this process in enterprise environments:

SharePoint and Teams JobManager

For a better overview and documentation predefine all settings in a short list:

Job

Proxy

Service

Repository

Group

Job-Mail1

Proxy1-Mail

Mail

Repo1-Mail

Usergroup1 (ObjectID 0-8)

Job-Mail2

Proxy1-Mail

Mail

Repo2-Mail

Usergroup2 (ObjectID 8-f)

Job-Onedrive1

Proxy2-OD

OneDrive

Repo1-OD

Usergroup1 (ObjectID 0-8)

Job-Onedrive2

Proxy2-OD

OneDrive

Repo2-OD

Usergroup2 (ObjectID 8-f)

Job-SP-Teams1

Proxy3-SP-Teams

SharePoint & Teams

Repo1-SPTeams

Usergroup1 (ObjectID 0-8) + SP/Teams Group 1

Job-SP-Teams2

Proxy3-SP-Teams

SharePoint & Teams

Repo2-SPTeams

Usergroup2 (ObjectID 8-f) + SP/Teams Group 2

 

Conclusion

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 provides an effective and reliable solution to back up your Microsoft 365 environment. The key to success in using this solution is a comprehensive understanding of the components of the backup environment, the best practices and the design of the backup jobs. By following the best practices and sizing recommendations, organizations can ensure the performance, reliability and security of their backups. By following the best practices in this article, organizations can ensure that their environment is running smoothly and can maximize the performance of their backups.

Feel free to contact us or our Veeam Partners to assist you planning your backup environment.

 

For more best practices information, watch the best practices demo.

Need to decide what storage to use? Read: Storage Decision Guide for Microsoft 365 Backups.

Download a 30-day FREE trial of Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365.

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