The Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague (CULS) has approximately 3,500 employees who use more than 3,800 mailboxes. Rising costs and the complexity of managing on-premises email infrastructure led the university to migrate to the cloud, specifically to the Office 365 platform. Within Office 365, employees use not only Exchange Online email inboxes, but also tools such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint.
In connection with the migration of key services to the cloud, it was necessary to find a local backup solution, as the Office 365 service does not meet the high demands of CULS on the retention time of backups and the granularity of recovery of specific emails, individual files and entire mailboxes. On-premises backup also increases the level of security of important data and its availability in all circumstances.
The University’s IT team has many years of experience with managing systems that are critical to the daily instruction of more than 30,000 students. As part of the migration to the cloud, the IT department dealt with the backup of data from Office 365. After comparing the parameters of several different backup solutions, the decision was made to deploy
Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365.
“Local backup of data from the cloud is a key element for us to protect it from loss and ensure availability. That is why we were looking for a backup solution that would be easy to deploy and manage and that would allow us to restore data as quickly and easily as possible at the level of individual emails and files,” says Václav Mareš, Head of Servers and Database Systems Department at CULS.
After testing the features of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 , the decision to choose the backup solution was made quickly — it perfectly met the requirements for backing up accounts in Office 365.
“We are particularly satisfied with the clear environment and ease of use of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 , which provides us with high granularity of the recovery of accidentally deleted data,” explains Václav Mareš. “The recovery itself is a matter of units, or at most tens of minutes — depending on whether we are restoring individual emails or entire mailboxes. This saves us incredible time and makes our work easier.”
Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 helps CULS to locally backup not only the content of more than 3,800 email inboxes, but also the content of shared team spaces in Microsoft Teams, files in OneDrive and SharePoint repositories. All data is backed up daily and incremental backups are maintained for three years.
“With Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 , we perform backups every night, always in two simultaneous streams for two faculty’s data. We use several backup jobs run sequentially with prepared scripts,” explains Václav Mareš. CULS runs Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 on two virtual servers (as master and proxy). The university backs up approximately 2 TB every day to a locally operated NAS. Every week, the CULS IT department deals with around two dozen requests for the recovery of lost data, ranging from individual emails to thousands of messages or the entire contents of mailboxes.
The Veeam Explorers™ feature helps with fast data recovery, while Veeam Intelligent Diagnostics helps resolve any problems with backup configuration.
“What we appreciate about Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 , which we have implemented in-house without any problems, is that it really only needs to be set up once for completely reliable daily backups. There are constant changes in the Office 365 environment, because the backups with many other tools often end up in error conditions. However, Veeam is so versatile and continuously maintained that it can respond to these changes almost immediately,” says Václav Mareš.
In addition to quick recovery of accidentally deleted emails and files, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 helps CULS solve a problem with termination of employee contracts (typically PhD students). When they stop working at the university, their Office 365 account is completely deleted. However, if the employment relationship is reactivated within the next 3 years, the entire account can be easily restored from backup.
“One of the key advantages of Veeam is the transparent licensing model based on the number of Office 365 users, regardless of the volume of data backed up. Thanks to this, CULS saves up to CZK 1 million in licensing fees alone each year,” calculates Václav Mareš. “In the future, we are also considering moving the university students’ accounts to Office 365, which would mean backing up more than 30,000 additional mailboxes. We already know that we will use Veeam again for this.”
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) is one of the five largest universities in the Czech Republic. It combines 115 years of tradition with the most modern technologies and research in agriculture and forestry, ecology, the environment, IoT technology, economics and management. Modern laboratories provide excellent education with opportunities for personal growth and involvement in scientific projects at home and abroad. According to international rankings, the university is among the top 3% of universities in the world.
For many years, CULS used a locally operated email solution based on several on-premises Exchange Servers. The migration to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud service required changes in the existing IT infrastructure, as well as finding a new solution for the local backup of more than 3,800 mailboxes of the university’s employees. After testing the capabilities of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 , this solution became the obvious choice for regular backups and quick recovery of entire mailboxes and individual emails.