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Office 365 Backup, Restore and eDiscovery with Veeam

We are now ready to create a job for Microsoft Office 365 Backup. In the previous article the focus was on Veeam Infrastructure components. Now that we have setup our environment, maybe in our home lab, next step is to create a Job that will take an Office 365 Backup.

As per usual the creation of the job is very easy and wizard driven. Although as per current release in v1.5 we can also use built-in PowerShell commands to automate a large number of operations. We’ll cover the use of built-in PowerShell cmd-lets together with Office 365 ones in a separate article. For those who want to take a quick look on how to connect to Office 365 using PowerShell there is an article I wrote some time ago.

In this article we’ll cover a few steps showing:

  • Creation of an Office 365 Backup Job
  • Office 365 Mailbox restore options
  • eDiscovery Search for Office 365 Backup data

Here we go!


How to protect your data

From the Organizations view let’s select the Office 365 Tenant for which we want to Backup mailboxes. In the ribbon let’s click on Backup to start the wizard.

Office 365 Backup Veeam

First thing is to specify a name and a description. The last one is optional.

Office 365 Backup new Backup Job

By default the wizard will automatically include all mailboxes in the chosen Tenant. Alternatively we can dictate which mailboxes we want to select for the Backup. For large environment we can also use search string to pin specific User and Resource Mailboxes.

This is very handy as it also gives us the option to select specific Backup Proxies to process selected mailboxes. For example we can differentiate by importance level, Department, location or simply controlling the network traffic before hitting the threshold policies.

Office 365 Backup Select Mailboxes

Next step is to select the Backup Repository where to store the mailbox Backup. Very useful for data segregation or for different retention policies.

Office 365 Backup specify Repository

For each Office 365 Backup job we can also define a schedule which includes the number and time for retries. Interestingly we can also specify a Backup Window.

Office 365 Backup Specify schedule

The screenshot below shows the Time Period when it is allowed to run an Office 365 Backup job. Again different Proxies can have different settings for example according to several time-zones. Moreover the current release also ships with a VSS Writer. This means that if we want to take a backup of the Backup Server or Proxy during an Office 365 Backup job this will generate an application and crash consistent backup of such servers. This greatly helps with the 3-2-1 rule for a good backup strategy.

Office 365 Backup time periods

As soon as we kick the job we can see the details as per screenshot below. Interestingly we also have information on a potential bottleneck based on the current job statistics. Of course more details are available in the job log.

Office 365 Backup Job


Restoring your data

One of the most important parts when running Backups is of course the option to run Restores. Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 makes no exception. One of the features I particularly like is ability to perform restores in-place and out-of-place. With the first meaning items will go to the original location, the latter offers the option to restore to a separate Exchange instance this be Online and On-Premise.

This provides a greater flexibility and improved speed of restore also due to the fact Backup Data is still using the native Exchange Database format. Office 365 Backup with Veeam offers the option to Restore all mailbox items including calendar and contacts.

We can browse the content of the backup and pick and choose what to restore. The screenshot below shows the content of a sample mailbox in Office 365.

Office 365 Backup Mailbox restore

From this view it is also possible to open and verify email content. An example in the screenshot below.

With a simple right-click on any item we can decide in which format to restore the content. This includes the options to export the content into a “.pst” and “.msg” file. For this options to work a local instance of Microsoft Outlook needs to be installed on the same Server.


Search features

Another cool feature about Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is the ability to run sophisticated searches against Backup data. In the case a Litigation occurs and a mailbox is under Legal Hold all the searches for specific content happen online. With Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 we can backup such mailboxes “on Hold” and run searches against the Backup Data stored into our On-Premise storage.

We can use a very large number of fields to quickly identify the required content. The screenshot below shows the Category Fields we can choose from  and how to build the query. In addition multiple criteria can be associated for even more accurate searches.

In the screenshot below a sample search using the text in the Email Subject field. Once we find the desired email a right-click to do an in-place restore or out-of-place restore to available Exchange instances Online and On-Premise.

Here we are at the conclusion of this quick and easy overview of the latest release of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 now shipping with v1.5. I would strongly recommend to take advantage of the free trial and test it on our home lab. There are still other new features this version brings along and we’ll cover them in separate articles.

Any feedback on usage, challenges and configuration are more than welcome together with comments.

About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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