As of last month and more precisely on the 13th of Feb there is a new public version of the VBO Beta 3.0. As the name is suggesting and also the notes in the Veeam Forum post this version is only available for public testing and should not be used for any production environment. It is a feature rich version of what should be generally available with the final version.
There are plenty of new features included in this VBO Beta 3.0 and this article is just showing the most notable ones. Also this version ships with an extensive list of PowerShell and RESTFull APIs that can be used for automation, orchestration and to build a so called VBO Portal. These features are palatable not just for large organizations that can scale out a simple deployment into an advanced deployment but also for Service Providers who can provide BaaS for Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive using either the existing Veeam Cloud Connect infrastructure (VCC) or a customisable Web Portal. More information about the Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 deployment types is available on a white paper.
It is important to note that no upgrade paths are available from VBO Beta 3.0 version to any Release Candidate (RC) or Ready to Market (RTM) or Generally Available (GA) version. It requires the install to be completed on a new stand-alone server without any other Veeam product installed. The reason for this is the new Veeam Explorers for Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive will conflict with existing ones running on a lower version, 9.6.x and 9.5.x respectively.
In a previous article about leveraging the Veeam DataLabs to test software updates It was very simple to quickly provide an environment based on production data. In this case this technique has been used to leverage an existing Active Directory and Veeam Cloud Connect to perform the removal of VBO v2 and quickly install VBO Beta 3.0. Everything in an isolated environment. It is now possible to use and test VBO Beta 3.0 also including Service Providers scenarios by installing the VBO Beta 3.0 on the same server where Veeam Cloud Connect is running. Simple!
The following is a quick overview of the main features and enhancements among the many.
VBO Beta 3.0 new features overview
In VBO Beta 3.0 is now possible to setup a global setting for the Web Proxy. This configuration is applied on the VBO Server itself and is automatically inherited by all the additional Proxies for advanced deployments.
The main console on the VBO Beta 3.0 Server allows to run built-in reports about:
- Mailbox Protection
- Storage Consumption
- License Overview
Particularly useful are the last two especially for Service Providers or where “Rental type” of licenses are used.
When adding an Organization it is possible to mix different combinations of Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive Online and On-Premises adhering to all possible scenarios between Online, On-Premises and hybrid deployments.
VBO Beta 3.0 now includes support for Office 365 Tenants that use MFA with Modern Authentication as default policy. At any time it is possible to switch to either method based on current requirements.
In the case the Office 365 Tenant is configured with MFA it is important to generate the Application ID along with Application secret/certificate/password from Microsoft Azure AD services and use them when adding the Organization into VBO Beta 3.0 wizard. It is also possible to specify if the same “Admin accounts” should be used across Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive.
When desired it is also possible to specify separate set of credentials also when using the Basic Authentication instead of the new one leveraging the MFA.
For very large deployment where additional Proxies are included in the setup it is also possible to specify separate settings about:
- Number of concurrent threads
- Shared bandwidth across all threads
And specific Web Proxy for the internet traffic.
A separate mention goes for the new retention modes in VBO Beta 3.0. At the time of writing they are called Archive and Backup and might change the name when the VBO 3.0 will be GA. But what the difference?
With the Archive mode VBO Beta 3.0 works exactly like in the previous version. Essentially the retention is applied against the Last Modification Date of the item. So if a Mailbox has 5 years of content but only 3 years retention is configured than the backup will include the last 3 years. And this will more as a “rolling window” as time goes by. This is one of the requirements from certain Organizations who wish to protect only the latest specified amount of time.
The new retention method now available is called Backup. In a nutshell this will backup all the content available and will apply the retention policy to the Backup and not the last modification date of an item. This means that VBO Beta 3.0 works like traditional Backup solutions offering Point-In-Time backups. So as per previous example if content in the mailbox is 5 years, with this method, all 5 years of content will be protected. Assuming the backup is running daily (it does incrementals!) each day becomes a Point-In-Time. These PIT will be retained for the period specified in the Retention Policy settings. 3 years as per example below.
VBO Beta 3.0 also includes support for the latest Microsoft Office 365 APIs like Microsoft Graph. Exchange stand-alone plans are also supported. SharePoint Backups can now benefit from much faster APIs.
Another nice feature is the ability to rename the Tenant Organizations with a friendly name. Very useful for large Organizations dealing with multiple Tenants and also Service Providers.
The wizard is pretty simple and allows to revert changes as well. The nice thing is the current name will be automatically reflected in the logs and other components as well.
And this concludes this little tour about what’s new on VBO Beta 3.0. But what if the machine used for testing already includes previous Veeam installations of either Veeam Backup & Replication or VBO? It is possible to selectively remove specific components like the previous versions of the Veeam Explorers to allow the installation of the ones shipping with the VBO Beta 3.0 version. this is because the previous Veeam Explorers will not work with the VBO Beta 3.0 version as running on a different release. So this is necessary if VBO is installed on a machine with either VBR or VCC already installed.
This can be easily done by running the MSI uninstall string from the registry to remove the specific components as per screenshot below.
In this case the command will uninstall the existing Veeam Explorer for Exchange (note. Veeam Explorers cannot be uninstalled from add/remove programs panel in Windows).
The process takes a few seconds. Reboot not necessary. At this point it is possible to proceed with the installation of the Veeam Explorers shipping with VBO Beta 3.0 version.
At this point the Veeam Explorers can be used to browse, explore and restore data from Backups!