Tag Archives: Exchange

Office 365 Backups and the Opportunity that Exists for Service Providers

In recent weeks i’ve become reacquainted with an old friend…There was a time where eighty to ninety percent of my day job was working in and around Exchange Server. If I had started this blog in 2005 it would have been dominated with posts around the Hosting of Exchange Server and probably be named Exchange is Life!. I take pride in my Hosted Exchange Org and User creation scripts that I created before Hosting Control Panels where even a thing.

Over the last five or six years my interest in Exchange diminished due to moving roles and also due to some lingering ill feelings about the way in which Microsoft treated their initial Hosting partners as they started what would become, Office 365 back in the late 2000’s. That said I have remained aware of the Exchange landscape and while there is still a lot of on-premises Exchange instances and still a number of decent Hosted Exchange providers out there, there is no stopping Office 365’s growth.

I even jumped on the bandwagon by moving my personal SliemaLabs domain over to an Office 365 Exchange subscription late last year. That domain initially lived on an Exchange Server I ran from home, and then on a Hosted Exchange platform I built and now it’s completed it’s own journey to Office 365.

Having spent a bit of time recently looking at the 1.5 version of our Backup for Microsoft Office 365 product…more specifically the new self service feature that came in Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3. I’ve had a renewed sense of purpose around the Exchange ecosystem…and that purpose is to ensure that all service providers understand the opportunity that exists around creating offerings for the backing up and availability of Office365 services.

This post follows a post that was released on the Veeam.com blog by Paul Mattes (VP of Global Cloud Group at Veeam) talking about the success of our Backup for Microsoft Office 365 product.

In 2017, more than 25,000 organizations installed our Office 365 backup solution, representing 2.3 million Microsoft Office mailboxes. We saw a staggering 327% quarter-over-quarter growth in Q4 of last year.

And the reasons why all Office 365 users should consider an external backup solution for their data hosted in Microsoft’s SaaS cloud platform.

It’s important to remember that SaaS platform providers, like Microsoft Office 365, take on the responsibility of application uptime and the underlying infrastructure. But it is the customer’s responsibility to manage and protect their vital business data.

This is public cloud in a nutshell…Ultimately the customer has the responsibility to ensure all data is backed up correctly. I won’t go into the technical aspects as to why Office 365 requires additional backups solutions. There a plenty of good online resources, a Gartner report is available here Microsoft’s has an offical page on High Availability and Business Continuity guide. Doing research into the nature of SaaS you understand the need for third party backup solutions.

The Office 365 Opportunity:

From a service provider point of view there is an opportunity to tap into the 85 million user Exchange Online market and offer availability services for organisations using Office 365. This is a multi-billion dollar market that exists today and services based around backup and management of that data are central to tapping into that opportunity. Just breaking down the ANZ market alone, there are approximately 4.25 million Office 365 users of which if only 5% was captured would represent a combined 3.5 to 5 million dollar market.

For those VCSPs who have already deployed Cloud Connect and offering Backup services, the ground work has been laid with regards to having the infrastructure in place to extend that service to offer Veeam Backup for Office 365 aaS.

The billable components of this service are licenses and then storage costs. Managed Service Providers can also build in management fees that offer an end to end solution for their clients. Where it should be seen to be extremely attractive for VCPSs is in the potential for the storage revenue to be significant early and then continue to grow as tenant’s backup and retain more and more mailboxes in addition to new tenants coming on board.

We have given our VCSPs the tools to be able to build a strong service around Office 365 backups with the 1.5 release of Backup for Office 365 focused on scalability and automation. Add to that the self service feature that came in Update 3 for Backup & Replication and there is no excuse to not start thinking about offering this as a service.

Looking beyond Exchange Online, version 2 of Backup for Office 365 will include the ability to backup SharePoint and OneDrive as well…have a think about what that represents in terms of revenue opportunities just on the potential for storage consumption alone.

Again, I want to emphasis that this market is huge and what’s on offer in terms of potential revenue can’t be ignored. I’m excited about the next 12-18 months in being able to see our VCSPs grab this opportunity…don’t let it slip!

References:

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/exchange-online-high-availability-and-business-continuity.aspx

The Limitations of Microsoft Office 365 Backup

 

 

Configuring Service Provider Self Service Recovery with Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

For a while now I’ve talked about the increasing functionality of the the Cloud Connect Gateway and that it is central to a lot of features and services that exist within Veeam Backup & Replication. With the release of 9.5 Update 3 we added a feature that allows multi-tenant self service recoverability of a tenants Office365 mailbox backup hosted by Veeam Cloud and Service Providers utilising Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 1.5 that was released late last year.

Overview:

Tenant admins communicate with the Service Provider via the Cloud Gateway component which handles flow of data. The Service Provider grants the ability to their tenants so that each tenant can perform self restore operations using Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange. By default, tenants are not able to restore anything from the backup without a Service Provider assistance.

The steps above show the self restore scenarios performed by the Tenant:

  • Tenants use Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange to send restore requests via Veeam Cloud Gateway directly to the Service Provider.
  • On the Service Provider side, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 management server detects a proxy server responsible for processing tenant data.
  • Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 management server locates an associated repository that contains a backup file that belongs to the Tenant.
  • Corresponding backup data is then transferred back to the tenant via Veeam Cloud Gateway.

IMPORTANT!

When planning solution components deployment, remember that Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 v1.5 and Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 3 must be installed on the same server.

Example:

These days I don’t have access to a local Exchange Server or to a corporate Exchange Online instance but I did migrate my personal domain over to Office365 just before Christmas. That account has only one mailbox, but that’s enough to demonstrate the Office365 Service Provider backup and tenant self service recovery use case.

Service Provider Side:

For Service Providers to backup tenants on-premises or Office 365 Exchange mailboxes they need to first configure a new organization in Veeam Backup for Office 365. I’m not going to go through the steps for that as it’s been covered in other posts and is very simple to configure, however to prepare for the self service capability the service provider needs to ensure that the Cloud Connect Gateways are setup and configured and accessible externally.

In Backup for Office 365 you have to enable and configure the RestAPI and Authentication Settings under their respective tabs in the Options menu. This includes selecting an SSL certificate for both services…I’m just using a self signed certificate but obviously service providers will want a correctly signed public certificate to productise this feature.

With the organization configured I created a new job and backed up the Exchange Organization. Again, for this example I just have the one mailbox but the theory is the same weather it’s one, five, fifty or five thousand mailboxes.

From here, without any self service configured the Service Provider can access the mailboxe(s) to perform whole or granular item level recovery using the Veeam Explorer for Exchange. As shown below I can access any mailbox from the service provider’s end and perform recovery to a number of different locations

For each tenant (not per Exchange User) there needs to be a Cloud Connect tenant account created on the Backup & Replication server. This will be used at the tenant end by the admin to configure a Service Provider in the Backup & Replication console which will then be detected and used by the Veeam Explorer for Exchange to use to connect into the service provider and authenticate with an applicable Exchange account.

Tenant End:

For the tenant admin to use Veeam Explorer for Exchange to perform mailbox recovery you first have to configure a Service Provider using Cloud Connect tenant credentials as provided by the Service Provider. It’s worth mentioning here that you can have no license installed in Backup & Replication and are still able to add a Service Provider to the Backup Infrastructure menu. Once connected, firing up the Explorer for Exchange you will use the Service Provider option in the Add Store dropdown.

In the drop down list, select the Service Provider account configured in the Backup Infrastructure menu. If multiple exist you will see each one in the drop down. You also configure the username and password that connects to the Exchange Organization. This can be an admin account that is allowed impersonation, or you can enter in an individual account.

Once connected (which can take some time with the GUI of the Explorer for Exchange) any mailbox that the account has authorization over will be seen and mailbox recovery can begin.

An interesting thing to do is to check what is happening from a network connectivity point of view during this process. While performing a restore you can see open connections from the tenant side to Cloud Connect gateway on port 6180 and also you can see a connection to Office365 on port 443 completing the loop.

Back at the Service Provider end in the Backup for Office365 console you can see active Explorer for Exchange sessions as running jobs. Below you can see the local one, plus a remote session.

Automation:

For Service Providers with the capability to automate the setup and provisioning of these services through PowerShell or the RestAPIs here is a great example of what can be achieved with Backup for Office365 and the creation of a self service portal web interface. You can use the built in Swagger UI to evaluate the capabilities of RestAPIs.

The Swagger UI can be accessed via the following URL:

https://<Backup-Office365>:<Port>/swagger/ui/index

From there you can authenticate and work through the live examples.

Conclusion:

The market for Office365 backups is significant and we have built in some pretty cool technology into Backup & Replication that works with Backup for Office365 that allows easy, self service capabilities that can be productized by Service Providers out of the box. Not only can Service Providers offer services to backup client Exchange Organisations but they can also extend that to offer self service which increases overall operational efficiencies at the provider end while also offering enhanced services to clients.

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/vbo365/guide/vbo_mail_baas.html?ver=15

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/vbo365/rest/swaggerui.html?ver=15

Veeam Vault #9: Backup for Office 365 1.5 GA, Azure Stack and Vanguard Roundup

Welcome to another Veeam Vault! This is the ninth edition and given the last edition was focused around VMware and VMworld I thought just for a change, the focus for this edition will be Microsoft. Reason for that is over the past couple of weeks we have had some significant announcements around Azure Stack and the GA release of Backup for Office 365 1.5. I’ll cover both of those announcements, share some Veeam employee automation work that shows off the power of our new APIs and see what the Veeam Vanguard’s have been blogging about in the last month or so.

Backup for Office 365 1.5 GA:

The early part of my career was dedicated to Exchange Server however I drifted away from that as I made the switch to server virtualization and cloud computing. The old Exchange admin in my is still there however and it’s for that reason that I’m excited about the GA of our Backup for Office 365 product which is now at version 1.5. This release caters specifically for service providers adding scalability and automation enhancements as well as extended support for on-premises and hybrid Exchange setups.

New features and enhancements:

  • Distributed, scalable architecture: Enhanced scalability in distributed environments with several Remote Offices/Branch Offices and in service providers infrastructures
  • Backup proxies: take the workload off the management server, providing flexible throttling policy settings for performance optimization.
  • Support for multiple repositories: Streamlines data backup and restore processes.
  • Support for backup and restore of on-premises and hybrid Exchange organizations: Allows a variety of configurations and usage scenarios and implement those that meet your particular needs.
  • Increased performance: Restore operations allows for up to 5 times faster restores than in v1.0.
  • Restore of multiple datastore mailboxes using Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Exchange: simplifies workflow and minimizes workload for restore operators, as well as 1-Click restore of a mailbox to the original location.
  • RESTful API and PowerShell cmdlets: Helpful for automation of routine tasks and integration into existing or new portals.
  • UI Enhancements: Including main window, wizards, dialogs, and other elements, facilitating administration of the solution.
Examples of the Power of the Veeam APIs:

One of the features of Backup for Office 365 was the addition of a power set of RESTful APIs and PowerShell commandlets that are aimed are service providers automating the setup and management of their offerings around the product. A couple of our employees have written example interfaces for the Backup for Office 365 product and it shows that any service provider with some in house programming skill set can build customer portals that enhances their offerings and increases efficiency through automation.

Special welcome to Niels who this week joined our team. Great to have you on board!

Microsoft Azure Stack Support:

Last week at Microsoft Ignite, we announce our supportability for Azure Stack. This is based around our Windows Agent, Cloud Connect and Availability Console products that combine together to off an availability solution

Key benefits of Veeam’s support for the Azure Stack include:

  • Multi-tenancyVeeam Cloud Connect isolates backup copies for each tenant ensuring security and compliance; 
  • Multiple recovery options: Veeam Backup & Replication supports both granular item level recovery through Veeam Explorers for Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Active Directory and for Oracle, as well as full file level restores for tenant files that were deleted or corrupted;
  • Reporting & Billing: Veeam Availability Console supports real-time monitoring and chargeback on tenant usage, allow either Hosting providers or Enterprise organizations to easily manage and bill their tenants for Availability usage.

Veeam Vanguard Blog Post Roundup:

References:

https://helpcenter.veeam.com/docs/vbo365/guide/vbo_what’s_new_in_v1_5.html?ver=15