Start protecting Office 365 in under 3 minutes

Office 365 is getting a lot of well deserved attention,  it’s an easy to use platform to provide your company with lots functionality without the need to heavily invest in on-premises infrastructure and hardware. Microsoft makes sure Office 365 is highly available and have all bits and pieces redundant. However, Microsoft does not own your data – You do! There are lots of different ways you might lose data: accidental deletion, ransomware and so on… A good read on the subject is a white paper from Veeam wich discusses 6 different areas:

  • Accidental deletion
  • Retention policy gaps and confusion
  • Internal security threats
  • External security threats
  • Legal and compliance requirements
  • Managing hybrid email deployments and migrations to Office 365

”With Office 365, it’s your data. You own it. You control it.”


Since it’s your data it is also your responsibility to protect your data.  Now, how would you go about doing that?

Veeam Backup for Office 365 is currently in version 1.5 and supports backing up the mail environment of Office 365. Release 2.0 has been announced and will be released sometime later this year (at VeeamON maybe?), with version 2.0 you will be able to also backup OneDrive and SharePoint. And if you buy Veeam Backup for Office 365 today (version 1.5) you will get the added features down the line  with no additional fees or purchases, just upgrade the installation with the latest bits. Great stuff!

Another cool feature of Office 365 / Veeam Backup for Office 365 is that since both Office 365 and an on-premises Exchange server uses the same APIs you can use Veeam Backup for Office 365 to back up both environments if you have a hybrid installation, or you can even use Veeam as a migration tool – unidirectional of course!

But what does it take to start protecting your Office 365 mail environment? As it turns out, not a lot! It is REALLY simple to start backing up. As the video will show you, it took me no more than 3 minutes to start the first backup, quite impressive and again so simple to install.

See for yourself, the video shows installation of both Veeam Backup for Office 365 and Veeam Explorer for Exchange and configuring a new backup job in under 3 minutes:

Veeam Backup & Replication update 3 released!

Update 3 has just been released for Veeam Backup & Replication. Update 3 comes with a lot of new cool functionality:

Storage Snapshots Integrations
New strategic partnerships and storage integrations include:

  • IBM Spectrum Virtualize – IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and the IBM Storwize family
  • Lenovo Storage V series

Bringing functionalities to these arrays like Backup from Storage Snapshots, Explorers for Storage Snapshots

Recycle bin for Cloud Connect
As a way of protecting backups from maliciously being deleted if someone gets access to the tenants credentials, deleted backups will now be placed in a recycle bin for a configurable amount of days but to the user they’re gone. This way it will still be possible to retrieve backup files and restore VMs and/or files even though from a user perspective the backup files seems lost. Once the backup files have been deleted and temporarily placed in the recycle bin, the backup files will not consume valuable resources from the disk quota. When the deleted backup files needs to be used the tenant has to contact the service provider to have the service provider restore the backup files from the recycle bin back to the tenants repository.

VMware Cloud on AWS
Support for backing up VMs running och VMware Cloud on AWS

Veeam ONE
Agent monitoring and reporting

  • Protected agents
  • Agent backup status
  • Identify agents with no backup copy

Backup Compliance reporting

  • Geolocation of Data Protection Report: List all data sources grouped by production location and location of their copies/replicas
  • Data Geolocation Mismatch Report: List all data sources that have one or more copies where the location is different from the production data

Agent only use: 0-socket license required for enabling advanced funtionalities (Scale-Out Backup repository, Tape, WAN accelerator) in Backup & Replication when using agents if you’re not using Backup & Replication for backing up any virtual environment.

Veeam Agents
Centralized deployment and management giving you a single pane of glass for all backups and restores regardless of location in the environment – VMs or physical servers, you can even install Agents on VMs running in the Cloud or on any hypervisor.

Veeam Agents for Microsoft Windows 2.1

  • Windows Failover Cluster
    • Includes SQL AlwaysOn, Windows Failover Cluster and Exchange Database Availability Groups
  • Change Block tracking driver for faster incremental backups of Windows Servers
  • Microsoft OneDrive support as a backup target

This means you can you Veeam Explorers to restore application-items from Exchange, SQL

Veeam Agents for Linux 2.0

  • Scale-Out Backup Repository
  • Direct backup to Cloud Connect
  • Source side encryption

Release notes can be found here

How and why series – Veeam Backup & Replication SureBackup

After the first episode of my ”How and why”-series in which I talked about VMware VSAN I thought it’d be fun to show you why I love Veeam so much and in particular the function SureBackup. SureBackup is all about verifying your backup data (your VMs) in a super smart way. The bottom line is, if you need to restore anything you KNOW that the restore will work.

Again, the video is in swedish only.

(Re)claim your space!

In one of my previous posts, Is Bitlooker from Veeam a game-changer?, I wrote about the benefits of using Bitlooker for backup jobs when using Veeam Backup & Replication v9.x however Bitlooker is a feature that is not only available for backup jobs – you can use it for replication jobs as well.

So I thought it’d be fun to see what difference, if any, it makes. The goal of my tests is to figure out the most effective way of copying/replicating a VM from one host to another.

The set up for the test:

A virtual machine is installed with Windows Server 2016 standard edition. 100 GB disk assigned to the VM, thin provisioned. The disk is then filled with files (a bunch of iso-files of different sizes). That’s the baseline, then roughly 85 GB will be deleted (all the added iso-files) – then trashcan will be emptied. So we’ll have some blocks containing stale/old data, the blocks are marked as available to be reused from the operating system point of view but they haven’t been zeroed out so from any hypervisor (outside the VM) it just looks as any other block containing data.

Operating system installed (Windows Server 2016) and updated. The VM now consumes 13,5 GB worth of storage.

Then a bunch of files were added (almost) filling the entire disk.

From the vSphere side of it:

At this point the just added files were removed and trashcan emptied.

And from vSphere:

Now the command ‘ls’ will not show the actual size, so ‘du’ can be used instead to see the actual size of the vmdk file:

I’m going to test 4 different scenarios:

  1.  Migrate the VM from one host to another offline (VM will be shutdown).
  2. Replicating the virtual machine with VMware vSphere Replication 6.5.
  3. Replicating the virtual machine with Veeam Backup & Replication without Bitlooker enabled.
  4. Replicating the virtual machine with Veeam Bitlooker enabled.

The thesis, or point to prove, is that test 1-3 will have no or little impact on the size of the vmdk file however – magic will happen on test 4. So lets perform the tests and find out for real!

Test 1:

VM moved to another host while offline and now let’s explore what can be seen using different methods.

Inside the VM:

From the host:

So no change in vmdk file size as expected.

Test 2:

The virtual machine will be replicated to another host using VMware vSphere Replication 6.5.

VMware vSphere has been configured using the following settings:

Not alot of settings, in fact, the above settings will have no impact on the vmdk size. They will only have control how the snapshot on the VM will be generated (crash consistent vs consistent backup) and the impact the replication job will have on the network.

Inside the VM:

From the host:

Since ‘ls’ doesn’t show the actual size on a thin disk, disk usage ‘du’ is used instead:

So no change in vmdk file size as expected.

Test 3:

The virtual machine is replicated to another host using Veeam Backup & Replication v9.5.

Replication from a Veeam perspective has been set up, to make a fair comparison to the VMware replication test (test 2), the Veeam job will not use exclude swap file blocks:

Processed and read data in the picture below tells us that Veeam doesn’t know the difference between blocks in use and blocks marked as deleted (the same applies for almost all backup vendors):

Inside the VM:

From the host:

And using ‘du’:

So no change in vmdk file size as expected.


Test 4:

Know time for the fun stuff. The virtual machine will be replicated to another host using Veeam Backup & Replication v9.5. We will use both space saving techniques we can enable on the job (with application-aware processing we can also exclude specific files, folders, file extensions but we’re not using that feature in this test)

Now, this is the magic we were looking for! The  proxy server has processed all of the data but it has only read data that contain used blocks!

From the VM:

From the host:

Now the vSphere web client combine the .vmdk and -flat.vmdk file into one (like it’s done forever):

And the disk usage utility shows:

Yikes! That’s cool stuff!


Bitlooker is a feature you should have enabled on any relevant job. It certainly can be used to reclaim that precious storage space you so desperately need.  Heck, why no use it as part of your normal failover testing, cause you’ll already doing that right? Once a month (or how often you feel appropriate) do a planned failover using Veeam Backup & Replication, verify that you DR plan works and as an added bonus you reclaim disk space in the process!

And yet another benefit is the spent replicating the virtual machine, without Bitlooker it took 30 minutes to replicate the VM from one host to another but it was just shy of 7 minutes with Bitlooker enabled.

So seriously, why are you not using this magic thing? There’s only one drawback, Bitlooker supports only NTFS file system (=Windows VMs).

Veeam, PowerShell and SAN snapshot

So a week or so ago I wrote a post about using PowerShell to add snapshots to a SAN found in Veeam Backup & Replication. It was a quick test to see if it worked, now I’ve slightly improved the script.

The Get-HP4* cmdlets is specifically for HPE StoreVirtual VSA/P4000/LeftHand line. If you have another supported SAN Storage system use the correct cmdlets:

NetAPP Storage Systems
HPE 3Par StoreServ Storage Systems
HPE StoreVirtual Storage Systems
EMC VNX Storage Systems

You can accomplish the same thing using the management tool for the SAN, taking recurring snapshots. But in the case of HPE StoreVirtual it’s a licensed feature and it can only occur every 30 minutes so if you need it more often or you’re lacking the license you can use the PowerShell script instead.

Add-PSSnapin VeeamPSSnapIn -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

$source_storage = ‘Veeam-VSA-MGMTG’
$source_cluster = ‘veeam-vsa-cluster’
$source_vol_name = ‘datastore1’
$snapshot_name = ‘Oh_snap_’+(Get-Date -Format MMddhhmm)

#Create a new snapshot
try {
$getvolume = (Get-HP4Storage -Name $source_storage | Get-HP4cluster -Name $source_cluster | Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name)
‘getvolume-Name: ‘ + $getvolume.Name
‘getvolume-InternalId: ‘ + $getvolume.InternalId
‘getvolume-IsThin: ‘ + $getvolume.IsThinProvision
‘getvolume-Size: ‘ + $getvolume.Size

$getvolume | Add-HP4Snapshot -name $snapshot_name
} catch {
‘Failed to find storage, cluster or datastore’
‘Unable to create snapshot’

#Remove the oldest snapshot if more than 4 are available
$getsnapshot = ($getvolume | Get-HP4Snapshot | Where-Object {$_.Name -like ‘Oh_snap_*’})
$snapshot_count = @($getsnapshot).Count

if ($snapshot_count -ge 4) {
$getsnapshot | Sort-Object creationtimeutc | Select-Object -First 1 | Remove-HP4Snapshot

Populate your Veeam lab with PowerShell

If you, like me, have the need to constantly rebuild a lab environment where the servers are installed already but it lacks any configuration you probably realized that PowerShell is you friend. I have a lab environment that I tear down and build up again really often using templates in my VMware environment. In this environment I have all the infrastructure components installed but not configured in Veeam Backup & Replication so whenever I want to show-and-tell I first need to configure stuff. It might take a while to do, so why not automate with PowerShell?

The script below adds a few managed servers, adds backup proxies, creates a Scale-Out Backup Repository with 2 extents, adds 2 WAN accelerators. On top of that it adds a Tape proxy, connects to a HP VSA and takes a snapshot.

Add-PSSnapin VeeamPSSnapIn -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

$Infra_Administrator = "Domain1\Administrator"
$Infra_Password = 'Password1'
$Lab_Administrator = "Domain2\Administrator"
$Lab_Password = 'Password2'
$ESXi_root = "root"
$ESXi_Password = 'Password3'
$Oracle_User = "oracle"
$Oracle_Password = 'Password4'
$HPE_User = 'HpeUser'
$HPE_Password = 'Password5'
$VBRserver = Get-VBRServer -Name "VEEAM-VBR.domain1.local"

Add-VBRCredentials -Type Windows -User $Infra_Administrator -Password $Infra_Password -Description $Infra_Administrator
Add-VBRCredentials -Type Windows -User $Lab_Administrator -Password $Lab_Password -Description $Lab_Administrator
Add-VBRCredentials -Type Linux -User $Oracle_User -Password $Oracle_Password -SshPort 23 -ElevateToRoot -AddToSudoers -RootPassword $Oracle_Password -Description "oracle"

#Add servers as ”managed servers”
Add-VBRESXi –Name "VEEAM-ESX" -user root -password 'Password3'
Add-VBRWinServer -Name "VEEAM-HYPERV" -credentials $Infra_Administrator
Add-VBRWinServer -Name "VEEAM-Remote" -credentials $Infra_Administrator
Add-VBRHvHost -Name "VEEAM-HYPERV" -credentials $Infra_Administrator

#Remove/Add proxy with 1 concurrent task limit
Get-VBRViProxy -Name "VMware Backup Proxy" | Remove-VBRViProxy -Confirm
Add-VBRViProxy -Server $VBRserver -Description "VMware Backup Proxy" -MaxTasks 1

#Add Backup Repositories and Scale-Out Backup Repository
Add-VBRBackupRepository -Server $VBRserver -Name "Remote Repository" -Folder "X:\Backups" -Type WinLocal -MaxConcurrentJobs 4 -Credentials $Infra_Administrator
Add-VBRBackupRepository -Name "Local Backup Repository" -Server $VBRserver -Folder "E:\Backups" -Type WinLocal -MountServer $VBRserver -VPowerNFSFolder "C:\ProgramData\Veeam\Backup\NfsDatastore" -MaxConcurrentJobs 4 -Credentials $Infra_Administrator
Set-VBRConfigurationBackupJob -Repository "Remote Repository"
Add-VBRScaleOutBackupRepository -Name "Main Backup Repository" –PolicyType DataLocality –Extent “Default Backup Repository”, “Local Backup Repository”

#Add WAN accelerators
Add-VBRWANAccelerator -Server "VEEAM-Remote" -Description "Remote WAN Accelerator" -CachePath "X:\VeeamWAN" -CacheSize 10 -CacheSizeUnit GB
Get-VBRLocalhost | Add-VBRWANAccelerator -Description "Local WAN Accelerator" -CachePath "X:\VeeamWAN" -CacheSize 10 -CacheSizeUnit GB

#Add a Virtual Lab and Application group
$VLABhost = Get-VBRServer -Type ESXi
$VLABdatastore = Find-VBRViDatastore -Name "datastore1" -Server $VLABhost
Add-VSBVirtualLab -Name "VEEAM-ESX VLAB1" -Server $VLABhost -Datastore $VLABdatastore

Find-VBRViEntity -Name "VEEAM-DC01", "VEEAM-EX01" | Add-VSBViApplicationGroup -Name "Exchange"

#Add SAN and Tape and make a snapshot on the SAN
Add-HP4Storage -DnsOrIpAddress "" -User $HPE_User -Password $HPE_Password -Description "HPE Storage"
Get-VBRServer -Name "VEEAM-Remote" | Add-VBRTapeServer
Get-HP4Volume -name "datastore1" | Add-HP4Snapshot -name "datastore1_SS_1"

Veeam and PowerShell: A perfect match!

I read a really good and useful blog post a while ago from Preben Berg from Veeam describing how to use PowerShell to restore a database from backup to a dev environment. This made me think on another scenario that would be fun to script that might come in handy someday.

What if you have a SAN that you would want do snapshots on once an hour and save some of those historical snapshots rotating the oldest one.

Now for the disclaimer part, this is merely meant to showcase how you might accomplish this. There are no safety features built in. Do not use it in production and use it at your own risk. However if you’d like to do some further testing of your own, you can download a virtual SAN from HP – free of charge up to 1 TB. Nice!

First things first. We need to create a PowerShell script.

Let’s define which volume to use:
$source_vol_name = "datastore1"

Then we add a naming convention to use for the snapshots with a timestamp at the end:
$snapshot_name = "Oh_snap_"+(Get-Date -Format MMddhhmm)

Let’s count how many snapshots exist on the volume:
$snapshot_count = @(Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name | Get-HP4Snapshot).Count

Now let’s create a snapshot:
$snapshot_create_session = Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name | Add-HP4Snapshot -name $snapshot_name -description "Automated snapshot"

I would like to save the 4 latest snapshots on the volume and delete the oldest:
if ($snapshot_count -ge 4 {
$snapshot_remove_session = Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name | Get-HP4Snapshot | Sort-Object creationtimeutc | Select-Object -First 1 | Remove-HP4Snapshot

If I would leave out ”Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name”  in the above statement then I would delete to oldest snapshot available on any of the volumes (not just datastore1) which is not our intent.

Let’s put it all together:

Add-PSSnapin VeeamPSSnapIn -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

$source_vol_name = ”datastore1”
$snapshot_name = ”Oh_snap_”+(Get-Date -Format MMddhhmm)
$snapshot_count = @(Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name | Get-HP4Snapshot).Count

$snapshot_create_session = Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name | Add-HP4Snapshot -name $snapshot_name -description ”Automated snapshot”

if ($snapshot_count -ge 4 {
$snapshot_remove_session = Get-HP4Volume -name $source_vol_name | Get-HP4Snapshot | Sort-Object creationtimeutc | Select-Object -First 1 | Remove-HP4Snapshot

That’s all, just a few lines of code and we can accomplish cool things.

Then all we have to do is add the script as a scheduled task on the VBR server and run it once an hour or what ever intervall we’d like.

But let’s see how the infrastructure looks prior to running the script:

1. SAN datastores


Open Task Scheduler and create a new task:

2. Create scheduled task


Let’s configure it to run once an hour starting at 10 PM:

3. Run at 1 hour intervall


We add and action, starting the PowerShell script:

4. Add PowerShell script to run


Looks ok once it’s added:

5. Scheduled task has been added


First time the script ran a snapshot was created as expected:

6. First run of the script


(I changed the script to run every 5 minutes to speed up the process), now we have 4 snapshots:

7. 4 initial snaps


When the fifth snapshot has been taken the oldest snapshot is deleted (the snapshot created at 10:07 PM in the previous picture):

8. 4 snaps rolling