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With Microsoft Office 365 backup, Veeam breaks into new market

Veeam's beta program for backing up Microsoft Office 365 pulls in 1,500 downloads within a few days of the offering's release. Customers want local protection for Exchange data.

Veeam Software has joined ranks of vendors who provide backup and recovery for the software-as-a-service Microsoft Office 365 cloud application.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 went into beta last month. The vendor claims about 1,500 beta downloads of the Microsoft Office 365 backup in the first few days, indicating Office 365 users want copies of their email and other data on premises.

Microsoft Office 365 does not guarantee data recovery, putting the onus squarely on the customer to protect the cloud platform.

"It's a natural conclusion that this feels anti-cloud to bring the data back locally," said Rick Vanover, director of technical product marketing at Veeam. "But if you talk to 100 tech leaders, they say their most painful application is Microsoft Exchange. We are bringing the data back home, so customers maintain availability."

Brien Posey, a Microsoft MVP, outlined in a SearchDataBackup story the problems customers encounter with Microsoft Office 365 backup.

"Microsoft's primary mechanisms for protecting Office 365-based Exchange Servers are geographically distributed database availability groups," Posey said. "Microsoft says they also perform traditional backups of Office 365 servers. However, those backups are used for internal purposes only if they experienced a catastrophic event that wiped out large volumes of customer data. Although Microsoft may occasionally restore data for a customer, the company seems to discourage the practice."

Veeam's Microsoft Office 365 backup is integrated with Veeam Backup & Replication, which means customers can back up to hybrid cloud environments and migrate mailbox data between Office 365 and on-premises Exchange Servers.

"It communicates to Office 365 through the organization's credentials," Vanover said. "So, if I put a mailbox in 365, we talk to the administrator's account from 365 and put it in an on-premises data center or Azure. We don't install agents, we just communicate to 365 and the mailbox can be stored wherever the customer wants.

Veeam's Microsoft Office 365 backup is integrated with Veeam Backup & Replication.

"We are looking to guarantee availability for a SaaS offering. Not every product gets these kinds of great [download numbers], and it tells us that people want backup for 365."

Vanover said customers now have the added benefit of maintaining their own retention requirements.

"We had a long discussion about whether we should make this a stand-alone product," he said. "This is a contained separate product. The fact that we are addressing a whole new target audience is a big deal for us."

Veeam expects general availability for its Microsoft Office 365 backup later this year.

Other backup vendors protect Office 365 and other SaaS applications, such as Salesforce, with cloud-to-cloud backup. In those cases, data from the SaaS apps are copied to another cloud -- usually Amazon Web Services or a cloud managed by the backup vendor. Veeam can use Microsoft Azure for cloud-to-cloud backup, but also will move Office 365 data to the customer site.

Cloud-to-cloud backup apps include Dell EMC Spanning, Datto Backupify and Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup. Others, such as Asigra Cloud Backup, include it in their main backup application.

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