What is our primary use case?
We use Veeam because — while Microsoft provides a terrific environment called Office 365 — they do not back up files that are stored there. The files most customers are concerned about are OneDrive and SharePoint files, but they often overlook their mailboxes and the Exchange piece of Office 365. It is the customer's responsibility to actually back that data up, which Microsoft does not do a good job in sharing with you. We had moved all of our file server shares to OneDrive and SharePoint, and we were just over a terabyte of data. To make sure they were being backed up properly, I implemented Veeam Office 365 Backup.
How has it helped my organization?
It has given us some peace of mind when it comes to backing up Office 365 files that Microsoft does not include in the 365 backup structure.
What is most valuable?
What I like in this particular module within Veeam is that it allows you to restore mailboxes selectively. Instead of having to restore all the mailboxes that you have backed up, you can be more targeted. Let's say you had a request from the vice president to get their entire mailbox restored. They are typically the guys who blow up their mailboxes. I could restore just their mailbox from the backup and no one else's. But it gets even more granular as I can also restore individual folders inside their mailbox. It gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of what you are able to restore.
In SharePoint and OneDrive, you are able to restore down to the file level, which is really handy. It gives you a lot of restore options. Their GUI is just stupid easy to use. You basically go in, you browse the different modules — whether it is Exchange or SharePoint or OneDrive as the parent — you click on your tenant name, then you go to exchange the mailboxes, and then you go under the individual user that you want to restore. That could be the whole mailbox, or a folder, or whatever. It just takes a couple of clicks and it is done. It just works.
What needs improvement?
One of the things that should probably be improved is the pricing model. The price is based on a per-user charge. I wish that was not the case because it is not really in use by most of the users. It is not all that often that people need something restored. I do not know how they would change it exactly, but it just does not seem appropriate. If they can change their pricing model, that is only going to help to get more people to adopt it. They could make it more affordable.
A better pricing model would just make sense and be better for some companies. We do not have an issue, thank goodness. But some companies might be a little bit strapped for cash. As a solution that completes their backup regimen, it is a requirement whether they know it or not. You hate to see the pricing make the decision and exclude people from something that they essentially need. If they could make it more affordable, that would be better for everybody.
As far as adding features, unless Office changes, they do not need to change their feature set. It is already feature-rich. It has a really nice GUI and it is very easy to manage once you get logged in. So no, right now I would not change anything. Change is not always a good thing.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using Veeam backup for a couple of years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability of the system is awesome. It all depends on what the underlying operating system is. If you are running a Windows Server, that is your biggest worry. But if you are doing all of this in Linux, then it is solid.
The application itself is solid. You do not have to upgrade memory. You do not have to do anything like that. It is very solid. Assuming your underlying OS is running well — even if it is Windows — and you have got the current version, that is great. The product itself is very stable. I think Veeam goes a long way to validate and test this product before they send it out to the market. I find it to be very good and reliable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
As to scalability, right now, if you wanted to expand usage because you have more users, you have to buy more licenses. There is really no limit. The only limit is your wallet. That is also why I like the idea of a different licensing model: so I do not have to constantly consider the number of licenses. That cost depends on how many people you are going to onboard just makes it cumbersome. You could pay upfront each year, and try to figure out how many licenses we are going to need, but that is just a guess. We do that and I have never taken licenses back, so I do not know how good Veeam would be with that type of request. But that is another reason why a different licensing model makes sense: it would allow me to scale a little bit easier. You change the number of users in an organization far more frequently than you change the number of cores.
Currently, in our organization, I would say there are about 50 or 60 users on Veeam Office 365 Backup. I would call that relatively small. Veeam has lots of other companies as customers that are way larger. There are integrators out there that include this stuff in modeling for companies big and small. I'm pretty confident that it scales easily even for large organizations.
We do not have anybody on staff to deploy and maintain the system. It is just another part of the architecture and one of the many hats that we all wear. After the set up is done, it is just a part of the monitoring checklist. You come in and get yourself all squared away. You check the backups — what completed, and what did not — then you check these backups to be sure everything backed up successfully. If it did, that is great. If not, you have to find out why. We have internal policies behind how we address failed backups. So there are a certain number of retries that we do before it leads to having to really research a failure as an issue.
How are customer service and technical support?
I have used the tech support for the product. They are all very good. They have a great website and there are a lot of self-help documents. That is typically what they point you to when you need assistance. But all you have to say is that you are not really so technical and you need a walk-through — even if it is stretching the truth a little bit — and they will help you out. Somebody doing the installation could download the right document, but even then they will walk you through it. It is quick and hardly takes them any time anyway.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Of the other software that I used prior to Veeam for backup or recovery solutions, probably the most relevant is NetBackup from Veritas. We used the Veritas NetBackup Appliance. Veeam for Office 365 is more targeted.
How was the initial setup?
The setup for the product was straight forward. The actual deployment of the product was very quick. I would say it was inside of 20 minutes. After the installation, it has to go out and discover all the mailboxes and folders and stuff, and that can take a couple of hours. So I would say the amount of time it took in total was probably two or three hours. The actual keyboard time, was about 20 minutes. It depends a bit on how big the environment is. If you have a huge environment then it will take more than two hours to do all the discovery.
What about the implementation team?
We did the implementation all by ourselves. We did not need anything like an integrator or tech support or help from the vendor.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I think the pricing model is wrong. Veeam itself is licensed according to the number of cores you have on your system. Maybe in pricing the backup solution they could just match that same model. So instead of having the Veeam license — which you have to have in order to use the Office 365 backup — and tacking on a per-user charge, they could base the cost on the CPU cores instead. Just tell clients that if they want the additional Office 365 Backup option it increases the cost by whatever amount pr billing period. It simplifies billing and cost tracking. Anything they could do to lower the actual cost of using the product would be good.
But in the end, right now, the Office 365 Backup component is licensed separately per user. It works in conjunction with the basic Veeam license so you need that too, but it is a separate tool in terms of licensing. You can not get it independently.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Before choosing this product, we did not actually evaluate any competition, which is not the usual due diligence. Veeam does not really have competition in the Office 365 Backup space. That really made the decision a slam dunk for me. It was the one product that solved the issue and it works.
What other advice do I have?
On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Veeam Backup for Office 365 as a seven or eight. Choosing between the two, I give it a seven. I have to ding them a little bit because of the licensing. I am really not thrilled with that.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?