Veeam Cloud Connect Review

Easy to backup and restore data to the cloud, and the support is responsive

What is our primary use case?

I am a research consultant and my organization provides various solutions to the market. I work with a variety of solutions, although currently, Veeam is one of the ones that I am focused on.

Basically, we get a lot of inquiries, whether it be from our partners or from end-users. They would like to backup their Office 365. They would like to inquire about how to do so and what are the prerequisites, what exactly is required. Generally speaking, the biggest concern is how much storage is needed to store backups.

Every company has a different backup policy, different RPOs, different retension policies. We help them in determining how much storage they're going to need. That's basically it. That's how we deal with it.

How has it helped my organization?

The most valuable is that basically a lot of customers have the misconception that when they host their data on the Cloud, the Cloud providers actually protect the data. Meanwhile, Cloud Providers are generally responsible for the availability of the service. The data is always the responsibility of whoever owns it. Nobody can ensure the data can always be there. So there's a lot of news cases that happened. Sometimes, people lose data on Office 365. For example, some emails get deleted and they seek the attention of Office 365. On average, it has been discovered that it takes about 140 days for a user to discover the email was deleted.

You never know. Employees become disgruntled all of the sudden. There are also hardware attacks on Office 365, even though there is cybersecurity on Microsoft. Nothing is bulletproof in the cybersecurity industry. So, it's always good to have a second copy of your data.

What is most valuable?

A really good feature is backing up the emails of the company. It also offers an easy ability to restore from the Cloud.

The other really amazing part that it doesn't just stop at Office 365. For example, some people have hybrid setups. They have non-private Exchange email software and then they have a hybrid with Office 365. It is useful for that use case because it can back up both of them at the same time.

What needs improvement?

With the Veeam Backup application, you have really good compression and deduplication ratios, which means you can save lots of space on your backup storage. With Veeam for Office 365 and companies that require long-term retention, they often complain about the capacity storage it might take. There's no deduplication on that level. Basically, a huge amount of storage capacity can be required in certain cases.

The general feedback I get from the market is that there is no deduplication.

Basically, I'd love to see, I'm not sure technically if it's possible to do deduplicate Office 365 documents. Or, what I'd like to see is make a page for support so that you are able to back up to tapes. Usually, I'm a company and I have a long retention plan, and I backup on disk space storage, it's going to cost me a fortune. Meanwhile, if I preserve a short-term retention plan, like backup, if I need to have backups for three years for example, and I'll need huge amounts of storage. Now, storage can be expensive or it can be cheap. This base storage is useful for short time retention. For example, keep it for one month, and then you can archive it on tape for the rest of the year. In a situation where a company needs to restore from long term retention, tape storage is really inexpensive.

So I'd like to see the Veeam Backup to tapes, support Cloud Object Storage, now the new trend for archiving data is not just on tapes and data deduplication appliances, this is considered really old technology. Deduplication appliances are only fit for enterprise customers because they can be expensive, but they save lots of data.

So the only real need for it is in enterprise but some small companies, they'd like to archive their data long-term. They find financial challenges to do so. So nowadays they look to this new Cloud Object Storage with Cloud providers like Azure Blob Storage or Amazon s3 or IBM, they have their own object storage. So that can really be useful for archival. So, basically supporting archive peer for the Veeam Backup for Office 365. Archive peer storage, whether it be the deduplication or Cloud Object Storage or tapes.

It's probably on the way. When you look at Veeam Backup and Replication and how long they have come through the way, probably it's on the way there. There are programs to do all that I have said to you if the client is also using Veeam Backup with Replication. Because you can basically install Veeam Backup for Office 365 with a VM and just back it up using the Veeam Backup with Replication, then you can get the use of the deduplication then you can archive to the Cloud by a virtual machine. There are workarounds, too.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this product for about one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

To be honest, it's pretty stable. It's the third major release for it. It is showing lots of improvements. Not any issues of instability with the product at all, whether it be with backing-up or restoring.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The good part about them is that they make modular solutions, so, basically, you can install Veeam Backup for Office 365, and Veeam Backup and Verification in one single server, or all in one installation, and roll it out.

There's a lot of companies that use this solution and they range from 15 users to companies that have 5,000 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Generally speaking about Veeam, as a vendor, from a technical support perspective, I've really enjoyed the fact that they have a really high response rate. You can just open a support ticket, and just call them on the phone and you refer to the ticket number. Then, you just have a remote engineer who also engages in technical support. They are very supportive in general, I love the support there.

I enjoy it, Veeam's support. I enjoy it a lot because it helps me a lot when I am with a client, and an issue presents, and I'm not able to resolve it. I open a support ticket and call the toll free number, and have an engineer engage with me within five minutes, which is amazing for my establishment.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not use another solution prior to this one.

How was the initial setup?

To be honest, it's easy as downloading the file and installing it. Then, just simply add the administrative accounts for Office 365. Having internet access is required, of course. It's really an easy task and it's literally just next, next, next.

So, from an ease of use perspective, it's really good. It's just that when enterprise companies come to deploy it, they might face a bit of a challenge. Specifically, when it comes to internet bandwidth. When organizations have, for example, 5,000 users or huge mailboxes, then it is a problem if there are bandwidth restrictions. Here in Saudi Arabia, bandwidth is a huge restriction. It's really expensive to have a corporate internet in Saudi Arabia. So, it can be a challenge when backing up these environments under restricted bandwidths. It's not a restriction from the solution. It's just a regional restriction. Other markets can enjoy the privilege of backing up with any issues related to bandwidth.

It's also deployable on the Cloud. That's an option, although over here in the region, some government entities don't allow that.

We recently did a PoC that I will use as an example. We were backing up a physical server using the other product and it took us about half an hour. During that half an hour, I downloaded Veeam Backup 365 Office 365 from the website. I joined the client's Office 365 account. Downloaded and installed Veeam Backup for Office 365. Then I asked for the client to enter his credentials and boom. We were seeing all the mailboxes and we just started to run backups from there.

Backup, of course, because the mailbox was pretty huge it does take some time. Generally, ease of use and configuration is pretty simple. It's easy and straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

So, it's basically a decision criterion for them, to have a solution that's really, really easy to use and manage. It doesn't require more than one person from a backup perspective, because I come from a technical background in this and the best practice is always to have some redundancy on it. You can have two, but you don't really need two people. It's just for the fact that if someone just doesn't show up to work or something goes wrong with backups and this guy is not available, someone else should be there. But purely speaking, it's a one-man job, and he can also share with other IT.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are other options because Veeam backup for Office 365 is the software, and backing up from the internet, or you can install it on any Windows VM on the cloud as well. There are other options like NetApp, and they have software in the server, in which you don't have to really worry about installing the software onto anything. They'll backup the data for you and keep it, and some clients may not be keen on that with the privacy component. Also, some clients want to have a copy of the data with themselves here.

However, it is also heedless when it comes to infrastructure resources. You don't have to worry about having servers put in place, dedicated for Veeam backup for Office 365, and the storage that you need, and then worry about the bandwidth that you need. These kinds of operational costs as well. Some of that, I've seen and I've heard about the benefit of having the staff offer other backup solutions, but I've never even thought deep into it.

There are some clients kind of do the backup manually as well. It's kind of a tedious job. Maybe when it's a small environment, it can be manageable. But for a big environment, it can be a nightmare.

What other advice do I have?

So, the use basically is for two use cases. It's a combination of three use cases. Compliance, some companies nowadays, compliance standards force them to have a specific backup policy and a specific retention policy, and it's kind of hard to do that manually. Some people just prefer to have a solution that also meets that. That makes it easy. That's compliant. However, some people just want to take their detail. Some people are actually upset about protecting their data being that it's pretty evident.

Just sum it short, the backup server is the granular solution. It's basically responsible for managing the tasks and the jobs and all of the other components. The backup proxy is basically the muscle of the solution. This is what actually is interacting with Office 365 and doing the actual backup, it is coordinating the Veeam backup server to do that.

You either have radically attached storage or you have storage over the network or it's shared, or it might be a sound storage. Regardless, just any storage that is presented to the Windows operating system, you can use it as storage for the Veeam backup. As long as you have internet connectivity, and no firewall is in place, or specifically, the required firewall forced to be open, that is okay. 

Most of the users we deal with are shared. They are behind the entire IT environment. The main pitch from our end is based on the fact that this edition is really easy to use, and we want you to try it and see that. Because nowadays, there's a lot of challenges in the market. Clients don't usually have dedicated IT personnel for everything. They usually share one IT person of all the IT folks, for all the workflows in the IT department.

Honestly speaking, lots of people just look at it from a business point of view. Like, hey, I just have a business need, I just want to backup my Office 365 data. But, they don't take much concern into what that also requires. Generally speaking, from a backup point of view, the biggest concern is how much data, and what the percentage would be, that you'd like to backup, and how much of the capacity of this data.

Also, what are the recovery point objectives, and how frequently do you want to do backups? What kind of retention policy are you trying to achieve, and the shorter the retention policy, the smaller the storage capacity you need, the lower the cost of the solution. But at the same time, some people are tied by their clients and by specific retention policies. So, tell people they need to archive their backups into application appliances, to save on the cost of storage like I do. However, that's not recently possible with Veeam backup for Office 365 yet. Nonetheless, it can be done manually, I believe.

So that's basically it. That's what clients need to be careful of and the really important part is to make sure they have enough storage for what they are trying to achieve as they prepare their backup plan. Then, make sure they have the internet bandwidth for this. It is always best to have the ability to channel for this. Backups have to be properly sized, then they should be good to go. They should be worrying about the details part, the sizing, design, and the solution to fit their needs. Other than that, so long as that process goes well, it is pretty seamless after that.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Distributor.
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