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The right storage for your Microsoft Office 365 backup

If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already made two good decisions. The first is that you’ve decided to backup Microsoft Office 365. It could either be your Office 365 or your client’s Office 365. Either way, it’s a great move. Office 365 is not just email or Exchange online, it also comes with SharePoint online, and OneDrive for business and Teams. Depending on the license, Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel may also be included. But what’s not included is any kind of native backup feature.

Somewhere along the line (hopefully not here) you’ve learned that Microsoft Office 365 data can be vulnerable to malicious attacks and accidental deletion. Archive and Hold are two Office 365 features that are often mistaken as backup alternatives. When “Archive Mailbox” is enabled, Office 365 moves email data older than 2 years from the primary mailbox to the archive mailbox. This doesn’t copy any of the data. It is only moved from one location to another. Once an email is deleted, you have 30 days to retrieve it from the recycle bin, after that, it’s gone forever, and archive can’t help you. Using the “In-place Hold” feature keeps mailbox data in place for a specific number of days. This is good for compliance and legal policies, but it doesn’t make copies. So again, not a backup. In the case of OneDrive, there is a sync tool that some people think is a backup feature, but it only syncs your hard drive and cloud files. Sync and backup are not the same thing. If you delete your local copy, your cloud copy will soon be gone too. So, knowing all of this, it makes sense to use an Office 365 backup tool. Good decision #1.

Good decision #2 is using Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 (VBO). It’s the #1 backup and recovery tool for Office 365.

  • It’s installed by 99,000 businesses worldwide
  • It’s protecting over 10 million mailboxes
  • It’s easy to use and affordable

Veeam introduced VBO almost four years ago, and it became a great success because it’s simple, light, fast to deploy and the restore process is familiar to Veeam Backup & Recovery’s powerful granular restore. But one of the best reasons to use VBO is that it gives you options to store the backup data where you want; on premises or in cloud object storage.

Some users will choose to store their Office 365 backups on premises; which works out well if you have the storage capacity available. Many customers prefer the cloud for backup storage because of its lower cost and simplicity.

Now let’s look at the next big decision you’ll face – where to store the Office 365 backup data.

If you have existing capacity available on-prem, great. It makes sense to use it if you have it. If you don’t have capacity available on-prem, do you really want to consider buying more? Using a SaaS platform like Microsoft Office 365 means that you’ve already committed to moving more IT functions to the cloud so there is less to manage on-prem. Let cloud service providers manage software versions, power, cooling, racking & stacking equipment, and other operations. Backing up Office 365 to on-prem storage seems counterproductive.

So, if you’ve decided that on-prem storage is not the right decision for your backup data, because either you don’t have the existing capacity available or you don’t want to purchase more – then cloud object storage is the way to go. Again, the great thing about Veeam is that they give you plenty of choices.

Your cloud options include AWS, Azure, IBM, and of course, Wasabi. If you’re even the slightest bit familiar with Wasabi, you know that we pride ourselves on being less complex and significantly less expensive that AWS, Azure and the others. With Wasabi, if you know what your storage capacity is, you’ll know exactly what your cloud storage bill will be. Most people have no idea how much Office 365 data they need to protect. If it were on-prem Exchange or SharePoint, you could look at the database size to get an idea of how much capacity you need. For Office 365 you can log into the Admin Portal, use the side menu to find the “Reports” section and choose “usage”. You have options to find usage stats for each Office 365 application. You can see usage over 7 days, 30, 90, or 180 days. Use these growth figures to calculate growth as a percentage. With the Admin Portal and usage reports, you will know how much data you have, it’s percentage growth and therefore you will know how much cloud storage you need.

As I mentioned, with Wasabi, if you know the amount of storage you need for your backup data, you’ll be able to predict exactly what your cost is. When comparing the cost of Wasabi storage to the cost of other object storage offerings including AWS and Azure, it is important to look beyond the initial per-GB/mo price of the storage itself. This is because they have a host of other charges that will significantly increase the cost and unpredictability of their storage relative to Wasabi. Because AWS and Azure charge you for API calls, you need to somehow figure out how many PUT/COPY/POST (write actions) and GET (read actions) requests your Office 365 backup generates.  The total number of requests can vary wildly depending on the read/write activity of your VBO. Unless you are a storage scientist, it can be quite challenging to estimate this value. With AWS and Azure surprise bills are fairly common. When you factor in all the egress and retrieval fees for any data you take out of AWS and Azure, the total monthly cost is often much higher than anticipated. Nobody seems to know what their AWS or Azure bill for Veeam Backup Office 365 is going to be month-to-month, and I can tell you that CFOs do not like radically unpredictable costs. It’s bad business.

At Wasabi, we believe cloud storage should be truly simple and truly affordable.  And we put our money where our mouth is.  We offer one product—with straightforward, predictable and economical pricing. With Wasabi you won’t have to try to make sense of confusing storage classes.  And you won’t have to worry about being nickel and dimed for each API call and surprise egress charges.

Wasabi is significantly easier to understand and significantly less expensive than AWS, Azure and the others.  We believe Wasabi is simply a better choice. Using Wasabi for Office 365 backup storage is great decision #3.

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