Using Commvault for Exchange & Exchange Online for Items


In this third and last post on this series this week, I will go over how Commvault provides data protection and much more for items in Exchange Server or Exchange Online.

First post: Using Commvault, by an Exchange MVP
Second post:  Using Commvault for Exchange Server

Protecting items

Besides the database level support, Commvault has extensive item\mailbox level backup support aka “brick-level backups”, a term coined going back before the ExMerge days. This support can be used for Exchange Server and Exchange Online (EXO). Connections are made from a “proxy client” which can be running on a Windows server\VM on-premises or in the cloud, like Microsoft Azure. The proxy client can also utilize CV’s deduplication technology to only send the unique bits across the network to the other Commvault backend servers. The backend data is then written and retained on storage targets based on the defined storage policies.

Commvault is flexible enough to meet many different organizational requirements. A key one is around item level protection and recovery, past Exchange’s Deleted Item retention setting. This setting comes into play when users or another process hard deletes items. For mailboxes in Exchange Online, item level retention is a concern for many organizations since Deleted Item retention has a max value of 30 days, as of Jan 2018. Almost every organization I’ve worked wants or needs to retain emails for years, in some cases 100 years! If using Exchange Server, O365 E3, or EXO Plan 2 license, a way to save data longer is to put mailboxes on retention hold. For some organizations, this might be a good enough solution. Although, if item level recovery is needed past the Deleted Item retention period, the recovery process requires doing a compliance search to find and copy items into a discovery mailbox, then exporting the items from that mailbox to a PST, and then imported the PST data back into the target mailbox; requiring PowerShell experience. So, this is not a very quick or simple task that can be delegated to most IT staff. In addition, using native tools alone keeps all the data in EXO, where there are no backups, just data replication, therefore no protection against intentional or accidentals data loss, item level corruption, or ransomware (Ransomware applies to O365 also).

Item level protection and easy recovery has a lot of value to many organization, to others it’s much more important to be able to carry out eDiscovery and search of their data. In this area CV truly excels, since CV can index and search files from Windows, *nix, NAS, Exchange/EXO, SharePoint/SPO, OneDrive for Business and more. When CV backups up data, it is available for both recovery and search from the same data. This provides major benefits to almost all the organizations, since CV provides cross-premises, cross-application, and cross-cloud support with a single platform.

Journaling Support

The 3rd way CV can provide data protection and help meet compliance needs for email data is via its SMTP journaling support. CV includes an SMTP listener that can receive journaled or any SMTP message. For orgs in EXO this is very import support, if they have the desire or requirement to use journaling. This is due to the fact you cannot have a journal rule in EXO have a target that is also in EXO. For such organization, Microsoft recommends having an Exchange Server on-premises as the target for this data or go with a 3rd party solution. CV’s has had journal mailbox management support for many years, which ingest data from and helps to manage Exchange journal mailboxes. CV’s direct SMTP journaling support was introduced in 2017 and it allows customers to reduce complexity, possibility eliminates the requirement of an on-premises Exchange server, or eliminate other 3rd solutions used for this.

Closing

In summary, Commvault has extensive support and benefits for Exchange via its database, mailbox, item, and message level protection, recovery, retention, and search capabilities. Commvault infrastructure can be configured to run all on-premises, all in the cloud, or as a hybrid of both. This enables an organization to backup their Office 365 and other data to Azure, for example, and for keeping their cloud data in the cloud, on-premises, or in multiple locations. Commvault provides the flexibility to meet almost any organization’s data protection, recovery, and compliance requirements without hardware, storage, or cloud vendor lock-in.

For more on what Commvault can do for Office 365 see https://www.commvault.com/solutions/by-technology/enterprise-applications/microsoft-office-365. Information on our general Microsoft support can be found at  http://microsoft.com/Commvault (one of the very few 3rd party companies to have a dedicated site on Microsoft.com) and https://commvault.com/Microsoft. In future articles, I’ll go into more detail on our Exchange support and do a similar post on CV’s SharePoint support.

Posts in this series:
1st post: Using Commvault, by an Exchange MVP
2nd post: Using Commvault for Exchange Server
3rd post: Using Commvault for Exchange & Exchange Online for Items  (This post) 

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are solely the author’s and don’t represent the views of Commvault.

About jasonsherry

I am a 20 year Exchange consultant and expert. I currently work for Commvault as a Solutions Specialist for Microsoft Infrastructure For more info see my resume at: http://resume.jasonsherry.org
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