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backup solutions for Office 365

Posted on 2014-02-24
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Last Modified: 2014-02-26
What do you recommend as alternative to the backup solution in Office 365? Since there is no really a BACKUP in Office 365. I know the options are legal hold and journaling.....But we are curretly able to restore mail and mailboxes from 4 weeks old to few years old
So, what should we do if we want to restore mailbox or emails from a years ago. What are the best solutions including third party options.

Thank you!
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Question by:claudiamcse
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by:michaelalphi
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Since, you are able to restore mailboxes older than 4 weeks. But restoring 1 year old mailbox data is possible only if you have backup available. If not, there are no luck for you. However, You can go with third party option such as (http://www.restoreexchangeserver.net/) which provide granular restoration option of mailbox database even if the backup is not available.
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by:Vasil Michev (MVP)
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Well they allow us to preserve deleted mailboxes indefinitely, without additional price. The catch is that you have to activate legal hold before deleting the mailbox. See more info here:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn144876(v=exchg.150).aspx

Other than that, there are some 3rd party solutions, but they all rely on either some sort of journaling or use of EWS. You can also force clients to use cached mode and collect the ost files locally, but that's hardly a reliable solution.
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Adam Brown earned 500 total points
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The legal hold system is the way Office 365 handles email restores. They changed the name to In-Place hold to prevent confusion. When you enable in-place hold on a mailbox, it will make it so all deleted items are retained for as long as your in-place hold is configured to last, up to 7 years. When you use this, you can restore emails from Outlook without difficulty and can do administrative lookups and restores through the use of Multi-Mailbox searches through the Admin Portal. Office 365 utilizes a multi-copy, backupless DAG cluster to provide failover. The oldest copy of their mailbox databases are lagged about two weeks to make sure corruption issues aren't fatal. As such, you have to use the features of Office 365 to do email restores. In-Place hold is the recommended solution, another option is to use retention policies to prevent users from permanently deleting items and move items over a certain age to an online archive.
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by:Vasil Michev (MVP)
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acbrown2010, got any official article that mentions the two weeks period? I recently had to explain to one customer that this is indeed the situation and there is no way to request "copy from 1 year ago" from Microsoft, even with a court order.

I've seen this mentioned before, in the service description documents if I'm not mistaken, but I was unable to find that info. Since they replaced the SD documents with the TechNet version, lots of info is missing :(
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by:Adam Brown
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It's a technical limitation of lagged DAGs in Exchange. The maximum time you can configure a lagged DAG copy for is 14 days. Since MS does not take any backups of the databases, this is the technical, functional limit that MS can use for data recovery on request. I don't know if they include that in the public service descriptions any longer, because a number of potential clients interpreted it to mean that there was no way to recover deleted or lost emails past two weeks and chose not to use it. Kind of a marketing tactic. Basically, you can get that information from white-papers and articles on DAGs for Exchange 2013, particularly descriptions of backupless DAG configurations. You can use that to inform your clients about what the limitation is, why it exists, and how to avoid having issues by using the services available in O365 to manage retention.
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by:claudiamcse
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Thanks so much acbrown2010 for great answers. So legal hold as alternative solution to backups sounds good enough. I’ve read that it does count though towards your mailbox size which is max 50GB per mailbox now. I also know that you can enable archiving rules so that mail moves to the archive and it will allow for more space in the mailbox for legal hold.

Do you know when you setup rules to move mail to archive, can it move legal hold items to it as well since archive mailbox has no limits on the size?? So, if you enable legal hold, then what will happen if you run out of the space? What do you do? 7 years sounds like you need more then 50GB of space per mailbox.

Thank you so much. I know this is a different question from what I originally asked. I should create an additional question for this so you get double points.

Thanks so much!!
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by:Vasil Michev (MVP)
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Legal hold does not count towards the mailbox limits, it's a separate container:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff637980(v=exchg.150).aspx#quotas

Plus, if you are on EO plan 2, which is needed for litigation hold, you get unlimited archive size.
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by:Adam Brown
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As vasilcho said, items deleted with legal hold don't count against the mailbox limit, and if you have an online archive attached to the mailbox you can set up retention policies that will move email there after a certain period of time. Online Archives have no storage limits placed on them in O365. There's a 30GB limit on the hidden deleted items folder, so you might have issues if you got more than 30GB of deleted items in someone's mailbox, but that's not a highly likely scenario. That 30GB doesn't count against the 50GB threshold. I should also mention that in all likelihood, MS will increase mailbox size limits as storage gets cheaper and more necessary, so I wouldn't worry too much about legal hold breaking your mailbox limitations. Also, that limit may go away with in-place hold activated. I have to check. I *think* deleted items are also moved to the archive automatically when an archive is attached, but, again, I'll need to check.
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by:claudiamcse
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Excellent
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