How to create backups

Backup jobs are responsible for creating backups of mailboxes for Office 365 and on-premises Exchange Server. The information included in this article describe how to create, schedule, manage and monitor the status of active jobs.

This article comprises the following sections:

Creating backup jobs

You can create a backup job in two ways:

  • Go to the Jobs view in the Administration Panel and click New (Fig. 1.). Alternatively, you can also use Backup - Icon 2. icon in the Jobs section within the Dashboard view (Fig. 3.) to go directly to the Jobs view.
Backup - New Job
Fig. 1. Opening a new job wizard via the Jobs view.
Backup - switch to jobs view
Fig. 2. Navigating to the Jobs view via the Dashboard view.
  • If it is a new installation of the program or you do not have any jobs created yet, click the Start new wizard job link in the How to start section of the Dashboard view in the Administration Panel (Fig. 3.).
Backup - start job wizard
Fig. 3. Opening a new job wizard via the How to start section in the Dashboard view.

Both above-listed actions open a new backup job wizard (Fig. 4.). The wizard comprises several steps that let you:

Backup - New backup job wizard.
Fig. 4. A new backup job wizard opened.

Tip

You can move up and down the listed steps at any point and configure them in any order you want.

The first step of the job wizard lets you enter your backup job's display name. Each jobs' name needs to be a distinguished name. Otherwise, you will not be able to save the job.

To enter a name, type it into the field provided (Fig. 5.).

Backup - Job's name big.
Fig. 5. Entering the job's name.

In the next step, you can select the job continuity (Fig. 6.). It determines if a job will run in multiple or a single cycle during its activity period. The choice is between:

  • Continuous backup - this backup job is executed in multiple following cycles triggered automatically within the specified activity period.
  • One-time backup - this backup job is executed in one cycle within the specified activity period.
Backup - Backup job type chosen.
Fig. 6. The job's continuity options.

To select the job type, mark its corresponding radio button.

If you choose the continuous backup option, you will also be able to define the idle time between each ongoing cycle of a job. By default, the idle time is set to one minute. This time can be adjusted in the following pattern: hh:mm:ss (Fig. 7.).

Backup - Idle time.
Fig. 7. Selecting the idle time between cycles of the continuous backup job.

Tip

You can change the backup job type at any point after stopping and editing a job via the Jobs view. You can also adjust the idle time if needed. Learn more

In the following step, you can define the activity period in which the job is executed. The full description of the Activity periods's options and configuration is available in the following section of this article.

Backup - Activity Periods
Fig. 8. Choosing the job's activity periods.

In the Source data step of the wizard, you define a connection to the server hosting mailboxes that will be included in the backup process. In this step, you also select the source mailboxes to be backed up.

To create a new server connection click Manage and in the Select server connection window hit New to open the Server connection wizard (Fig. 9.). Follow the Creating new server connection article to learn how to configure a connection to your server (Office 365 or on-premises Exchange).

Backup - source data
Fig. 9. Opening the server connection management window.

Info

If it is the first time you configure the connection, the list of connections will be empty. Once you configure any forthcoming jobs, the list will contain the already defined connections available for use. Note, that if there are any users delegated to use the program, they will have to provide passwords to the existing connections created by other users prior to editing existing backup jobs or selecting the connections from the list while creating new backup jobs.

Once the connection is configured and saved, you can decide to backup only selected mailboxes or to backup all mailboxes except selected ones. Choose appropriate option, then hit Add on the right-hand side and select your mailboxes (Fig. 10.). You can choose as many mailboxes as you want either by selecting them one by one, holding down the SHIFT button for multiple selections or using CTRL + A to select all listed mailboxes. Confirm your choice by clicking OK.

Backup - mailboxes to backup
Fig. 10. Select mailboxes included in the backup process.

Tip

You can add or remove source mailboxes from a particular backup job at any point using the source data step of the wizard at any point. Learn more

The next step lets you choose Storage for saving backups of mailboxes. To create new Storage, click New (Fig. 11.). If you have already defined Storage, it will be available for use after expanding the Storage combo box. Follow Create a new backup Storage article to learn how to create Storage.

Backup - New storage
Fig. 11. Creating target Storage.

Tip

You can add, edit or remove Storages from the program using the dedicated view in the Administration Panel. You can also define passwords to protect Storages against unwanted access. Lastly, you can archive your Storages if necessary.

In the Time filter step, you can define which items from the encompassed source mailboxes will be backed up based on their age. The age of appointment and other items containing such properties as start and end date, is calculated by time when the item occurs. Otherwise, if those are missing, the age is calculated using the last modification date.

Let us say: today is September 1st, 2015 and you have decided to backup only items for last 6 months. In March of 2014 someone created an appointment which starts at April 1st, 2015 and sent an email. In such a case, the appointment will be included to backup, as it occurs within desired period of time. However, the email sent in March does not contain any start or end date, so it will be excluded.

This step lets you define the program to back up:

  • All items regardless of their age - while processing mailboxes, the program will back up all items no matter if they were modified or not.
  • Only items older than [period of time] - while processing mailboxes, the program will examine items in particular source mailboxes and back up only those items that were modified no sooner than desired period of time.
  • Only items not older than [period of time] - while processing mailboxes, the program will back up only those items from particular source mailboxes that were modified no later than desired period of time.

You may define your period of time in days, weeks, month or years. To define the time filter, mark its radio button, enter the amount and select units (Fig. 12.).

Backup - time filter
Fig. 12. Setting up the time filter.

In the next step of the wizard, you can define the folder filter that lets you exclude special folders of the encompassed source mailboxes from the backup process.

To exclude a special folder from being backed up, mark its checkbox. If, however, you want to back up a particular special folder, leave its checkbox unmarked (Fig. 13.).

Backup - Filter special folders.
Fig. 13. Choosing which special folders will be excluded from the backup process.

The last step of the job wizard lets you verify all your settings in the Job summary (Fig. 14.). If everything is correct, click Finish. Note that if you schedule your job, it will be triggered within the defined activity period. On the other hand, if you do not specify the job's activity period, the job will not start automatically till you confirm it in the notification that pops out after clicking Finish or hit Start for this job in the Jobs view (Fig. 15.).

Backup - Backup job summary small.
Fig. 14. The backup job settings summary.
Backup - Start backup job big.
Fig. 15. Starting the unscheduled backup job.

Info

Once the backup job is defined, you can close the Administration Panel. As the Backup Service responsible for processing jobs is independent of the Administration Panel, it will continue working in the background triggering jobs within their defined activity periods.

Scheduling backup jobs

The program is equipped in the built-in Activity periods functionality that lets you define when your jobs should be active (Fig. 16.).

Backup - activity periods
Fig. 16. Enabling the Activity Periods.

You can schedule jobs to be executed in four activity patterns:

  • Custom
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly

Info

You can configure only one activity pattern for a single backup job.

To configure each of the job's activity patterns, you need to mark its radio button on the list and adjust its settings according to your needs.

In the Custom pattern, you can customize the time of jobs' activity using the Job date range editor (Fig. 17.). This activity pattern enables creating multiple independent activity periods of a single job based on start / end dates and exact time (hh: mm).

Backup - custom activity
Fig. 17. The job date range editor opened within the Custom activity pattern.

You may also define Daily (Fig. 18.), Weekly, or Monthly pattern. Note that each of the patterns has a different definition method of scheduling jobs.

Backup - daily activity
Fig. 18. Selecting the Daily activity pattern for executing a backup job.
 

Besides settings applicable to individual activity pattern only, they all have a common time range to configure:

  • The Job activity time - exact hours / minutes frames within which the backup job is triggered.
  • The Range of activity - Start and End dates frames for the activity pattern.

By default, there is No end date checkbox marked so the pattern continues running jobs forever. Moreover, all types of the activity patterns have the All day checkbox marked by default. If you want to set the jobs' activity period shorter than the whole day, uncheck it and define the specific hours.

Info

You can disable the Activity periods of a particular backup job at any point after stopping and editing the job via the Jobs view. As far as one-time jobs are concerned, if there are no time frames for their activity period, they will back up all selected data in one cycle and stop automatically once the backup process is completed.

Learn more about the Scheduler and activity periods

Managing existing jobs

Each job defined in the program can be managed via the Jobs view in the Administration Panel (writing about jobs we mean both their types: backup and restoring). Therefore, the Jobs view enables performing the following actions on jobs (Fig. 19.):

  • Creating new backup jobs
  • Starting inactive jobs
  • Stopping active jobs
  • Editing jobs
  • Deleting jobs
Backup - manage jobs
Fig. 19. Available options for managing the existing jobs.

Info

If you are editing a job that is running, the program will prompt you to stop such a job in order to apply the new configuration. Otherwise, all changes will be discarded.

Most of the options listed above perform a single action of starting, stopping or deleting the chosen job. Therefore, you only need to click the dedicated buttons to use them (you can also trigger each action by right-clicking a particular job and choosing the action from the context menu). However, if you decide to create a new or edit the existing job, its dedicated wizard will open: backup job, restore job. It is exactly the same wizard as in the case of creating a new backup or restore job. Therefore, each of the jobs' previously configured steps can be reconfigured in any way you want. Just follow the steps of creating backup or restore jobs to adjust the desired settings.

Security note

If there are any users delegated to use the program, they will have to provide passwords to the existing connections created by other users prior to using them while creating new backup jobs or trying to edit the existing backup jobs. 

Monitoring existing jobs

The program lets you quickly check the status of all jobs (backup and restore) existing in the program. Therefore, the jobs' status can be reviewed in the below listed sections and views in the Administration Panel:

  • The Good news and Bad news sections in the Dashboard view - this section (Fig. 20.) shows quick feedback as list of alerts.
     
    Backup - Jobs alerts
    Fig. 20. The Alerts section in the Dashboard view.
    Alerts can be customized using the dedicated window opened via Backup - Icon. button. This includes email notifications, frequency of notifications, etc. See Dashboard and alerts article on that.
  • The Jobs section in the Dashboard view - this section (Fig. 22.) shows information about the jobs' names and types (continuous / one-time backup or restore job) and the jobs' operation status (active, inactive, finished, error).
Backup - jobs statuses
Fig. 22. The Jobs section in the Dashboard view.
  • The Jobs view - data included here (Fig. 23.) shows information concerning all jobs defined in the program. You can find here such information as:
     
    • Job summary - summarizes settings of a particular job,
    • Type - shows a type of a job (backup or restore),
    • State - shows if a job is active, inactive, finished, finished with warnings or displays errors,
    • Storage - shows a name of Storage used by a particular job,
    • Items scanned - this value depends on the job type. For backup jobs, this value shows a total number of all items in source mailboxes that were scanned by a job in search for items to be saved in Storage. For restore jobs, it shows a total number of all items from folders or mailboxes in Storage, selected to be restored to source mailboxes. This value combines the number of items successfully restored to source mailboxes, the number of items excluded from restoring (based on the restore options) and the number of items failed to be pulled from Storage while restoring data.
    • Items stored - shows a number of items successfully pulled from source mailboxes and saved to Storage,
    • Items restored - shows a number of items successfully pulled from Storage and restored to source mailboxes,
    • Speed - shows an average speed of a whole backup or restore process.

Backup - jobs summary
Fig. 23. The Jobs view.

Besides the mentioned sections and views, you can also analyze jobs' status using Log files. These files contain diagnostic data collected during jobs' activity periods. Log files are saved in CSV files and include information on data processed (mailbox, folder), thread numbers, date and time of the event occurred while processing data and its description. Learn more in our article on CodeTwo Backup log files.

See also

Backup model - this article describes the algorithm of the backup model.

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