How to create backups
Backup jobs are responsible for creating backups of mailboxes in Office 365 and on-premises Exchange Server. This article describes how to create, schedule and manage backup jobs, and how to monitor their status. Click on the links below to learn more.
You can create a backup job in two ways:
- If it is a new installation of the program or you do not have any jobs created yet, open the Administration Panel's Dashboard and click the Start a new job wizard link on the How to start card.
- Go to the Jobs tab in the Administration Panel and click New > Backup on the top menu bar (Fig. 1.).
|Fig. 1. Opening a new job wizard on the Jobs tab.|
- define the name of your job,
- choose a job type,
- define job's activity periods,
- connect to Office 365 or on-premises Exchange Server,
- select mailboxes and public folders to be backed up,
- select/create a target storage location for your backup,
- filter data that will be included in the backup process,
- decide to exclude special folders from the backup process,
- verify the defined settings.
|Fig. 2. The backup job wizard.|
You can move up and down the wizard's steps and configure them in any order you want.
In the next step (Job continuity) you can decide if a job should run in multiple cycles or a single cycle during its activity period. You can choose between the following job types:
- continuous backup - this backup job is executed in multiple following cycles, triggered automatically within a specified activity period;
- one-time backup - this backup job is executed in one cycle within a specified activity period.
If you choose the continuous backup option, you will also be able to define the idle time between each job cycle. By default, the idle time is set to one minute. This time can be adjusted in the following pattern: hh:mm:ss (Fig. 3.).
|Fig. 3. Selecting a job type.|
You can change the backup job type at any point - you need to stop the job and edit it on the Jobs tab. You can also adjust the idle time if needed. Learn more in the later part of this article.
The third step (Activity periods) allows you to schedule an activity period when the job will be executed. The full description of the activity period configuration is available later in this article.
|Fig. 4. Choosing job's activity periods.|
To create a new server connection, click Manage. This will open the Select server connection window. Click New to open the Server connection wizard. Follow this article to learn how to configure a connection to your server (Office 365 or on-premises Exchange Server).
If you configure a connection for the first time, the list of connections will be empty. If you previously configured any jobs, the list will contain the already defined connections. Note that if there are any users delegated to use the program, they might have to provide passwords to access the connections created by other users.
Once the connection is configured and saved, proceed to the next step (Mailboxes). Here you can choose mailboxes to be backed up (Fig. 5.). If you specify mailboxes via the Add button, you can select them individually or collectively via standard keyboard shortcuts. For example, you can choose them one by one via the Ctrl button, use the Shift button for multiple selections, or CTRL + A to choose all mailboxes.
|Fig. 5. Selecting mailboxes to be included in a backup process.|
You can add or remove source mailboxes from a backup job at any point, by editing the job and going to the Mailboxes step of the job wizard. More information about managing existing jobs can be found later in this article.
|Fig. 6. Selecting public folders to be included in a backup process.|
If you select the Back up subfolders check box (Fig. 7.), not only the currently existing subfolders will be backed up, but also all subfolders created in the future.
Be aware that the option to back up subfolders works only for selected folder(s), not globally.
|Fig. 7. The public folder selection window.|
The Target storage step lets you choose a storage location where your backups will be saved. If you previously configured any storages, they will be available on the drop-down list. To create a storage, click New and follow the wizard, as described in this article.
You can add, edit or remove storages on the Storages tab in the Administration Panel. There is also an option to define passwords to protect storages against unwanted access, or to archive storages, if necessary.
In the Time filter step (Fig. 8.) you define which items from the source mailboxes will be backed up, depending on their age. Calculation of the age of appointments or similar items (including a start/end date or another time property) is based on the time when these items occur. If an item does not contain a time value, its age is calculated by using the last modification date.
For example: today is September 1, 2015 and you decided to back up only items from the last 6 months. In March of 2014, someone created an appointment which starts on April 1, 2015, and sent an email. In such a case, the appointment will be included in your backup, as it occurs within the defined period of time. However, the email sent in March, 2014 does not contain any start or end date, so it will be excluded.
|Fig. 8. Setting up a time filter.|
You can configure the program to back up:
- all items regardless of their age - when a backup job processes mailboxes, all items will be backed up no matter if they were modified or not.
- only items older than [period of time] - the program will examine items in source mailboxes and back up only those items that were modified before a specified period of time.
- only items not older than [period of time] - the program will back up only those items that were modified within a defined period of time.
You may define your period of time in days, weeks, months, or years. There is also an option to override the time filter for contact items, so they are all backed up, regardless of their age.
|Fig. 9. Choosing special folders to be excluded from a backup process.|
If you did not specify the job's activity periods, the job will not start automatically. But, as soon as you finish the wizard, a notification window will appear (Fig. 10.), which will allow you to start your job immediately. Otherwise, you can use the Start button on the Jobs tab.
|Fig. 10. Starting an unscheduled backup job (no activity periods defined).|
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.
The program is equipped with the activity periods functionality that lets you define when your jobs should be active (Fig. 11.).
|Fig. 11. Configuring activity periods for a backup job.|
You can configure only one activity pattern for one backup job.
In the Custom pattern you can set a job activity period using the Job date range editor (Fig. 12.). This activity pattern enables you to create multiple independent activity periods for a single job, with each period based on start/end dates and times.
|Fig. 12. The Job date range editor available in the Custom activity pattern.|
You may also define a Daily (Fig. 13.), Weekly, or Monthly pattern. Note that each of these patterns has slightly different customization options.
|Fig. 13. Customizing the Daily activity pattern for a backup job.|
All three patterns have some common configuration options:
- Job activity period - exact time frames (in hours and minutes) within which a backup job is triggered. (Note that the All day check box is selected by default. Clear this check box if you want to define specific hours.)
- Range of activity - Start and end date frames for the selected pattern. (Note that by default, the No end date check box is selected, so that the pattern runs constantly.)
You can disable the activity periods of your backup job anytime, after stopping the job and editing it on the Jobs tab.
As for one-time jobs, if they don't have any activity period defined (enabled), they will back up all selected data in one cycle and stop automatically once the backup process is completed.
Each job defined in the program can be managed on the Jobs tab of the Administration Panel (Fig. 14.). You can:
- create new jobs,
- start inactive jobs,
- stop active jobs,
- edit jobs,
- delete jobs.
|Fig. 14. Job management options.|
If you are editing a job that is running (active), the program will prompt you to stop such a job in order to apply the new configuration. Otherwise, all changes will be discarded.
If there are any users delegated to use the program, they might have to provide passwords when creating/editing a backup job and trying to access any existing connections in the Server connection step of the wizard.
The program lets you easily check the status of all jobs (backup and restore) existing in the program. There are several ways to do that:
- The Good news and Bad news cards on the Dashboard tab - each of these cards (Fig. 15.) contains a list of notifications associated with the status of your jobs.
Fig. 15. The Good/Bad news cards on the Dashboard.
- The Jobs card on the Dashboard (Fig. 16.) - this is where information about the names and types of available jobs and their operation status (active/inactive/finished/error) is displayed.
|Fig. 16. The Jobs card.|
In the upper part of the window there is a list of jobs, where you can learn more about a job's:
- type - shows the type of a job,
- state - shows if a job is active, inactive, finished, finished with warnings or not finished (errors),
- speed - shows the average speed of the process,
- storage - shows the name of a storage used by a job.
In the lower-left part of the window there is a job progress card. Its contents depend on the job type. You can find information such as:
- Items restored - shows the number of items successfully pulled from a storage and restored to a target location,
- Items stored - shows the number of items successfully pulled from source mailboxes and saved to a storage location,
- Items scanned - this value depends on the job type. For example, in the case of backup jobs this value shows the total number of all items in source mailboxes that were scanned by a job in search of items to be saved in a storage. In the case of restore jobs, this field shows the total number of all items (from folders or mailboxes in a storage) selected to be restored to a target location.
|Fig. 17. The Jobs tab.|
In the middle, there are Job good/bad news cards, which contain a list of notifications associated with the status of your jobs.
In the lower-right part of the window there is a Job summary card. It summarizes the settings of a selected job.
Besides the above-mentioned locations, you can also analyze your jobs' status using log files. These files contain diagnostic data collected during the jobs' activity periods. Log files are saved in CSV files and include information on data processed (mailboxes, folders), thread numbers, date and time of the events occurring while processing the data. Learn more about log files in this article.
Backup model - this article describes the algorithm behind the backup process.