Backup agent for Microsoft Windows servers and workstations (formerly Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE)
Dima P.
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Dima P. » Apr 24, 2017 9:47 pm

Adam,

Honestly, restoring a really old .ost file makes no sense. Outlook will start to sync .ost with your mailbox after recovery and eventually download all new content from exchange server.

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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Qbasix » Sep 27, 2018 2:49 pm

I'd like to add my experience just now with Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows 2.2.0.589 Free Edition

I was doing a bare metal recovery to dissimilar hardware (laptop 1 to laptop 2)

All went well however upon starting Outlook 2016 many emails and folders were missing.

The laptop in question had IMAP configured (not exchange) and the local files were stored in .ost format.

However, Outlook allows storing folders / emails / objects in the .ost file which are marked as "(This computer only)" yet still stored in the .ost file.

The problem here is that these files are NOT on the server, and therefore LOST if the .ost file is not backed up / restored.

Luckily the old laptop was still running so I could manually copy the outlook folder to the new laptop, this fixed the issue.

This would have been a major problem if the source laptop (hard drive) was not available due to crash etc... those files in these "local ost" files would be gone forever.

It's probably not best practice to store files / emails in local .ost files but Outlook permits this by default. So I'm sure many people have local only files stored in .ost files.

This I believe is a serious issue in Veeam backup.

Qbasix
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Qbasix » Sep 27, 2018 2:52 pm

Also forgot to add that many of the user settings / preferences are also gone if the .ost and .oab files are not backed up.

If we are doing a volume level backup it should be exact.

Vitaliy S.
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Vitaliy S. » Sep 27, 2018 4:56 pm

Wojtek, please take a look at this topic, as not only does it explain why OST files are not backed up, but it also gives you a workaround on how to start backing it up. Hope this help!

Qbasix
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Qbasix » Sep 29, 2018 1:11 am

Hi Vitaliy,

I understand why it does not but believe Veeam should be setting those flags to off / or backup as serious, important data can be lost and this was in turn create distrust in Veeam backup.

In my case the important emails would have forever been lost if the old hard drive was not available. The point is .ost files DO STORE LOCAL data... and this data is gone if the backup does not restore the .ost files.

I just did a default backup using Macrium Reflect free version and it DOES backup .ost files and .oab files. So this can be done, you do not have to just rely or follow VSS snapshot rules set by Microsoft.

Vitaliy S.
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Vitaliy S. » Sep 29, 2018 12:17 pm

Wojtek, I certainly understand the concern, so thanks for your feedback and the heads up! I will share this data with the corresponding PM. Thanks!

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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by ThomasR » Sep 29, 2018 1:47 pm

In the microsoft article it says they excluded those files because of IO activity, but with Veeam VSS is only used when the backup is running (not all the time), so it shouldnt matter, right?

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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Vitaliy S. » Sep 30, 2018 8:40 pm

If you are backing up the entire image, then yes it should not be a problem:
The performance impact doesn’t occur during the image backup itself–the only extra work at backup time is backing up the .ost file as part of the image.

Dima P.
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Dima P. » Oct 02, 2018 2:02 pm

Wojtek,

OST file is a copy of your production mailbox. Basically, it contains all the data for Outlook to work in the offline mode correctly and there is no sensitive data that cannot be restored from your exchange mailbox. It's added to the Microsoft predefined VSS exclusion list by default and VAW simply uses that list during backup.

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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Qbasix » Oct 08, 2018 1:13 pm

Hi Dima,
I believe you are incorrect here. Outlook creates an .ost file for IMAP accounts too and can by default configuration store "local only" copies of folders, emails and possibly other objects that are NOT on the IMAP server. Exchange is a totally different scenario.

So in such a case if the .OST file is NOT backed up, the user will lose those "local only" objects from Outlook.

I have experienced just this recently which prompted me to find this thread and add my opinion.

Honestly I believe Veeam should be by default backing up .ost files as you will sooner or later find customers who lost data and lost trust in Veeam.

Dima P.
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Dima P. » Oct 09, 2018 5:08 pm

Wojtek,
Outlook creates an .ost file for IMAP accounts too and can by default configuration store "local only" copies of folders
IMAP leaves copies on the server. If you are exporting data from the server via POP or IMAP its going to be saved as .pst

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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Qbasix » Oct 19, 2018 12:30 pm

I think we are going around in circles here...

Anyway points are:

1) Outlook .ost files when used with IMAP can store "local only" data that is NOT on the IMAP server and therefore cannot be restored.
2) I encountered this exact problem and luckily had the original data (hard drive) to copy the .ost file back into the restored machine.

I've had to adjust all the registry flags on machines which run Veeam to include .ost files in the backup.

Dima P.
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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by Dima P. » Oct 22, 2018 12:50 pm

Wojtek,

Thank you for the use case explanation! I've added you vote to this feature request. Cheers!

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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by chaveb » Oct 26, 2018 1:41 am 1 person likes this post

Dima P. wrote:
Oct 09, 2018 5:08 pm
Wojtek,

IMAP leaves copies on the server. If you are exporting data from the server via POP or IMAP its going to be saved as .pst
I think as Wojtek said, OST files often contain data not synchronised with the server, particularly when configured for IMAP accounts. IMAP is only email, but the OST file created for the IMAP account also contains calendar and contacts data which is NOT synchronised with the server and is lost if that OST file is deleted.

We usually recommend configuring a local PST file to store contacts/calendars for just this reason when people are using IMAP accounts in Outlook.

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Re: Not trustworthy (yet)

Post by techgirl » Jan 09, 2019 3:13 pm

"We usually recommend configuring a local PST file to store contacts/calendars for just this reason when people are using IMAP accounts in Outlook."

Yes, this is a poor choice on MS part. Also be aware, should an inexperienced user decide to delete the email account intending to recreate it to start fresh if it wasn't working properly, he/she loses those calendars and contacts as MS deletes those "this PC only" .ost as well when the account is removed.

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