Use Veeam Backup & Replication Free Edition to collect Veeam Agents backups

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Veeam Agents, both for Windows and for Linux, have the possibility to send backups to a Veeam Backup & Replication server. This is a great feature, but sometimes customers don’t even have anymore any virtualized workload to protect, so they find a hard time to justify the deployment of Veeam Backup & Replication to only protect physical workloads. There’s a solution to this however, and it doesn’t cost anything to users.

The “hidden” Veeam Backup & Replication edition

Veeam Backup & Replication exists in only one version, actually 9.5 Update 1, and the differences between the four different editions are based on licensed features. One version is completely free (Veeam Backup & Replication Free Edition) and the other three (Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus) differ from each other by the features that are enabled in each edition.

The Veeam Agents for Windows and for Linux can consume a Veeam Repository, created into Veeam Backup & Replication, as a target of their backup jobs. This is a good option for customers that have both a virtualized environment for their servers, and they also need to protect the multiple user computers , or the physical servers that they still have around. But there may be other scenarios where VBR cannot be easily justified. For example, a customer may have migrated any server workload to a service provider or a public cloud, and what’s left in their offices are only laptops. In such a scenario, it’s not easy to justify the need to acquire another license for VBR, only to be able to create a repository and receive the backups of the multiple agents.

However, there’s a “hidden” fifth edition of Veeam Backup & Replication that can help here, and it’s also completely free.

I used to call this edition internally the “Agent Edition”, even if it’s just my joke, since this mode has no official name. What’s about this edition? Let’s find out.

If you want to send a backup of Veeam Agent for Windows to a Veeam Backup & Replication server, you have the option in the backup wizard:


But if you are using Veeam Backup & Replication Free Edition, and you proceed in the wizard, the software gives you a really precise error:


“Veeam Backup Free Edition servers are not supported as backup targets” sounds really like a final NO, but there’s a solution that doesn’t involve buying a Veeam Backup & Replication license. I like to call it the “Agent Edition” but this is just me, it’s not an official name from Veeam. If you go into the Veeam Backup & Replication installation, and look at the Licensing popup page, there is a “Backup and Replication” tab, but also a “Agent for Windows” tab. In this tab, I can install an Agent license that I received to protect my laptops and physical servers:


Then, what I’m missing is also a configured Veeam Repository to store the backups. It may seems at first sight that the “Backup Infrastructure” section of the software is missing, but in reality is only hidden. To enable this view, in the main menu look for the “View” options:


By switching to the “Full Functionality” view, the Backup Infrastructure section of the software will appear, and I’ll be able to configure a backup repository, and also the Agent permissions on top of it:


Once the software has been configured in this way, the Agent backup wizard can be completed, the backup jobs will store their backups into this Free version of Veeam Backup & Replication, and also the VBR installation will act as a licensing system for the different agents. You don’t have to install the license into any Agent, each installation will automatically consume one of the available licenses from the pool loaded into Veeam Backup & Replication: