Backup Types: Full, Differential, Incremental

Everyone is aware that backup is required, Steps and procedure to take the backup differs for each application, server, cloud

Having a good copy of your data in the event of accidental data loss is a life-saver, this is the first step to your damage control.

Lets see what are the main different types of backup

  • Full Backup
  • Differential Backup
  • Incremental Backup

Full Backup

As the name says, its the full copy of your data. The backup captures the entire copy of your data assets. If you choose full backup, every time it will backup your entire content.

Usually backup administrators like to perform the full backup weekly, bi-monthly or monthly depends on the SLA and follow it with the other type of backups

Read more here about the backup terms RPO and RTO

Pros

  • Easy control over the revisions as everything is backed up end-to-end.
  • Fast and easy recovery as the complete data is readily available, no processing required

Cons

  • Consumes more space
  • Backup takes more time

Incremental Backup

Incremental backup is the changes happened after the last backup, it will not copy your whole files again, it will track only the changes happened on the system since the last backup and copies only those changes.

Administrators usually set the incremental backup more frequently than the full backup.

Pros

  • It is the fastest backup type since it only backs-up increments
  • Saves storage space compared to other types

Cons

  • Change block tracking / Change tracking should be available
  • Restore process is complex than a full backup
  • A full backup is required

Differential Backup

Differential backup is cumulative of all the changes that have happened on the system after the last full backup.

Unlike incremental backups which only takes the changes in data since last backup, diffrential backups look for changes happened in the data since the last FULL backup

Pros

  • Requires less time and less storage space
  • Restores faster than nth incremental backup

Cons

  • Change block tracking / Change tracking should be available
  • Restore process is complex than a full backup
  • A full backup is required
  • Requires more storage than incremental

Read more about the Backup Consistency types here


Also published on Medium.

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