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Types of Backup

There are various data backup types, each designed to address different risks, vulnerabilities and storage needs. Effectively backing up the files, networks, servers and other assets begin with addressing a network's capabilities and selecting the proper type of backup for the circumstances.

A backup is a copy of the data that store in the cloud. Backing-up is an important process that everyone should do to have a fail-safe for when the inevitable happens. The principle is to make copies of particular data to use those copies for restoring the information if a failure occurs. A data loss event occurs due to deletion, corruption, theft, viruses, etc.

Protecting data against loss, corruption, disasters (human-caused or natural), and other problems is one of the IT organizations' top priorities. To avoid this loss, implementing an efficient and effective set of backup operations can be difficult.

The term backup has become synonymous with data protection over the past several decades and maybe accomplished via several methods. Backup software applications reduce the complexity of performing backup and recovery operations. Backing up data is only one part of a disaster protection plan and may not provide the level of data and disaster recovery capabilities desired without careful design and testing.

You can manually perform the backup by copying the data to a different location or automatically using a backup program. Each backup program has its approach in executing the backup.

There are four most common backup types implemented and generally used in most of these programs, such as:

  1. Full backup
  2. Incremental backup
  3. Differential backup
  4. Mirror backup

A type of backup defines how data is copied from source to destination and lays the data repository model's grounds or how the back-up is stored and structured.

There are some types of backup that are better in certain locations. If we perform cloud backup, then incremental backups are generally a better backup type because they consume fewer resources. We might start with a full backup in the cloud and then shift to incremental backups. Mirror backup, though, is typically more of an on-premises approach and often involves disks.

Full backups

The most basic and complete type of backup operation is a full backup. As the name implies, this backup type makes a copy of all data to a storage device, such as a disk or tape. The primary advantage of performing a full backup during every operation is that a complete copy of all data is available with a single media set.

It takes the shortest time to restore data, a metric known as a recovery time objective. However, the disadvantages are that it takes longer to perform a full backup than other types, requiring more storage space.

Thus, full backups are typically run only periodically. Data centers with a small amount of data may choose to run a full backup daily or even more often in some cases. Typically, backup operations employ a full backup in combination with either incremental or differential backups.

Incremental backups

An incremental backup operation will result in copying only the data that has changed since the last backup operation of any type. An organization typically uses the modified timestamp on files and compares them to the last backup timestamp.

Backup applications track and record the date and time that backup operations occur to track files modified since these operations. Because an incremental backup will only copy data since the last backup of any type, an organization may run it as often as desired, with only the most recent changes stored.

The benefit of an incremental backup is that it copies a smaller amount of data than a full. Thus, these operations will have a faster backup speed and require fewer media to store the backup.

Differential backups

A differential backup operation is similar to an incremental the first time it is performed, in that it will copy all data changed from the previous backup. However, each time it is run afterward, it will continue to copy all data changed since the previous full backup. Therefore, it will store more backed up data than an incremental on subsequent operations, although typically far less than a full backup.

Differential backups require more space and time to complete than incremental backups, although less than full backups. From these three primary types of backup, it is possible to develop an approach for comprehensive data protection. An organization often uses one of the following backup settings:

  • Full daily
  • Full weekly + differential daily
  • Full weekly + incremental daily

Full backup daily requires the most amount of space and will also take the most amount of time. However, more total copies of data are available, and fewer media pieces are required to perform a restore operation. As a result, implementing this backup policy has a higher tolerance to disasters and provides the least time to restore since any data required will be located on at most one backup set.

A full backup weekly coupled with running incremental backups daily will deliver the shortest backup time during weekdays and use the least storage space. However, fewer copies of data available and restored time is the longest since an organization may need to use six sets of media to recover the necessary information.

A weekly full backup with daily differential backups delivers results in between the other alternatives. that is, more backup media sets are required to restore than with a daily full policy, although less than with a daily incremental policy. Also, restoring time is less than using daily incremental backups and more than daily full backups. To restore data from a particular day, at most two media sets are required, diminishing the time needed to recover and the potential for problems with an unreadable backup set.

Mirror backups

A mirror backup is comparable to a full backup. This backup type creates an exact copy of the source data set, but only the latest data version is stored in the backup repository with no track of different versions of the files. All the different backed up files are stored separately like they are in the source.

One of the benefits of mirror backup is a fast data recovery time. It's also easy to access individual backed up files.

One of the main drawbacks, though, is the amount of storage space required. With that extra storage, organizations should be wary of cost increases and maintenance needs. If there's a problem in the source data set, such as corruption or deletion, the mirror backup experiences the same. As a result, it is not to rely on mirror backups for all the data protection needs and have other backup types for the data.

One specific kind of mirror, disk mirroring, is also known as RAID 1. This process replicates data to two or more disks. Disk mirroring is a strong option for data that needs high availability because of its quick recovery time. It's also helpful for disaster recovery because of its immediate failover capability. Disk mirroring requires at least two physical drives. If one hard drive fails, an organization can use the mirror copy. While disk mirroring offers comprehensive data protection, it requires a lot of storage capacity.

Smart backups

Smart backup is a backup type that combines the full, differential and incremental backup types with cleanup operations to efficiently manage the backup settings and the free disk space in the destination. The Smart backup type starts with a full backup.

The advantage is that we don't need to worry about the number of backups to store to fit on the destination drive, which backup version to clean or merge, as Backup4all will take care of that.

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