Comparing the Different Types of Data Backups

Computer systems help companies to thrive in the worldwide marketplace in which we live. However, they do present problems to companies when they fail due to hacker intrusion, hardware failure, and unforeseen disasters. One way to protect their valuable data is by routinely backing up their systems. When companies try to determine which type of backup would best meet their needs, it is important to understand the difference between differential and incremental backups.

What Are the Three Basic Types of Backups?

Each type of basic backup has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It is important to recognize which one would best work with your computer network and server setup. The three types are listed below:
  • Full
  • Incremental
  • Differential
There are two other types of backups, which build off of the basic backup concept. Those are known as:
  • Synthetic Full Backup
  • Incremental-Forever Backup
Full Backups

This backup is perhaps the easiest to understand. It is quite literally a full copy of all data. While this is arguably the best data protection, it comes with a significant drawback. When performed daily, they can become quite time-consuming and slow down access times for employees and customers alike. In some circumstances, it can make information and systems accessible as the backup is being performed. It also takes up the most storage space.

Incremental Backups

This type of backup was introduced as a way to cut down on the amount of time it took to back up information and minimize the amount of storage space needed. This type of backup only performs a full backup once a week and then a daily backup each day afterward. The daily backup only copies the information that has changed or been updated since the previous backup.

Differential Backups

This type of backup starts with a full backup at the beginning of the week and then a daily backup of changed data. However, each subsequent daily backup would contain each previous day’s information. This means fewer backup files to keep track of.

Incremental vs. Differential Backup

Differential provides quicker recovery options. This is because each day’s backup builds upon the previous one. It does mean differential backups would require larger backup storage space.

The biggest disadvantage of an incremental backup is how long it takes when it becomes necessary to restore data. If you need Thursday’s data, you would have to restore the whole backup first and then each subsequent day’s data before everything was restored.

When considering incremental vs. differential backup, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. Reach out to Pathway Communications for more information about the difference between differential and incremental backups.

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