What Is Incremental Backup
As we have already mentioned, incremental backup only uploads new or modified files. Let's see how it works.
- The first-week backup (initial full backup) will include all of them.
- The second-week backup will only copy your modified files: file1m, file3m, file4m.
- The third-week backup will only copy your modified files file2m and file5m.
That is how incremental backup essentially works. And if a file is not changed but added to the backup set after week 3, it will appear in week 4 as file6.
The Advantages of Incremental Backup
There are specific advantages to performing incremental backups compared to full backups. They are:
- Faster backups. Incremental backup will upload only changed and new files in the cloud or local storage. This is considerably faster than uploading an entire dataset each time.
- Less storage capacity needed. Storage space means money. The less storage space you need, the less you will pay to your cloud storage provider. If you perform local backup, you will spend less on your hard drives.
- Less bandwidth is consumed. When you perform a backup, the last thing you want is for it to cause your Internet connection to hang.
The Disadvantages of Incremental Backup
It should be said that Incremental backup is good, but not perfect. The main disadvantage of incremental backup is that the backup grows until the next full backup is done. In other words, incremental backup only performs comparisons to the previous backup. For example, if you perform incremental backups for one year, without any additional full backups or retention rules set to your files, you will have a year’s amount of data. All files that were deleted on your local device since the first full backup remain in your storage. To prevent that from happening, you should:
- Perform full backups from time to time. When you perform a full backup, you break the sequence of the previous incremental backups. In other words, you will backup only the files that currently exist on your device; the incremental backup only adds new files and changes since that last full backup.
- Set a retention policy for your files. A retention policy allows you to choose how long you keep your old files and how many versions of each file you keep. With incremental backup, it’s recommended to set a policy that allows you to delete old files after a given time, or files that have been deleted from your device. A retention policy is a flexible tool. Learn how to use it properly.
Incremental Backup Software
CloudBerry Backup fully supports the concept of incremental backup, both locally and to the cloud, and enhances it with additional features. Our software performs incremental backup by default to ensure that there are no unnecessary copies of files and your storage space is used wisely.
However, depending on your needs, an incremental backup may not be enough — and you may want to look at an option called block-level incremental backup.
Block-Level Incremental Backup
Block-level backup performs in-depth file analysis and backs up only the modified portions of files, which makes it an efficient tool when used properly.
This functionality is featured in CloudBerry Backup and can be easily toggled from the UI of the software by going to the Backup Plan Wizard, then Advanced Settings.
Check out our blog article about block-level backup if you want to know more about its architecture and its implementation within CloudBerry Backup.
Point-in-Time Recovery from Incremental Backup
If you use incremental backup and have configured your backup plan well, then you will be able to recover your data, when needed, to the chosen point in time.
As an example, let’s say that your computer has been hit with ransomware. Luckily, your backup software has uploaded all your files to the cloud, and you can simply recover your files to the state of the previous week or point in time when your files were not affected by ransomware.
Be sure to check out our new video format—One Minute Drill. In our first video, we will explain the basics of incremental backup in (roughly) one minute. If you like this video, there will be much more to come. Let us know which topics will be most interesting to you.