Data Backup & Recovery Blog

Four Backup Technologies You Need to Know

Posted by Stephanie Aldrich on February 23, 2016

cloud-data-backup.jpgWhen considering cloud backup for your business, you will notice that there are thousands of service providers out there. Among those various service providers, there are different backup methodologies; each comes with their advantages and disadvantages. It is helpful to understand these to help you find the solution that will be the best fit for your situation.


To get started, here are few simple definitions:

  • Full backup: A complete copy and exact replica of your data file(s).
  • Incremental Backup: A partial copy of your data file(s) that consists of only the data that was changed since the most recent backup (incremental or full).
  • Differential Backup: A copy of all the cumulative changes since the full backup.
  • Compressed Backup: A copy of the selected files and folders for backup, which have been compressed for faster transmission and/or less storage space.

While a full backup is straightforward, the uses of intelligent backup systems such as incremental, differential and compressed require a little more explanation.

Incremental backup is primarily used for efficiency, since it saves space and time. It identifies any changes made to a file since an original backup and then copies and stores the incremental changes with reference pointers to the data in the original file or folder. This way, the entire file and/or folders are not copied again and again. Date and time stamps are used to keep track of the increments and when you want to retrieve a version of the file, the system reconstructs it instantly from the original file plus the appropriate incremental changes. So, regardless of the number of times a file/folder is backed up, there is only one complete copy of the original file/folder with smaller separate files that contain the changes to the original. The big benefit of this backup method is that is uses less storage space and the time to backup the changes is reduced significantly.

There are a number of other more sophisticated incremental backup types such as multi-level, reverse incremental, synthetic full, incremental forever, block level and byte level. Each of these types of incremental backup refer to specific ways of copying the changes to selected files and folders and then recreating the file from those changes.

Differential backups cumulatively copy all the changes made to the file or folder since the full backup. When you retrieve or restore a file, it will be reconstructed from the original and the single differential backup file containing all the changes to that point.

Compression technology is another useful tool that makes the copied files and folders as small as possible in order to save on space and time to backup. The methodology can be applied to any backup and is often performed on the system before the data is transmitted to the online server. Some file types compress better than others and you may find that there is no space or time saving if the database consists of files that do not compress well. 

For additional security, many providers also encrypt the data before compression and transmission. In some cases, these additional benefits come with a small performance cost since the file or folder will have to be decompressed and decrypted before it can be viewed.

EVS' solution detects incremental changes as they occur rather than waiting until the next scheduled backup time. Because these incremental changes are usually very small, there is very little performance impact and you get the peace of mind knowing that your backup is always current. In addition, it lets you save incremental changes to open files being used by applications such as Outlook and QuickBooks. So, if you ever need to recover files, you know that the most current version is just a few mouse clicks away. Find out how we can help your business, contact us today.

Topics: data backup, online backup, cloud backup, online backup service, cloud backup providers

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