What are Synthetic Full Backups?

A synthetic full backup is a “full backup” that is created by using incremental backups and combining them into a new full backup. This type of backup can be faster to create than a traditional full backup because it does not have to read all of the data from the source again.

Synthetic full backups have become more popular in recent years as storage costs have decreased and backup windows have become shorter. Many companies now use some form of synthetic full backup as their primary backup method.

One advantage of synthetic full backups is that they can be used to quickly create a new full backup without having to read all of the data from the source again. This can save time, especially if the data set is large.

Another advantage of synthetic full backups is that they can be used to create a “point in time” backup. This means that you can restore your data to the state it was in at the time the synthetic full backup was created. This can be useful if you need to recover from a data loss event or if you want to roll back to a previous version of your data.

Synthetic full backups have some disadvantages as well. One is that they require more disk space than traditional full backups because the incremental backups are combined into a new full backup. Another disadvantage is that synthetic full backups can take longer to restore because all of the incremental backups must be applied.

Incremental vs Differential Backups

Traditional full backups can be time-consuming and require a lot of storage space. Incremental backups are an alternative that can save time and storage space.

Incremental backups only back up the data that has changed since the last backup, regardless of whether it is a full or incremental backup. This means that each successive backup will be smaller and take less time to create. However, it also means that you will need to have all of the previous backups available to restore your data.

Differential backups are similar to incremental backups, but they back up all of the data that has changed since the last full backup. This means that each differential backup will be larger than an incremental backup, but you will only need the last full backup and the last differential backup to restore your data.

Incremental backups are typically more efficient than full backups, but they have the disadvantage of requiring all of the previous backups to restore your data. Differential backups are a compromise between full and incremental backups, offering some of the efficiency of incremental backups while still allowing you to restore your data with only two backups.

Which Backup Method is Right for You?

The right backup method for you will depend on your specific needs. If you have a large data set and a short backup window, then a synthetic full backup may be the best option. If you have a smaller data set or longer backup window, then an incremental or differential backup may be a better option.

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