Backup Rotation Schemes and Schedules
Handy Backup / Features / Backup Rotation Schemes
For most computer users backing up is very much like going to a dentist people invent thousands of reasons to not do it: takes too much time, interferes with work, too expensive, etc. But even if one realizes the necessity of backups, there still remains a question: how to start? What backup scheme to choose to avoid disasters and reduce potential losses to the minimum?
The first strategy that may come to mind is simply to write out the list of most important and often modified folders and begin regularly copying them to some external storage, with a timestamp (to be able to rollback to a situation when everything was working properly). While at first this may seem like an effective plan, upon closer look it appears not that good. In case of CD/DVD discs regular backing up becomes infinite “remove disc, insert new disc” boredom, while a single external HDD isn’t reliable enough if it fails, you’re left without any support.
At this point, it becomes obvious that optimal data backup strategy should involve the use of several different storage media and "intelligent" backup method (i.e. incremental backup or differential backup). It suggests a sort of a balance between reasonable number of storage media and reliability of a backup scheme. For example, a full backup on Sunday and incremental backups throughout the week can work well; still it’s far from perfect.
Version 7.4.0, built on June 17, 2013
22.5 MB, 32-bit (above) or 28.7 MB, 64-bit version
Over time, people have developed several techniques that enable balancing data retention with cost of extra storage media. Two most popular backup rotation strategies are called Grandfather-Father-Son (also known as GFS or Grandparent-parent-child) and Tower of Hanoi.
Grandfather-father-son is the most widely used backup rotation schedule. According to this backup rotation schedule incremental backups are performed daily, while full backups are done weekly and monthly.
First of all, from one to four media sets are designated for incremental daily backups. As daily incremental backup backs up the least of the data, compared with other backup sessions in this backup rotation schedule, any of these media sets can be referred to as 'son'. These media sets are reused each week on the designated day.
Secondly, full backups are performed weekly - daily incremental backup is not performed on this day. As the first backup needs to be a full backup, the scheme is started on Friday, the day of the full backup. Consequently, the media set used on Friday can be referred to as 'father'.
Furthermore, on the last business day of the month a full backup is performed to a new media set, which can be referred to as 'grandfather'. These media sets are designated for specific months throughout the year.
As the backup data size can vary, each of these media sets may be a single backup medium or multiple backup media sets. To complete a quarterly backup rotation, a total of twelve backup media sets are required when using this basic backup rotation schedule. Sometimes one may wish backup history needs to be saved - in this case a media set with a full backup is taken from the rotation and replaced with a new media set.
Version 7.4.0, built on June 17, 2013. 22.5 MB, 32-bit (above) or 28.7 MB, 64-bit versionBackup Software from Novosoft LLC. 99 USD per license.
Check out the Home Professional edition - it has everything you need to back up a home PC, including file backup, disk imaging, support for FTPS, SFTP, Amazon S3, and much more. Free trial!
The Tower of Hanoi backup rotation schedule stems from a puzzle, which was invented by Edouard Lucas, a French mathematician, in 1883. The game consisted of three pegs with eight discs placed on one of them. The task was to move all the discs to another peg, never placing a smaller disc under a larger one.
Just like in the game, the backup media sets are rotated through the entire backup process. Compared with the Grandfather-father-son rotation schedule, this one can employ more backup media sets and save a deeper backup history - the less often the backup media set is used, the older data version it has. This backup rotation schedule requires only five backup media sets to perform backups during a month every day, for instance.
In this backup rotation schedule the first media set is used every second day, the second media set is used when the first set is not used and is used every fourth day, the third media set is used when neither of the previous sets are used and every eighth day and so on.
Each additional backup media set, added to the rotation, doubles the backup history, and is used only when the previous sets are not used, thus, the later a backup media set is added to the history, the less it is used and the older files it stores are. This enables one to have a deep backup history, but does not allow storing many recent backup copies, as a daily backup is erased in two days, for example.
Loading comments, please wait...
Price: $39 (1 license)
Volume discount: $0
Upgrade to version 7
See all volume order prices
2013/06/14 – Advanced Database Backup to Cloud with Version 7.4
2013/05/30 - New edition for saving copies on Yandex.Disk
2013/04/12 - HBDrive - Handy Backup Cloud Storage In A New Way!
Exchange Mail Backup - back up Mail Stores of Microsoft Exchange Server
Windows 8 Data Backup - learn how to protect data of the Win8 operating system
Hard Drive Image - create complete HDD images containing OS and all data
Laptop Backup - read how to set up backups if your main computer is a laptop
Remote Backup - learn about benefits and advantages of storing backups remotely
Synchronize Files with FTP - you can have your data synced with an offsite FTP folder
Backup to Tape (Coming Soon) - use tape streaming recorders as data storage
Backup Service - read how to run backups as a Windows service
Cheap Backup - make your backups as cost-effective as they can be!
Copyright © 2004-2013 Novosoft LLC. All rights reserved. Handy Backup software.
Back to Top