Full vs Differential SQL Backup

Differential SQL backup or full SQL backup? This question is interesting not only from the efficiency point of view. It is also very important for SQL database safety. With Handy Backup software, you can select full, differential or mixed full/differential backup for any type of SQL database engine!

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SQL Full Backup

SQL server full backup is a base for any kind of backup. A full backup task creates a complete copy, which saves all database content, regardless of how and when it was been saved before. With full backup you will easily restore a database in exactly the same form it was at the time of backup.

SQL Full Backup Scheme

How often should you do SQL full backup?

Most experts believe that full backup should be performed at least once a week (it is also quite comfortably because you just can do it every Friday at end of the week).

Note! Too frequent execution of the full backup procedure for large databases will lead to huge overload of servers and networks, and most importantly, requires a lot of free disk space. It also depends on how often you do a differential SQL backup.

SQL Differential Backup

SQL server differential backup based on the changes made since the last full backup to the present moment. The most attractive feature of this method is that you only need much less data to restore the database (you also definitely need a full backup to accomplish that).

Differential Backup Scheme


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Pros and Cons of Differential SQL Backup


When we are talking about “Full vs Differential SQL backups”, we should consider pros and cons:

Pros of Differential SQL Backup

Pros of Differential SQL Backup:

  • You spend less disk space than in a case of a full backup.
  • The differential backup requires less time and less processor usage, thereby, the computer has more resources for the other applications.
Cons of Differential SQL Backup

Cons of Differential SQL Backup:

  • You will not be able to restore the state of the database at any given time moment.
  • Differential SQL backup is not self-sufficient tool to restore the full database.
SQL Backup Types

You still have a need for full backup, so, you are dependent on the full backup procedure (in the case of a full backup you are not dependent on the presence or absence of the differential backups).

SQL Mixed Differential Backup: Get the Best from The Two Methods!

Simple to learn, the mixed differential backup method is a cycle of differential backup (described above) with a fixed length of repeats. After reaching the fixed quantity of differential backups, Handy Backup will repeat all cycle again, starting with new full backup.

SQL Mixed Differential Backup Scheme

You can select the length of a mixed differential backup chain by time interval (with repeating a full cycle when reaching some period) or by pre-selected quantity of differential backups in a row, including the basic full backup).


A Note about SQL Incremental Backup

Handy Backup software can do any type of backup. It also has the special feature incremental backup. Incremental SQL backup keeps changes only you made since the previous backup (In simple words: do nothing and incremental backup will contain nothing).

SQL Incremental SQL backup

Incremental backup for big databases is almost useless, as versioned differential backup allows saving many snapshots to recover it to some selected backpoint. Still, incremental backup is also time-consuming and bulky; therefore, we recommend you differential SQL backup instead!

To be mentioned: Among with traditional incremental backup, Handy Backup also provides a mixed incremental backup option.

Download Handy Backup

Version 8.1.2, built on 21 February 2020
106 MB

Enjoy one of the best software for full and differential SQL backup and recovery!


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