Incremental Backup Vs. Full and Differential Backup: What’s the Difference?

incremental backup vs. full

When it comes to backup options, organizations typically have three main choices at their disposal: full backup, differential backup, and incremental backup. And while it may seem as if each option stands on its own, most organizations tend to use a combination of the three — including certain variations of each type.

It’s important to understand the differences amongst the types of backups available, and how each functions within a disaster recovery plan. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of each main type of backup.

Differences Between Incremental Backup, Full Backup, and Differential Backup

Full Backup

A full backup is precisely what it sounds like: a full, comprehensive backup of any and all data used in your organization. While this type of backup provides a high level of data protection, the sheer amount of time and resources required to perform daily full backups makes it impractical for most.

Differential Backup

A differential backup begins with a full backup. Once the full backup has been completed, only data that has changed since the last full backup is included in the new differential backup.

Incremental Backup

Incremental backups perform backup only to data that has changed since the previous backup.

For example, let’s say you saved a full backup on a Monday and relied on incremental backups the remainder of the week. In this scenario, the incremental backup on Tuesday would only include data that has changed since the full backup on Monday. Wednesday’s incremental backup would contain just the data that has changed since Tuesday. This process repeats until the next full backup.

Incremental Forever Backup

Incremental forever backup is a type of incremental backup that involves storing the full backup and subsequent backups separately in a way that automates the restoration process, rather than having to figure out which backups need to be restored to recover data.

This speeds up the restoration process because you only need to restore the latest versions of blocks that belong to a restored backup. This provides an advantage over standard incremental backup, which would require you to restore each day’s backup since the last full backup — if the data in need of recovery is spread out over each day.

Plus, with incremental forever backup, you don’t have to schedule an initial full backup on a separate schedule — the first incremental forever backup defaults to an incremental forever full backup automatically.

Incremental Forever Backup with Clumio

Built natively in the cloud, Clumio’s backup-as-a-service platform provides full once, incremental forever backup and recovery options for AWS data sources, ensuring superior restore efficiency coupled with flexible recovery options. Clumio is also integrated with native AWS change block tracking mechanisms and source side data reduction techniques that help keep data transfers minimal while optimizing backup and recovery times.

With Clumio, your enterprise can achieve:

  • Instant backups of AWS data across your entire organization
  • Protection from ransomware and other malicious attacks via air-gapped storage
  • Data compliance with global policies
  • Lowered RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and ensured business continuity in the event of attacks or network downtime
  • Optimized backups and potential cost savings

Experience first hand why Clumio is the industry’s leading innovator for AWS cloud backup. Click here to schedule a demo and learn how your business can get started with Clumio in under 15 minutes — all without the need for any new infrastructure, software, or pre-planning beforehand.