Different methods for data backups
A full backup (or Image), differential and incremental – these are the three methods for backing up data. So what are the differences, and what are the pros and cons for each method?
With a full backup, all data is backed up to a target drive or disk with each backup. This means that all documents and files are stored in one file, which makes working with the backups and managing them simple.
Creating such a backup is quicker than a differential or incremental backup.
Managing them is easier as only one file needs to be restored.
A regular full backup requires much more space than a differential or incremental backup.
With a differential backup, only the changed or new data since the last full backup will be backed up. This means of course that an initial full backup is required first so that the software knows which documents are new or changed. When restoring such a backup both the “base” backup and the differential backup files need to be restored.
A regular differential backup requires much less space than a full backup.
Restoring such a backup is slower than a full backup.
Managing them is harder as two files are required.
An incremental backup also just backs up new or changed documents, but it bases these changes on the previous incremental backup as opposed to the initial full backup. Only the first ever incremental backup is based on the initial “base” backup.
A regular differential backup requires much less space than a full backup or differential backup.
Restoring such a backup is slower than a full backup or differential backup.
Managing them is more complex as all the files from a backup “chain” are required for a restoration.