Incrementals Forever as "recommended" choice in Select Backup Plan


Author
Message
dyhs
dyhs
Proficient Member
Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 164, Visits: 640
The choice of the Backup Plan isn't easy.
First, you have to grasp the technicalities of each different plan; then you have to understand which one is best in your case.
There are some explanations under each Template but I suspect many new users just pick one at random as long as its name "sounds good". Smile

In order to help new users decide, the Create Backup wizard could show sort of a "recommended" attribute for the "Incrementals Forever" plan (with Synthetic Full), which in my understanding is a good choice for many, unless you have special needs. I am not an expert but I read many good reasons in favor of the Incremental Forever plan on these forums too.
The text might say something like: "If you don't know what to choose, try Incrementals Forever with Synthetic Full. You can find more info in the online KB and our support forums".

Please note I am not saying to make Incrementals Forever the pre-set setting, which I would leave to "None" as it is now.

jphughan
jphughan
Macrium Evangelist
Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 7.9K, Visits: 55K
Having just written a few posts over the last few days about GFS, FS (with and without "variable granularity" and Synthetic Fulls), and Incs Forever, I too am starting to realize just how nuanced the choice of backup strategy can be, and therefore how confusing it can be to the average Joe.  The fact is that Reflect offers a high degree of both capability and flexibility, and that combination almost always leads to a certain degree of complexity.

But in terms of "promoting" Incs Forever, although I use that strategy myself because I appreciate a variety of its benefits, I'm not sure it's most likely to be best for the average user.  I'm assuming that the average user will not be using a disk rotation like I do and therefore will want to retain more backups on their destination than I do on any one of the 9 disks in my rotation.  So if the user wishes to perform daily backups and retain 3 months' worth, that would be ~90 Incrementals.  I know that there's nothing technically wrong with that, but a chain that long would make me feel uneasy because it increases both the risk and impact of "bad data" somewhere in the chain.  I also wonder how it would affect restore/browse times, especially now that Delta Incremental Indexes is enabled by default.  But far more importantly, in this scenario, all backups are part of a single chain, which increases risk on its own but becomes an even greater risk when the chain is long.  To be fair, I've been using Incs Forever with Synthetic Fulls for 10 months of daily backups now and have not had a single failed consolidation operation, but that's not the only possible point of failure.  Hard drives can develop bad/damaged sectors due to manufacturing flaws or "external factors", e.g. the user dropping the drive or (worse) knocking it a desk while it's running if the drive doesn't have a freefall sensor built in.  With Incs Forever and only a single destination, this could render a huge portion of the user's backup history useless, up to and including the entire chain, whereas a GFS strategy might limit that damage to a month's worth of backups.

And from a pragmatic standpoint, the average user just wants their data backed up.  They're probably less concerned about:
- How long backups take (they can run overnight and/or at lower priority if needed)
- How much storage backups consume (storage is cheap)

They may not even be concerned about how long backups are retained, since in most cases people want to browse/restore recent backups, not ancient backups. And even if retention is a significant factor, the retention policies are fairly simple to understand in my opinion and are also somewhat independent of the backup strategy selection.  Lastly, the average user probably does not understand, nor should they have to understand (in my opinion) the difference between Full, Diff, and Inc backups. Rather, they pretty much just want to know what points in time they have available from which to restore data, and exactly how that is achieved is unimportant to them.

Given that, pretty much ANY template the average user chooses is going to get them where they want to be.  It very likely will NOT be the "best" strategy for their purposes in terms of time to perform backups, storage consumed, risk/impact of bad data, etc., but if that starts mattering to them, then as you say, Reflect already describes these strategies in the UI and has excellent documentation elsewhere that describes them in greater depth in order to help those users make informed decisions. It's not reasonable for people to expect they'll be able to utilize powerful tools to their fullest extent without educating themselves a bit, after all.

Edited 7 September 2017 4:17 PM by jphughan
jphughan
jphughan
Macrium Evangelist
Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 7.9K, Visits: 55K
I personally think the most likely strategy to be "best" for the average user might be Father/Son, specifically monthly Fulls and daily Incs with no retention policy specified on the Incs.  Just let the user-specified Full retention policy purge those whenever it runs.  That way, the user has multiple sets for resilience (assuming they retain more than 1 Full), almost always has fast backups because they're primarily running Incs, and the Inc run time is NOT lengthened by consolidation operations because there's no retention policy on them.  That lack of consolidation would remain true even if a Full backup were ever missed (or failed) and Reflect therefore ended up retaining more Incrementals than it normally would, whereas if a retention policy WERE specified on Incs to keep only the "expected" number, then a missed/failed Full would cause consolidation.

On the other hand, GFS would further reduce the impact of "bad data" in the set (unless it's in the Full), with the only tradeoffs being higher storage requirements and some backups running longer than they would in a Father/Son strategy, but maybe that's worth the extra protection to justify making it the "recommended for average user" strategy over Father/Son. And here again, I'd personally disable retention policies on the Diffs and Incs.

Edited 7 September 2017 4:09 PM by jphughan
dyhs
dyhs
Proficient Member
Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 164, Visits: 640
@hphughan
After reading your replies I realize my original post was oversimplifying a complex question and possibly giving the wrong answer Smile
That said, I still think the "wizard" as it is now is not really helpful for those who don't know zip about Full, Diff, and Inc backups, and all the nuances of different backup plans. Like you say, average Joe does not understand all that, why should he?
What Joe possibly knows, instead, is what he is going to backup and what he expects from backups. Is it Windows OS or data or both of them? Would he be happy with a one-month-old restore or would he need older ones? Is it important to him that backups run fast? Is he going to use disk rotation? How much disk space is there for backups?
Perhaps, a secondary, optional wizard (let's call it "Help me choose the right plan for me") could suggest a backup plan according to user answers to such questions.
jphughan
jphughan
Macrium Evangelist
Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)Macrium Evangelist (11K reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 7.9K, Visits: 55K
I agree, a "Help me choose" function of some kind would be useful.  A questionnaire is one possibility, or a YouTube video with animations that show how these strategies work in practice might help the average user understand what's going on a bit better. Macrium already has videos for Incremental Merge and Synthetic Fulls, and if there's also one that illustrates GFS and/or FS, perhaps a new "What backup strategy is best for me?" video that pulls content from each of those videos and adds some extra Pro/Con information to each would be helpful.

dyhs
dyhs
Proficient Member
Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)Proficient Member (267 reputation)
Group: Forum Members
Posts: 164, Visits: 640
Well, the users in question are already going through a wizard, so I'd try help them with some more powerful wizard. 
Some "Help me choose" wizard for beginners, distinct from the the "Advanced" (current) wizard.
The "Beginner" wizard might help them pick correct retention options too.
Edited 8 September 2017 2:31 PM by dyhs
GO

Merge Selected

Merge into selected topic...



Merge into merge target...



Merge into a specific topic ID...




Reading This Topic

Login

Explore
Messages
Mentions
Search