Retention Rules and Deletions


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Caledon Ken
Caledon Ken
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Not sure if I'm in right section of forum. If not please move. 

I'm trying to understand how the overriding retention rules work as my understanding seems to be incorrect.

I'm keeping x copies of monthly fulls, weekly differentials and daily incrementals.

It is my understanding that when a full backup is deleted all of its children, be they differentials or incrementals, are also deleted. That seems to be working for me. 

It is also my understanding that when I run a weekly differential that it would delete all daily incrementals that have been created since the last differentials. 

This does not appear to be the case, rather the incrementals are only being deleted by the specific retention rule, which in my case says keep 14. 

Does anyone know if a differentials should delete all incrementals since last differential.

Thank you.
Froggie
Froggie
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Your understanding about the deletion of FULLs is correct.  Your understanding about deletion of DIFFERENTIALs is incorrect.  Those "previous" INCs you think should be deleted are not based on the DIFF you are deleting, they are based on any previous INC, DIFF or FULL.  When you delete a DIFF, only that DIFF and any INCs that FOLLOW it that are based on that DIFF will be deleted.
Edited 19 August 2020 3:43 PM by Froggie
jphughan
jphughan
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Deleting a Diff will cause any Incs that are children of that particular Diff to be deleted as well.  However, not all Incs are children of the same Diff, and in fact it is also possible for an Incremental chain to be created as a direct child of a Full rather than any Diff at all, which can occur based on your schedule's settings.  In that case, those Incrementals would NOT be deleted when a Diff is deleted, because those Incrementals don't depend on any Diff.  They would only be deleted by the Incremental retention policy or when their parent Full is deleted.

If you want to see how the backups within a given set are related to each other, select any backup in the restore window and select More actions > Delete.  Don't worry, it won't immediately be deleted.  Instead, you'll see a window appear that will show a hierarchical view of your backups within that set, so you can see which Incs are children of which Diff (or the Full).

Edited 19 August 2020 3:59 PM by jphughan
jphughan
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As additional food for thought, if you've got some backups of a given type being purged "directly" while others are purged only as a result of a parent backup being purged, that typically means that your backup schedule and retention policy aren't properly matched.  Normally you want one of these two outcomes:
  • All backups of a given type are purged "directly", so that by the time a parent backup is purged, it no longer has any child backups, e.g. by the time you purge a Diff, all of its child Incs have already been purged by your Incremental retention policy.
  • All backups of a given type are purged ONLY when their parent backup is purged, e.g. you create weekly Diffs and daily Incs, and you want to hold onto all of those Incs until the weekly Diff is purged, in which case you lose a week's worth of backups at a time.  If this is what you want to achieve, then you can simply uncheck the Incremental retention policy.  Reflect in that case will never purge them directly and will instead only purge them when it deletes their parent backup.  (Although in that case you might want to set up your schedule to ensure that whenever a Full runs, a Diff will ALWAYS be the next backup, so that you avoid having any Incs that are direct children of a Full.)


Caledon Ken
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Thank you both.

Your answer actually helped get my thoughts together.

I wasn't really asking about deleting differentials, rather when I create one should it not delete the incrementals since the last differential?.

Maybe I could ask it this way. I take a monthly full, then weekly differentails on Saturday and daily incrementals.

Lets say I want to restore to to last Monday the 17th. I tell Macrium to restore to the 17th and it will find a mix of incrementals and differentials going back to my last full. I assume it will just use the the last last two incrementals (Monday, and Sunday) and then rely on the weekly differentials. So it would ignore and incrementals from last week.

Do I have this correct?
Edited 19 August 2020 4:19 PM by Caledon Ken
Froggie
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Yep!  It will use what it needs to do the restore...
Caledon Ken
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Thanks Froggie. 

This is a very important point as I do not keep a month of incrementals. 

I keep 14, think I will bump that.

I do keep 28 weekly differentials to go along with my 6 months of full so I can recreate my data for any particular month. 
jphughan
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The restore question gets asked a lot, apparently based on some assumptions that people have from very old backup systems.  But essentially yes, if you say, "Restore my backup from the 17th", Reflect will pull any data it needs from any other backups in the set in order to reconstruct that state.  You do NOT have to restore the parent Full first, then the Diff, and then the Incs -- and in fact you'd be wasting a ton of time doing so.  Just tell Reflect what point in time you want to return to, and it will do what's needed to achieve that, regardless of what data is in that specific backup file.

Caledon Ken
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Thanks

Regarding this statement

All backups of a given type are purged ONLY when their parent backup is purged, e.g. you create weekly Diffs and daily Incs, and you want to hold onto all of those Incs until the weekly Diff is purged, in which case you lose a week's worth of backups at a time. If this is what you want to achieve, then you can simply uncheck the Incremental retention policy. Reflect in that case will never purge them directly and will instead only purge them when it deletes their parent backup. (Although in that case you might want to set up your schedule to ensure that whenever a Full runs, a Diff will ALWAYS be the next backup, so that you avoid having any Incs that are direct children of a Full.)

This has me thinking. When I run an incremental after a differential is the incremental a child of differential? I thought incrementals are always what has change since last incremental regardless if a differential had been run.
jphughan
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Incrementals are “appended” to the most recent “matching” backup, regardless of type. Incrementals can record changes relative to a Full, Diff, or another Inc. Diffs are appended to the most recent “matching” Full. A matching backup in the case of image backups is one that contains the same set of partitions as the ones being backed up. If there are no matching backups, Reflect will create a Full regardless of the backup type you asked for.

If an Incremental could only be appended to another Incremental, then how would you create your first one? Smile
Edited 19 August 2020 6:15 PM by jphughan
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