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Questions About Scheduling Full and Incremental Backups

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Forum Member
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Our preferred backup scheme is to have one Full backup each month, and daily Incremental backups after that (in separate files).

We're using the Version 11 format to maintain separate files, but I was wondering how I should set up the schedule.

I currently have a Custom schedule that does:

1) A Full backup Monthly, on the 1st day of the month, at 8 PM.  I've set this backup to also run at system startup if the schedule is missed.
2) An Incremental backup daily, at 8 PM.  This backup does not run at system startup if the schedule is missed.

On the 1st day of June at 8 PM, what will happen?
Will only the Full backup be taken?  Or will the Full backup and the Incremental backup be taken, and which will run first?

On the 1st day of July at 8 PM, what will happen?
Will only the Full backup be taken?  Or will the Full backup and the Incremental backup be taken, and which will run first?  If both run, will the incremental backup be chained to the June backup sequence, or will be be chained to the July backup sequence?

If the Full backup on the 1st of August is missed (because the system is off), what will happen on the 2nd day of August?
If the system is powered on before 8 PM, will a new backup chain for August be created?
If the system is powered on right at 8 PM, or if I do not have the option to run the missed schedule selected, will the August 2nd Incremental backup be chained to the July backup sequence?  Or will it know to create a new Full backup for August (as if no backup file existed at all)?

 

Is there a better way to schedule the backups?  I see that I can choose "Monthly" for the Incremental backups and then choose to run every day except for the 1st day of the month.  However, that still leaves the question of what happens when the Full backup on the 1st day of the month is missed.

 

Thanks

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Forum Member
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Since I couldn't get an answer, I ended up switching everything to the "Monthly" option.  I have Full backups running on the 1st (and selecting the option to start the task immediately if the schedule was missed) and Incremental backups running on every day except the 1st.

Support Engineer
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Hello Brian,

thank you for the posting. I am sorry for late reply. I understand; it is not an easy task to set a perfect schedule. I will be glad to help you out!

As I understand, you ended up using “monthly” schedule both for your full and incremental backups. That is a good decision, as you can set your schedule more flexible, excluding the first day of month for incremental backups.

If we talk about the “custom” scheme, in both cases, no matter if the machine is powered on or powered off, the software will act upon its schedule. If in “custom” scheme under “incremental backup” you chose “monthly” option - Days of month and uncheck the first day, the incremental backup will not be created. The same logic is valid for “monthly” schedule.

The option “If the machine is turned off, run missed tasks at the machine startup” enforces Acronis Backup 12.5 to run all the missed backups one-by-one. If per schedule you have missed a full and an incremental backup, upon the machine start the software will create both backups.

In this way, the incremental backups will be chained to the respective full backups and you will end up with neat and structural chains of backups.

I hope I could answer all your questions. Do not hesitate to contat me again if you have any additional questions.

If you have other questions or concerns, that need an urgent reply, I would suggest you contact Acronis support. To contact us, open your Acronis account https://account.acronis.com/ navigate to "Support" - "Select category" and choose one of the contact options: phone, chat or email. We are 24/7 available. Direct link

Beginner
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BACKGROUND: 
I have been using Acronis TrueImage 2019 for several months. I have it configured now (using custom Full + Incr design) to do a FULL on Saturday evening around 10pm.  It runs for about 4 hours.  That FULL is then followed by an INCREMENTAL every 6 hours (at 3am - 9am - 3pm - 9pm).  After 28 INCRs it will do another FULL. 

Pretty much, this has been working, but there is a rub.  My primary machine is a laptop, and if  I need to disconnect it from my LAN, and am disconnected past the next INCR's start time, everything gets pushed off by 6, 12, 18 hours.  Things are far enough out of whack now that this week's Saturday-at-10pm FULL started this morning (Friday) at 9am.  This makes my weekly off-site backup scheme (not ATI-based) go awry, and of course, strangles the laptop's performance here at my desk for the 4+ hours that it runs.

AND:
I have been reading here for a couple of hours.  I read GroverH's 3-year old screed.  I have built and killed off several custom jobs over 4-5 months trying to find a way to do this. 

GOAL: 
How do I create a custom job that runs a FULL at 10pm on Saturday, then has a series of INCRs at 6-hour intervals, and that will begin a new FULL/INCR chain the next Saturday regardless of how many INCRs ran in the prior chain?  What am I missing?

TIA, Ward

Forum Member
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My thread relates to the server product, specifically for agentless VM backups.

If you're backing up a client device I'm not sure how TIH 2019 behaves, but from my experience with 2018 it's not gonna work the way you want it to directly.  You'd effectively need multiple schedules or a nested / hierarchical schedule for a  full / differential / incremental scheme.  I believe this would have been possible in one of the older versions (2012?) before they had the major revamp.

You might be able to to do this if you create a batch file that moves all of the backups to a different folder before the 10 PM Saturday job.

In our server setup, I now (manually) move files over to a separate folder whenever one backup chain is complete.  For example, I used to have:

[Full, Incremental, Incremental, ... Incremental], [Full, Incremental, ...], ...

all in one folder.  The problem with this was that the validation step would validate everything, even the previous completed chains.  This would cause the jobs to take forever to finish.  I wanted it to only validate the current chain (from the most recent Full backup to the latest backup, but not older Full and Incremental backups).

What I ended up doing was simply moving the old version chains to a separate folder.  So I have a directory where backups are stored, and on the 1st of the month, before the next Full backup runs, I move the set to an "Old" subdirectory.  Acronis then sees there's no backup at the destination, creates a new Full chain, and continues on.  Validation only looks at the latest (the current month's) backup chain.

With the server product, this works at any point.  You can break the backup chain by moving stuff and Acronis will start a new one for you with a new Full backup.  On the home product, since the 2016 version I believe, Acronis complains endlessly about a missing backup and does not automatically start a new Full backup.  I'm not sure how the 2019 version will behave.  The older versions (2012 I believe) were great - you could move stuff around and it would just warn you about it and continue by starting a new backup chain.  You could manually delete older chains without affecting the job or schedule.

Again, I don't know how 2019 behaves.  But I would try the following:

1: Run your Full backup and let the Incrementals run throughout the week.

2: Before the next full backup, move the existing backups to a different folder.

3: Watch what happens when Acronis tries to run the Saturday evening backup.

4: If it creates a new, Full backup chain as scheduled (without any user interaction), you should be able to write a batch file that moves the backup file(s) from the destination directory to a subfolder, or somewhere else.  You can then schedule that batch file with Windows Task Scheduler, or perhaps even the Pre/Post commands within the advanced options in Acronis.

5: If that all works, make sure you TEST recovering files from the current backup chain and the older backup chain!  Acronis may or may not like loading up the old version, or doing so may screw up your current job and prevent it from running as scheduled.

Acronis really needs to give us either multiple schedules or more control over these things.  In older versions we had more control over when to create a new backup set in a GFS scheme, and manually moving files around wouldn't trip Acronis up at all.  I think a big part of the problem has to do with the move to the newer TIBX format, where all backups are stored in a single file.

I personally can't stand this approach, as it bakes critical metadata about the backup into the backup file itself, and if you try to sync that file anywhere Acronis doesn't manage (like Google Drive or manually via some other process) the ENTIRE file will need to be synced if even a single bit changes.  With individual files, you can sync ONLY the newer files.  All backup software throughout the history of the computer industry handled it the sane, expected way.  It's why we have the archived flag!  I don't know why they tried to change it.  Yes , a single file is a bit more efficient.  No, that's not worth the added hassle or risk.  Imagine you're writing to your single-file backup for your 60th daily incremental backup.  Imagine Acronis, your OS, your storage device, or whatever has a failure.  That file is now potentially corrupted.  Yes, Acronis tries to do this safely (likely with a journaling system), but if you had separate files, the 1st through 59th update files wouldn't even have been opened for writing, and they could be easily replicated individually to other storage (local, on network, on in "the cloud").

 

Beginner
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Brian,
Thanks for all that.  I now see where I missed what forum thread I was wading into, but all this is extremely helpful. I've done the folder and file move-or-rename dance in the past.  It's kludgey but it does work.

Your analysis confirms what I was afraid of ... they've made things so tight and modular that there is either a hard barrier, or a high risk of breaking something, if you want or need to wander off their defined paths.

In the FWIW department, the company I worked for in the mid-2000s abandoned Acronis over reseller poor support, after several years of reselling it.  We moved all our clients to Shadow Protect and ate their costs for the move.  I came back to Acronis personally this summer after I had difficulty restoring an SP image on my own machine.  The Acronis TrueImage recovery did what I needed perfectly, so I started using it again after 10+ years.  It seems I'm at a decision point:  1) stick with Acronis and piece together a patchwork storage approach for backups that fools Acronis into behaving as I want, or 2) go back to StorageCraft and address the recovery hiccup if I ever need to.

Thanks for your help.

Ward