Synthetic full backups

Synthetic full backups for VMware virtual machines

What is a synthetic full backup?

A synthetic full backup is essentially the same as a regular full backup in terms of data; the main difference is the way the backup is created. Unlike a regular full backup where the backup software contacts the application or disk, a synthetic full backup is created by consolidating data from the last full backup and all subsequent incremental backups. 

With a synthetic full backup, the backup system doesn't have to contact the VMware virtual machine to back it up. The entire process happens in the backup repository without disturbing the VM host.

As a VM backup solution, RecoveryManager Plus offers synthetic full backups to save both time and bandwidth. 

How it works

Assume you have incremental backups scheduled to run daily in your VM environment. After the initial full backup on day one, RecoveryManager Plus will take incremental backups of your VM for the next five days.

Vmware full vs incremental backup

After five incremental backups, RecoveryManager Plus creates a synthetic full backup that's an exact replica of the current VM state.

Before creating a synthetic backup, RecoveryManager Plus gathers all changes made after the fifth incremental backup and merges this information with the previous full backup and all subsequent incremental backups in the repository.

Vmware full vs incremental vs synthetic full backup

Once the consolidation is complete, you will have a backup chain that consists of a full backup file, a set of five incremental backup files, and a synthetic full backup file. On day eight, RecoveryManager Plus starts a new set of incremental backups for the next five backup cycles.

Vmware synthetic full backup

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