Enforcing Full Backup

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Overview

SEP sesam provides different types of backup, called backup levels, to enable specifying the level of data that is copied from source to destination. There are four different backup levels in SEP sesam: full, differential, incremental, and copy. The backup level is specified when creating a backup event in the Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules -> New Backup Event.

Incremental and differential backups are typically used to reduce the storage space as they save only data which was created or changed after the last FULL backup (DIFF backup) or after the last backup (INCR backup) – regardless whether this is FULL, DIFF or INCR – of the same task. A saveset created as FULL is the basic saveset for all subsequent DIFF or INCR savesets, therefore you have to perform FULL backups regularly to ensure that you can at any point revert to the previous versions.

For example, INCR backup that was taken after the third INCR after the FULL, requires the FULL, the first, the second, and the third INCR to provide complete restore capability. If some saveset in the backup chain is missing, you will not be able to recover your data to a specific point in time.

Regardless of the backup level specified in the backup event, a backup may run as FULL (or DIFF) when one of the following conditions – explicit (option Enforce FULL) or implicit (assure valid backup chain) – is triggered.

  1. By enabling the Enforce FULL option when creating INCR and DIFF backup events you can ensure that a FULL backup is run within the specified interval; see section Enabling Enforce FULL option in GUI.
  2. SEP sesam has a built-in mechanism to ensure that your chain of backup savesets has always the last full backup available. It automatically maintains control over dependencies among the individual backup savesets and provides dependency-based automated retention. For details, see section Conditions for performing a FULL backup instead of a DIFF/INCR.

Enabling Enforce FULL option in GUI

For details on how to create a backup event, see Creating a Backup Event. This section only provides information which is specific to the option Enforce FULL.

  1. From Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules, right-click the schedule for which you want to create a new event then click New Backup Event. If you have already created a backup event, select the relevant schedule and then double-click the backup event to open its properties. The Parameter dialog opens automatically.
  2. Under Object from the drop-down list select the task for which you are creating this backup event.
  3. Under Parameter, specify the Backup level: select DIFF or INCR. You should consider the advantages of each backup level (regarding time and resources required to store and restore your data) when planning your backup strategy.
  4. Information sign.png Note
    In case no initial FULL backup exists, differential (DIFF) or incremental (INCR) backups are automatically performed as FULL backups.
  5. Once your backup level is set to DIFF or INCR, you can enable the Enforce FULL option. This option ensures that a FULL backup is run within the specified interval. For example, setting the number to 7 will enforce a full backup every seven days instead of an incremental or differential backup if the planned full backup fails. This ensures that a full backup is always performed within the specified time interval, in our example, once a week. You should consider the advantages and disadvantages of the enforced full backup frequency, as it is slower than other backup levels and has the highest storage space requirements.
    If the value is set to 0, the system checks whether the last FULL backup was successful or run with warning for each backup performed. If the last FULL backup was terminated or run with error, the DIFF/INCR backup to be started is automatically performed as FULL backup.
  6. Bck enforce full.jpg

Conditions for performing a FULL backup instead of a DIFF/INCR

In addition to the option Enforce FULL which can be enabled manually in the GUI (see the section above), there are also specific circumstances that will trigger a full backup automatically. SEP sesam performs a FULL backup instead of a DIFF/INCR when the following happens:

copy_reformat_lis failed
For example, if *.lis files cannot be transferred from RDS to SEP sesam Server. *.lis files contain information about the backup's unique files; once the backup is finished, these files have to be copied from RDS to the SEP sesam SESAM_VAR/lis directory as this data is needed for a selective restore.
The previous backup chain (FULL–DIFF–INCR) is not complete
For example, if EOL of a saveset is gone or a saveset is missing, SEP sesam will enforce a FULL backup. For more details on retention behavior and different EOL parameters, see Managing EOL.
DIFF/INCR backup has failed, FULL may be enforced for some specific task types
This behavior depends on the task type. Failed DIFF/INCR may enforce FULL for IBM Domino (LotusNotes), IMAP, Exchange, GroupWise, KOPANO, Citrix XEN, and Hyper-V, while failed INCR (transaction log backup) may enforce DIFF (cumulative) for MS SQL Server and SAP_ASE.
A subtype of a VMware backup task was changed after a FULL backup
For example, if a VMware FULL backup used the Backup as Image option (enabled by default, subtype "_IMG"), it performed a FULL raw backup of VMDK without CBT. If the subtype has been manually altered, it may break the backup chain. Therefore SEP sesam enforces a full backup to create a new initial full backup saveset that is unchanged and can act as the base for consecutive differential and incremental backups. For details on available backup options, check VMware backup.
Exchange Server validating backup integrity by using CHKSGFILES
CHKSGFILES is used to verify the data before performing a backup to ensure that the databases to be stored are not corrupted. If sm_reformat_lis failed for DIFF/INCR (*.lis files were not retrieved/read), the next run of a backup job will be FULL.
A backup task is renamed or copied
SEP sesam must be able to recognize the renamed or copied backup task as a new backup task and not as a continuation of the previous renamed task, therefore such newly created task will run as FULL automatically.