Definition

synthetic backup

Synthetic backup is the process of generating a file from a complete copy of a file created at some past time and one or more incremental copies created at later times. The expression "synthetic" in this context refers to the fact that the assembled file is not a direct copy of any single current or previously created file. Instead, a synthetic file is merged or "synthesized" by a specialized application program from the original file and one or more modifications to it.

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Data backup is the activity of copying files for preservation in case of hard drive failure or some other adverse event resulting in data loss. Backup is a routine aspect of the operation of businesses with mainframes and servers. In personal computing, backup is also necessary but often neglected. The retrieval of backed-up files after an adverse event is known as a restore operation. The ideal backup application creates a complete copy of a file at regular intervals, along with more frequent incremental copies. In case of catastrophic data loss, the restore application can generate a new file that duplicates a recent complete version of the needed file. Synthetic backup applications are not confined to use with individual files; they can also be used to preserve all the data stored in specified folders or on entire drives.

This was last updated in June 2007

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Over the years, the global business community has experienced a dramatic increase in data which needs to be processed, stored, and protected. Considering the fact that data protection is of utmost importance, companies should implement best practices to secure themselves against all types of disasters and properly react in case any of these occur.

One of the best practices that ensure effective and low-cost data protection is to regularly back up your data, in particular, the VM data. There are several backup types: full, incremental, and differential backups, which are the traditional ways to perform backup, and forever-incremental and synthetic backups, which emerged relatively recently. Read here about the synthetic backup and its advantages over the traditional backup types.
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