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Druva Documentation

Manage backup policies

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This topic describes the following sections:

Overview of backup policy

Backup policies are rules that define the schedule, bandwidth for scheduled backups, and the retention period for snapshots. In terms of MS-SQL servers, you define the rules for a full backup, differential backup, and transaction log backup jobs for MS-SQL servers.

A backup policy for an MS-SQL server defines the following:

  • When a backup job is triggered.
  • The bandwidth available for the agent to execute a backup job.
  • The period for which a snapshot is retained. 

You can create a backup policy and attach it to one or more servers. After you assign servers to backup sets, data from these servers is backed up according to the backup policy.  It is possible to create backup policies for File server and MS-SQL server with the same name.

Note: Log backups are not applicable for databases in simple recovery mode

Best practices for creating a backup policy 

  • Phoenix allows you to attach the same backup policy to different backup sets. 
  • You can assign only one backup policy to a backup set.
  • The backup policy can be of the only type, such as File or MS-SQL, but not both. 
  • You can create as many backup policies as you want, depending on the number of servers and the frequency of data change on these servers.  For SQL servers having high volumes of data activity, you can create a backup policy that includes weekly full backups, daily differential backups, and frequent log backups to achieve a tighter point-in-time restore.

Note: The backup schedule that you define in a backup policy depends on your organization's policies. 

About retention

Retention defines the rules for retaining your backed-up snapshots within storage. Use retention period to define the duration for which you want to retain your historic snapshots.

The main objective of retention is to keep important data for future access, depending on how critical it is, and how often it will be required. Retention also ensures that snapshots that are no longer required are cleaned from your storage periodically, resulting in less storage utilization and costs.

Retention should consider the value of your data, as well as the legal requirements that you might need to adhere to. This means that different types of data will be retained for different durations. For example, a bank's retention period for customers' financial records and facilities inventory records will be different.

The main factors to consider while defining a retention policy are,

  • Legal requirements
  • Storage costs
  • Type of data

What should you know about retention?  

  • Any changes that you make to the existing retention policies will be applied to all the new as well as the existing snapshots.

  • Retention periods are applicable for snapshots that reside in Phoenix CloudCache and Phoenix Cloud.
  • Phoenix requires you to specify appropriate retention settings to retain snapshots.
  • If you are registering the server under Default Organization, Phoenix provides a default backup policy with the following retention settings:
    • All snapshots: 14 days
    • Weekly revisions: 4 weeks
    • Monthly revisions: 3  months
    • Yearly revisions: 3  years
  • Phoenix runs a retention expiration algorithm every night at 11:45 PM UTC to delete the snapshots that have crossed the expiration period. This algorithm does not delete thawed snapshots. For more information, see Snapshots.
  • Phoenix follows the Gregorian calendar for tracking days.
  • For daily snapshots, Phoenix considers midnight as the end of a day.
  • For weekly snapshots, Phoenix considers midnight of Sunday as the end of the week.
  • For monthly snapshots, Phoenix considers midnight of the last day of a month as the end of the month.
  • For yearly snapshots, Phoenix considers the midnight of the last day of the year as the end of the year.
  • Snapshot name displayed on the Phoenix Management Console is snapshot creation time as per the server time zone, on which the backup occurred. Phoenix considers the time zone of the server for retaining the snapshots as per retention setting.

How Phoenix uses retention settings?  

Phoenix follows the Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) retention model. You must define the duration to retain snapshots.

  • Daily snapshots - Phoenix retains all the snapshots that are created for the number of days specified in Daily snapshots.
  • Weekly snapshots (Son) - Number of weekly snapshots that Phoenix should retain. Phoenix treats the latest snapshot in the week as the weekly snapshot.
  • Monthly snapshots (Father) - Number of monthly snapshots that Phoenix should retain. Phoenix treats the latest snapshot in the month as the monthly snapshot.
  • Yearly snapshots (Grandfather) - Number of yearly snapshots that Phoenix should retain. Phoenix treats the latest snapshot in the year as the yearly snapshot.

Example

Below is the calendar for September 2020.

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

Sun

     

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

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25

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27

28

29

30

   

Let us assume, if you have specified below configuration in your retention settings of the backup policy:

  • Keep all snapshots for - 14 days
  • Keep weekly revisions for  - 4 weeks
  • Keep monthly revisions for - 12 months
  • Keep yearly revisions for - 5 years

Assume, Phoenix performs a daily backup at 22:00 hrs in your environment and today’s date is September 15th, 14:00 hrs.

Based on the retention period, Phoenix retains snapshots as follows,

  • 14 Daily snapshots - Server A has been successfully backed up for the last 14 days. As per configuration, all the snapshots that are generated as part of backups are retained for 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st September. On 14th September, 11:45 PM UTC, all the snapshots for 31st August are deleted.

Note: If you have configured Phoenix to back up your server multiple times within a day, Phoenix retains all the snapshots for 14 days.

  • 4 Weekly snapshots are retained for
    • 11th September
    • 4th September
    • 28th August
    • 21st August

Phoenix deletes the oldest weekly snapshot, that is, 21st August snapshot on completion of 4 weeks period on 18th September.

  • 12 Monthly snapshots are retained for
    • 31st August
    • 31st July
    • 30th June
    • 31st May
    • 30th April
    • 31st March
    • 29th February
    • 31st January
    • 31st December, 2015
    • 30th November, 2015
    • 31st October, 2015
    • 30th September, 2015

Phoenix deletes the oldest monthly snapshot, that is, 30th September, 2015 snapshot on completion of 12 months period on 30th September, 2020.

  • 5 Yearly snapshots are retained for
    • 31st December 2015
    • 31st December 2014
    • 31st December, 2013
    • 31st December, 2012
    • 31st December, 2011

Phoenix deletes the oldest yearly snapshot, that is, 31st December, 2011 snapshot on completion of 5 years period on 31st December, 2020.

About log backup retention policy

Transaction logs in SQL servers record updates to a database. A backup of the transaction log provides a lightweight solution to back up and restore for databases that are updated frequently. Phoenix backs up transaction logs at regular specified intervals after a full or differential backup job is successfully completed. Log backups are retained based on the specified daily retention policy. Since log backups are dependent on restore points created by full or differential backups, a restore point is retained if a log backup exists that has a dependency on a restore point that falls outside of daily retention policy.

For example, the daily retention policy specifies that backups are retained for 30 days. A scheduled differential backup job is executed on Nov 21st, 2020, 12:00: 00 PM which completes on Nov 21st, 2020, 12:30:00 PM, and a restore point is created. Transaction log backups are triggered every 15 minutes until Nov 22nd, 2020 11:59:59 AM. At this point in time, the latest log backup that exists bears the time stamp Nov 22nd, 2020, 11:45:00 AM. On Nov 22nd, 2020, 12:00:00 PM, the scheduled differential backup job kicks in, and another restore point is created at Nov 22nd, 2020, 12:30:00 PM. 

On Dec 21st, 2020, 12:30:00 PM, based on the daily retention policy, the restore point created Nov 21st, 2020, 12:30:00 PM is on schedule to be purged. Since the log backup created on Nov 22nd, 2020, 11:45:00 AM exists that is dependent on the restore point created on Dec 21st, 2020, 12:30:00 PM, the restore point is retained. This restore point is purged when the log created on Nov 22nd, 2020, 11:45:00 AM is purged when it expires based on the retention policy.

Log backups are retained based on the daily retention policy. If a log backup falls out of daily retention policy it is truncated. Weekly, monthly, and yearly retention policies are not applicable for log backups. 

Create an MS-SQL server backup policy

Before creating a backup policy for MS-SQL servers, ensure that you read Overview of a backup policy

Step 1 of 3: Enter general information

  1. Log in to the Phoenix Management Console.
  2. On the menu bar, click the drop-down next to All Organizations and select the organization which has your MS-SQL server instances and availability groups.
  3. On the menu bar, click Protect > MS-SQL Servers.
  4. In the left navigation pane, click Backup Policies.
  5. In the top right corner, click New Backup Policy.
  6. In the General tab, enter the following information:

    New Backup Policy - General.png
    1. Name: Enter a name for the backup policy.
    2. Description (Optional): Enter a description for the policy.
  7. Click Next.

Step 2 of 3: Specify the backup schedule

Note: Backup operations follow the time zone of the servers. For example, if you set a schedule for backups to start at 6 AM, backups from servers located in New York and London will start at 6 AM EST and 6 AM UTC, respectively. 

 

  1. In the Backup Schedule tab, perform the following tasks:

    New Backup Policy - Schedule.png

    Field

    Description

    Backup Type

    Select the type of SQL server backup from Full, Differential, or Transaction Logs.
    Backup Frequency

    Select the days of the week when the selected backup type should run. You can specify an interval of 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60, or 120 minutes for transaction log backups. 

    Note: Log backups are not applicable for databases in the simple recovery mode.

    Start at

    Enter the time when you want the backup to start. Select AM or PM after entering the time.
    Backup Window
    (Hrs)
    Enter the duration after which you want backup operations to stop. For example, if you set Start at to 9 AM and you set Backup Window to 2 hours, backups from your server start at 9 AM and stop at 11 AM even if they do not complete.

    Max Bandwidth (Mbps)

    Enter the maximum bandwidth that each MS-SQL server can consume while backing up data to Phoenix Cloud.If a backup set is mapped to a CloudCache, the bandwidth settings do not apply to the backed-up data sent over the local LAN to the CloudCache. The bandwidth applies only to the backed-up data sent directly to the Cloud. 

    Note: For a scheduled backup, the job will consume the assigned bandwidth. However, for manually triggered backup, the job will consume the available bandwidth on your network.

  2. Click Add Schedule to add more schedules. You can delete a schedule by clicking the cross icon next to a schedule.

    Remove schedule.png
  3. Select Ignore backup window for the first backup to ignore the Backup Window duration for the first backup job. The first backup job may take longer than the specified backup window duration, and selecting this option is recommended. The first backup job is complete when the first restore point is created. Deselecting this option enforces the backup window duration for the first backup job. 

Note: For Backup policies created before 21 Dec 2020, the user specified values for Max number of retries and Wait interval before each retry will remain the unchanged. For backup policies created after 21 Dec 2020, Phoenix will automatically retry a scheduled backup job twice with a wait time of 10 minutes before each retry. Transaction log backups are not automatically retried.

  1. Click Next.  

Step 3 of 3: Specify the retention period

In the Retention tab, specify the duration for which the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly snapshots should be retained. In the Retention tab, specify the duration for which the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly snapshots should be retained.

Daily snapshots for Duration for which the daily snapshots should be retained.
Weekly snapshots for Duration for which the weekly snapshots should be retained.
Monthly snapshots for Duration for which the monthly snapshots should be retained.
Yearly snapshots for Duration for which the yearly snapshots should be retained.

Note:

  • Ensure that you enter a value in at least one of the fields. Phoenix treats the values in the empty fields as zero.
  • Any changes that you make to the existing retention policies will be applied to all the new as well as the existing snapshots.

  1. Click Finish. The newly created policy now appears on the Backup Policies page.

You can also create an MS-SQL backup policy while creating a SQL Backup Set. For more information see Configure MS-SQL instance or AG for backup.

Copy an MS-SQL server backup policy

You can copy the existing backup policies to create multiple copies of backup policies. When you copy a backup policy, the newly-created backup policy is identical to the policy that it was copied from. You can modify the settings of this policy according to your requirements.

Procedure

  1. Log in to the Phoenix Management Console.
  2. On the menu bar, click the drop-down next to All Organizations and select the organization which has your MS-SQL server instances and availability groups.
  3. On the menu bar, click Protect > MS-SQL Servers.
  4. In the left navigation pane, click Backup Policies.
  5. In the right pane, select the policy that you want to copy to a new policy, and then click Duplicate Policy.

    Copy policy.png
  6. In the New Backup Policy dialog box, enter the following information:
    • New backup policy name: Enter the name for the new backup policy. 
    • Description (optional): Enter a description of the new backup policy.
  7. Click Save

Edit backup policy

If you are a cloud-derived administrator or a group-derived administrator, you can update the existing backup schedule and retention period. While updating a backup schedule, you can specify the backup type, backup duration, and the bandwidth details. While updating a retention period, you can specify the duration for which you want Phoenix to retain the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly snapshots. When you edit the retention period, any changes made in the retention period get applied to all the snapshots whether the snapshots were created before modifying the retention settings or after modifying the retention settings. 

  1. Log in to the Phoenix Management Console.
  2. On the menu bar, click the drop-down next to All Organizations and select the organization which has your MS-SQL server instances and availability groups.
  3. On the menu bar, click Protect > MS-SQL Servers.
  4. In the left navigation pane, click Backup Policies.
  5. In the right pane, click the policy to view policy details.
  6. In the Backup Policies details page,in the Summary tab, you can edit the Overview, Backup Schedule and Retention settings.

    Edit Backup Policy.png
  7. Click the Edit button in each section to edit the settings in that section. For detailed field descriptions, see the Create an MS-SQL server backup policy topic. 

View backup sets associated with a backup policy

  1. Log in to the Phoenix Management Console.
  2. On the menu bar, click the drop-down next to All Organizations and select the organization which has your MS-SQL server instances and availability groups.
  3. On the menu bar, click Protect > MS-SQL Servers.
  4. In the left navigation pane, click Backup Policies.
  5. In the right pane, click the policy whose backup sets you want to view.
  6. In the Backup Policies details page, click the Backup Sets tab to view all the backup sets associated with the backup policy. 

    Backup Policies - Backup Sets.png

Delete MS-SQL server backup policy

If you are a cloud-derived administrator or a group-derived administrator, you can delete backup policies that are not assigned to any servers or are not associated with any backup sets.

 

  • Before you delete a backup policy, ensure that you assign a new backup policy to the server.
  • You cannot delete backup policies that you have assigned to multiple backup sets. Ensure that you associate the backup sets with another policy before deleting the policy.

Procedure

  1. Log in to the Phoenix Management Console.
  2. On the menu bar, click the drop-down next to All Organizations and select the organization which has your MS-SQL server instances and availability groups.
  3. On the menu bar, click Protect > MS-SQL Servers.
  4. In the left navigation pane, click Backup Policies.
  5. In the right pane, click Delete.

    Delete backup policy.png