Forever Forward Incremental Backup

Forever Forward Incremental (FFI) is a specific backup method that brings the storage footprint to the bare minimum by keeping only one full copy of the data alongside incremental restore points.

The Forever Forward Incremental backup is not supported for plans in the legacy backup format

The reduction in required storage footprint compared to other backup options can reach up to 48% (given the same retention period). FFI is subject to some restrictions in terms of supported storage types (see Applicability Notes) and just like with other backup methods, minimum storage duration (at some providers it is called early deletion period) policies specific to the cloud storage tier have to be taken into account.

Forever Forward Incremental relies on the Synthetic Full mechanism to rebuild a full backup. A full backup can be rebuilt:

  • Every time a backup plan is executed if your storage has no minimum retention periods. The number of incremental restore points is determined by the number of backup plan executions and the retention period. For example, if your backup plan is scheduled daily and the retention period is 30 days, the number of incremental restore points will be 29
  • After a minimum retention period for the previous full backup expires. In case your storage has a minimum retention period, Intelligent Retention helps you to avoid early deletion fees. In this case, the period of keeping the full backup is adjusted according to the minimum retention period defined by the storage provider. This implies that the specified period of keeping incremental backups (the 'Keep backup for' setting in the retention policy) will be overridden and a new full backup will be rebuilt later, as the minimum retention period expires. This may increase the number of incremental backups since they are created according to the specified backup plan schedule

Supported Cloud Storage

Forever Forward Incremental backup is available for the following storage providers:

  • Amazon S3 (except for the S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval and S3 Glacier Deep Archive long-term storage tiers)
  • Microsoft Azure (except Azure Archive)
  • Wasabi
  • Backblaze B2
  • MinIO
  • S3 compatible (except storage providers without in-cloud object copying support)

If you use MinIO or any S3-compatible storage for your backups and intend to build your backup strategy using the Forever Forward Incremental backups, contact the MSP360 technical support team and request enabling Forever Forward Incremental

Applicability Notes

Forever Forward Incremental is not compatible with GFS retention policy and Object Lock (Immutability). Thus, if you change the schedule in the existing backup plan to the Forever Forward Incremental one and it contains any GFS retention policy settings enabled, a new separate full backup for Forever Forward Incremental purposes will be created. At the same time, all previous backups under the GFS retention policy/Object Lock (Immutability) will be kept on backup storage until their keeping periods and regular retention policy expire.

Enable Forever Forward Incremental

Forever Forward Incremental backup is supported in Backup Agent as of version 7.8 or later. To apply Forever Forward Incremental, update Backup Agent instances on target computers

Forever Forward Incremental is enabled on the Schedule step of the backup plan. Proceed as follows:

  1. Open the Management Console.
  2. In the Computers menu, select Remote Management.
  3. Find the required computer, then click the gear icon.
  4. Select Show plans.
  5. Find the required plan or create a new one.
  6. Follow the wizard to the Schedule step.
  7. Select the Forever Forward Incremental option, then specify the required schedule. You can select a daily or monthly schedule type.

  1. Configure the Forever Forward Incremental retention policy.

It is not recommended to disable the Intelligent Retention. If you use backup storage with a minimum retention period, a disabled Intelligent Retention may cause additional storage costs due to early deletion fees applied. Intelligent Retention overrides the retention settings and, if required, postpones the creation of the next full backup in order to meet the minimum retention period set by your cloud storage provider.

Read more about this feature in the Intelligent Retention chapter

  1. Follow the backup wizard steps to save the configuration.

  2. Click Save.

Enable Forever Forward Incremental Using CLI

To enable the Forever Forward Incremental using CLI, use the -ffi parameter. This parameter configures a Forever Forward incremental schedule. This parameter is not compatible with the GFS retention policy. The parameter must be used with schedule settings and combined with the -purge parameter.

Possible values:

  • yes
  • no (default)

Command example:

addbackupplan -n "mynewplan" -a "myaccount" -d "c:\backup\" -ffi yes -every month -day 15 -at 12:30 -purge "1m"