Intronis Tech Tip: Balancing usage with long-term file retention

Posted by Martin Smith on Feb 14, 2014 1:05:00 PM

By Martin Smith, Partner Support Engineer

Intronis Cloud Backup and Recovery includes tools and filters to help partners manage their storage effectively, allowing them to retain certain files long-term and delete other items that are just taking up space. Sometimes these tools can conflict, so it’s important to understand how certain rules within our software can affect others.

For example, our Stray File Retention Rules – which can be very useful in helping you save storage space – can affect the files you want to keep long-term using our Archiving/Revision Rules. Let’s start by explaining what these tools are. 

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Stray File Retention Rules

Stray files are files that had been backed up, yet for a variety of reasons, are no longer being backed up. Examples of stray files include:

  • Local files or folders that were included in a backup set but then later deleted from the local server
  • Files or folders that were selected in a backup set but then later removed from that set
  • Files and folders that are selected in a backup set but then later excluded via wildcard or global exclusion rules

Despite the actions taken on these items locally, they continue to take up storage space on the Intronis servers as stray files. Within the local monitor, we allow you to manually delete these stray files or set up automatic Stray File Retention Rules to delete them for you. That helps you manage your storage space smarter.

Archiving/Revision Rules

To enable faster and economical protection of the data you have chosen to back up, Intronis only updates the parts of a file that have been changed since the most recent backup. These changes are called revisions, and when you perform a restore, you are recovering the base version of a file plus the revisions.

You can use Archiving/Revision Rules to specify how many revisions you keep and for how long. This can be especially helpful for MSPs working with clients who need to hold on to their data for a very long period of time – HIPAA, for example, mandates up to seven years of data storage for certain records.

The Implications of Stray File Retention Rules on Long-term Archiving

How do these two tools – Stray File Retention Rules and Archiving/Revision Rules – interact? It’s important to know that regardless of the settings of your Archiving/Revision Rules, the base version and revisions of these files are subject to the settings of your Stray File Retention Rules.

Files that you have included in your long-term Archiving/Revision Rules could be deleted from the backup destination if any of the files become stray. There are a couple scenarios that might result in a file becoming stray:

  • The file gets deleted (intentional or inadvertently) from the original location (path)
  • The path or file is no longer part of a backup set because it has been deselected, excluded, or the backup set has been deleted

Managing these tools effectively

Although these two functions are separate, it is important to keep both in mind when defining either rule. You don’t want to inadvertently create a situation in which your Stray File Retention Rule is deleting files that you wanted to archive over a long period of time. A sensible data backup and retention policy is your best bet to avoid this scenario, so be sure to double check both your Stray Retention Rules and Archiving/Revision Rules to make sure no conflicts exist.

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Topics: Backup Management

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