Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?



  • Hi folks,

    I am trying to think through some backup settings and would like to know what you think.

    So, I use Veeam B&R 9.5 and have a few scale out backups to Azure. When a chain becomes inactive, that is when the backup chain is moved to Azure.

    A backup chain becomes inactive when either an Active Full is taken, or when a Synthetic full is taken.

    Sunday to Friday are incremental, and Saturday is a full. But, should I choose Active Full, or Synthetic full?

    My colleague wants to use Active Full as 'its safer and our systems can handle it', but is that the right choice? I am not sure Active Full is actually safer than synthetic full, and cant really find anything anywhere to suggest so. Any advice?

    Either way, our Veeam server, production storage and network can handle the weekly active full, but does it make sense to put that extra load on the host weekly for no actual benefit? Unless Active Fulls are, in fact, safer?

    Im thinking, sure... I can set it. But, I have to get my hosts to do more work once a week. When, the synthetic full will give me the same and leave most of the load directly on the Veeam server... so why do it?

    What do you think?

    Best,
    Jim



  • Posting the difference between the two type's should help to understand the need for one or the other.

    "In terms of data, the synthetic full backup is identical to a regular full backup. Synthetic full backup produces a VBK file that contains data of the whole VM. The difference between active and synthetic full backup lies in the way how VM data is retrieved:

    • When you perform active full backup, Veeam Backup & Replication retrieves VM data from the source datastore where the VM resides, compresses and deduplicates it and writes it to the VBK file on the backup repository."

    • When you perform synthetic full backup, Veeam Backup & Replication does not retrieve VM data from the source datastore. Instead, it synthesizes a full backup from data you already have on the backup repository. Veeam Backup & Replication accesses the previous full backup file and a chain of subsequent incremental backup files on the backup repository, consolidates VM data from these files and writes consolidated data into a new full backup file. As a result, the created synthetic full backup file contains the same data you would have if you created an active full backup.

    The synthetic full backup has a number of advantages:

    • The synthetic full backup does not use network resources: it is created from backup files you already have on disk.

    • The synthetic full backup produces less load on the production environment: it is synthesized right on the backup repository.



  • So to your coworkers point, I would say, no there is no need for a separate full backup weekly.



  • @DustinB3403 Yeah, I read that already but it dodnt help clarify on those questions I had.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    So to your coworkers point, I would say, no there is no need for a separate full backup weekly.

    He is daying npt to use synthetics on a saturday. Just do the incremental and an active full 😕



  • @Jimmy9008 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    @DustinB3403 Yeah, I read that already but it dodnt help clarify on those questions I had.

    @Jimmy9008 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    'its safer and our systems can handle it'

    Isn't a valid argument for adding an additional backup, network stress and disk usage to your system. Synthetic is fine.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    So to your coworkers point, I would say, no there is no need for a separate full backup weekly.

    He is daying npt to use synthetics on a saturday. Just do the incremental and an active full 😕

    I'm going to take some guesses fixing this.

    He is saying not to use synthetics on Saturday, just use incrementals and a separate active full

    Is that correct?



  • @DustinB3403 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    @Jimmy9008 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    So to your coworkers point, I would say, no there is no need for a separate full backup weekly.

    He is daying npt to use synthetics on a saturday. Just do the incremental and an active full 😕

    I'm going to take some guesses fixing this.

    He is saying not to use synthetics on Saturday, just use incrementals and a separate active full

    Is that correct?

    Yes. 🙂



  • Are they safer? If not, why do active full even exist?



  • @DustinB3403 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    & Replication accesses the previous full backup file and a chain of subsequent incremental backup files on the backup

    Reverse it on him - ask him how active full is safer?

    If you don't trust the data in the incrementals and the previous full backup, then why are you using the product?

    Putting load on production shortens its lifespan - maybe not noticeably, but it still does because of work being done.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    Are they safer? If not, why do active full even exist?

    Because you never get rid of tech you already have, you just add to it. Also, the first full backup has to be just that - an active full backup, there is no previous full and incrementals to pull from.



  • @Dashrender said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    @DustinB3403 said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    & Replication accesses the previous full backup file and a chain of subsequent incremental backup files on the backup

    Reverse it on him - ask him how active full is safer?

    If you don't trust the data in the incrementals and the previous full backup, then why are you using the product?

    Putting load on production shortens its lifespan - maybe not noticeably, but it still does because of work being done.

    I like this idea. That could work well - thank you.



  • Because I sync Veeam’s backup target (a Synology NAS) to B2, I do not use the synthetic full that daily recreates the full backup. That would cause the entire vdk to need to be uploaded to B2 every day.

    In my case I set up active full to run on Fridays. A different server each Friday. Stacking various serves on the same Friday to balance the load over the month.

    Then daily incrementals.



  • @JaredBusch said in Veeam Active Full or Synthetic Full?:

    Because I sync Veeam’s backup target (a Synology NAS) to B2, I do not use the synthetic full that daily recreates the full backup. That would cause the entire vdk to need to be uploaded to B2 every day.

    In my case I set up active full to run on Fridays. A different server each Friday. Stacking various serves on the same Friday to balance the load over the month.

    Then daily incrementals.

    This is also exactly why I don't do this.


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