File backup vs image backup; Which is best for your business and what’s the difference? The diffierence between file backup and image backup is:
Image backups are faster if you are backing up the whole computer. If your backup only requires particular files, then file backups are faster
Image backups are quicker to restore from because you don’t need to reinstall an operating system, then restore services and applications then restore the files; Instead you just restore the single image
File backups are more complicated to restore than image backups
File backups can be restored to different hardware – although most image backup software packages allow you to do a Hardware Indepentant Restore these days
File level backups offer more granular backups. If you want to only restore a single item, many image level backup software packages will be able to do that but may require you to restore a copy of the whole image then extract the single file out of the backup. This is a consideration you need to make based on your environment
Image level backups usually take more storage space to backup because you backup everything, rather than just the files you need
There will be a number of other differences between image level backups and file based backups that aren’t listed here and you will need to compare specific software to see the exact differences. In most cases, without experience it’s hard to compare image backups vs file backups for your business because there’s so much sales information that you may miss the pitfalls of the specific type of backup for your particular environment.
For example, a vendor might say that image backups are faster, but if you only need to backup a few files, in reality file level backups are faster (I’m not advocating either in this example, because you can’t say which is best because everyone’s environments and therefore requirements are different). As file level backups are faster, you might then be able to do more backups per day and get a better RPO. However, file level backups may be more complicated to restore, increasing your RTO.
The point is that you can’t say that image backup or file backup is best, they are different. If you need help architecting a solution, start a thread in the forum and I’ll try to help you 😉