What’s the difference between incremental and differential backups and what’s best? The answer to this depends on your RTO and amount of time it takes to backup your data.
What Is An Incremental Backup?
An incremental backup is a backup of all the changes since the last backup. In other words, if you select a folder to be backed up, an incremental backup will not backup the files that haven’t changed since the last backup.
What Is A Differential Backup?
A differential backup is the same as an incremental backup, but instead of backing up files that have changed since the last backup, a differential backup only backup up files that have changed since the last full backup.
So Which Is Best?
This depends on your environment (RPO and RTO). Here are the differences between incremental and differential backups:
Differential backups are larger than incremental backups
Differential backups take longer than incremental backups
To restore from an incremental backup, you need to restore the full backup then every incremental backup since the full restore, in order. To restore from a differential backup, you just need to restore the full backup, then the latest differential backup. Differential backups therefore have a better RTO