What is an incremental backup?

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An incremental backup is a backup type where only the changes that have occurred since the last backup are backed up.

An incremental backup is different from a differential backup in the sense that the last backup can be of any type i.e. full, differential, or even incremental.

Incremental backups offer faster backup creation and more efficient storage space utilization than full backups or differential backups.

Some advantages of incremental backups:

  • More storage space-efficient than differential or full backups.
  • Backup creation is faster than that of full backups or differential backups especially if few changes have occurred.

Some disadvantages of incremental backups include:

  • Restores are slower than that of differential or full backups.
  • Incremental backups have the highest potential for creating backup dependencies. This means that, over time, incremental backups take longer to create especially if full or differential backups are created infrequently.