Long-Term Retention Policy (GFS)
The long-term or Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) retention policy allows you to store backup files for long periods of time — for weeks, months and even years. For this purpose, Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows does not create any special new backup files — it uses backup files created while backup job runs and marks these backups with specific GFS flags.
To mark a backup file for long-term retention, Veeam Agent can assign to the file the following types of GFS flags: weekly (W), monthly (M) and yearly (Y). The types of GFS flags that Veeam Agent assigns depend on the configured GFS retention policy settings.
GFS flags can be assigned only to full backup files created during the time period specified in GFS policy settings.
If Veeam Agent assigns a GFS flag to a full backup file, this backup file can no longer be deleted or modified. Veeam Agent does not apply short-term retention policy settings to the full backup file. For example, Veeam Agent ignores the backup file when determining whether the number of allowed backup files is exceeded.
When the specified retention period ends, Veeam Agent unassigns the GFS flag from the full backup file. If the backup file does not have any other GFS flags assigned, it can be modified and deleted according to the short-term retention policy.
Veeam Agent assigns GFS flags in the similar way as Veeam Backup & Replication does for VM backup files. To learn about logic behind GFS flags, see the Assignment of GFS Flags and Removal of GFS Flags sections in the Veeam Backup & Replication User Guide.
When planning to use GFS retention policy, mind the following limitations:
- As Veeam Agent does not create new full backup files while applying the GFS retention policy, you must configure your backup jobs in a way you do not lose any essential data due to an insufficient number of full backup files. For example, if you configure monthly GFS retention, you need at least one full backup file per month.
- If a GFS flag is assigned to a full backup file in an active backup chain, the following applies:
- Veeam Agent cannot transform the backup chain according to the short-term retention policy.
- Veeam Agent is not able to merge data from incremental backup files into the full backup file.
- Veeam Agent assigns GFS flags only after you save GFS retention policy settings. This means that GFS flags are assigned only to those backup files created after the configuration, while backup files created earlier are not affected and previously assigned flags are not modified.
- You cannot use GFS retention policy for a backup job targeted at Microsoft OneDrive.
- You cannot store full backups with GFS flags on a USB drive.
- Retention policy for deleted items does not apply to full backup files to which GFS flags are assigned.