Every successful backup job session creates a new restore point that lets you roll back VM data to an earlier point in time. To control the number of restore points in the backup chain, you must specify retention policy settings. The retention policy defines how many restore points you want to retain on disk and thus how ‘far’ you are able to roll back. After the allowed number of restore points is exceeded, Veeam Backup & Replication automatically removes the earliest restore point from the backup chain.
To define the retention policy for a backup job, you must specify the necessary number of restore points or days in the Retention policy field in the backup job settings. By default, Veeam Backup & Replication keeps 14 restore points. In the Storage step of the New Backup Job wizard you can select the following units of retention policy.
- Restore points: Veeam Backup & Replication keeps the last N restore points, where N is the specified number of restore points.
- Days: Veeam Backup & Replication keeps restore points created during the last N days, where N is the specified number of days.
The daily retention policy can be helpful if you periodically create off-schedule backups. For example, you create a daily backup job and you want to store retention points for 14 calendar days. If you select 14 restore points and manually create off-schedule backups, there will be several restore points in one day. So, you will have retention points for less than 14 days. In this case, you can use the days option.
Mind the following for the daily retention policy:
- For the daily retention policy, the minimum number of restore points is set to 3 by default. You can change this value with a registry key. For more information, contact Veeam Customer Support.
If you launch a backup job that has not run during the period of daily retention, normally, Veeam Backup & Replication would delete all previous restore points. However, due to the default value of the registry key is 3, you will still have at least 3 restore points.
- If the backup job starts at the end of the day and finishes the next day, Veeam Backup & Replication assumes that the restore point is created at the moment when the backup job started. However, Veeam Backup & Replication starts counting retention policy days only after the backup job finishes processing VMs.
- For the daily retention policy, Veeam Backup & Replication does not count restore points created on the day the retention policy is run. For example, if you create a backup job on Monday, set daily retention to 3 days, and create full backups daily. On Thursday, Veeam Backup & Replication will keep restore points created during 4 days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). Restore points created on Thursday will not be counted. On Friday, Veeam Backup & Replication will delete backup files created on Monday, and keep restore points created during 4 days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). Note that the retention period may be longer depending on the specified backup method.
When the specified number is exceeded, the earliest restore points will be removed from the backup chain or merged with the next closest restore point. Veeam Backup & Replication handles restore points in different ways for forever forward incremental, forward incremental and reverse incremental backup chains:
- Forever Forward Incremental Backup Retention Policy
- Retention for Forward Incremental Backup
- Retention for Reverse Incremental Backup
When the allowed number of restore points in the backup chain is exceeded, Veeam Backup & Replication deletes the whole backup file, not separate VMs from it. For more information, see Removal of Restore Points.