In most cases, simple backup retention policy is not enough. You cannot store an unlimited number of restore points on the target backup repository forever — it is not rational and is resource consuming. If you want to retain VM data for longer periods of time, you can enable the GFS retention policy scheme for backup copy jobs.
The GFS, or Grandfather-Father-Son retention policy is a backup rotation scheme intended for long-term archiving. It lets you keep backups of VMs for an entire year and requires minimum amount of storage space. GFS backups are always full backup files that contain data of the whole VM image as of specific date.
GFS is a tiered retention policy scheme. It uses a number of cycles to retain backups for different periods of time:
- Regular backup cycle
- Weekly backup cycle
- Monthly backup cycle
- Quarterly backup cycle
- Yearly backup cycle
In the GFS retention policy scheme, weekly backups are known as ‘sons’, monthly backups are known as ‘fathers’ and yearly backup are known as ‘grandfathers’. Additionally, Veeam Backup & Replication maintains quarterly backups. Weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly backups are also called archive backups.
You cannot enable GFS retention settings if you use a backup repository with rotated drives as the target backup repository.