During every backup session, Veeam Backup for GCP creates a cloud-native snapshot of each VM instance added to a backup policy. The cloud-native snapshot itself is a collection of point-in-time snapshots that Veeam Backup for GCP creates using native GCP capabilities.
A sequence of cloud-native snapshots created during a set of backup sessions makes up a snapshot chain. Veeam Backup for GCP creates the snapshot chain in the following way:
- During the first backup session, Veeam Backup for GCP takes a snapshot of all VM instance data and saves it in the region where the processed VM instance resides. This snapshot becomes a starting point in the snapshot chain.
The creation of the first snapshot may take significant time to complete since Veeam Backup for GCP copies the whole image of the VM instance.
- During subsequent backup sessions, Veeam Backup for GCP takes snapshots of only those data blocks that have changed since the previous backup session.
The creation of subsequent snapshots typically takes less time to complete, compared to the first snapshot in the chain. Note, however, that the completion time still depends on the amount of processed data.
For more information on how incremental snapshots work, see Google Cloud documentation.
Each cloud-native snapshot in the snapshot chain contains metadata. Metadata stores information about the protected VM instance, the backup policy that created the snapshot, and the total number of snapshots in the chain. Veeam Backup for GCP uses metadata to identify outdated snapshots, to load the configuration of source VM instances during recovery operations, and so on.
Cloud-native snapshots act as independent restore points for backed-up VM instances. If you remove any snapshot, it will not break the snapshot chain — you will still be able to roll back instance data to any existing restore point.
The number of cloud-native snapshots kept in a snapshot chain is defined by retention policy settings. For more information, see Retention Policy for Snapshots.