Block-Level Backups

Block-level backups integrate snapshot technology with efficient block storage mechanisms to speed up backups.

By default, block-level backups use native snapshot engines by taking the snapshots of logical volumes (LVMs) and physical volume partitions. However, they can be configured to function with hardware snapshot engines supported by SnapProtect.

Block-Level for the Windows File System Agent requires the installation of the block filter driver. For more information on installing the block filter driver, see Configuring a Subclient for Block-Level Backups for the Windows File System Agent.

Benefits of Block-Level Backups

Block-level backups provide the following benefits:

  • Faster backups

    Block-level backups read data directly from the disk rather than from the database. The amount of data transferred is also reduced.

  • Quick granular restore

    You can quickly restore tables, schemas, or databases from your block-level backup data.

  • Frequent backup cycles

    Snapshots require a few seconds to complete, so you can run block-level backups frequently. This means that you can improve your Recovery Point Objective by having more flexible and granular recovery points in the event of a disaster.

High-Level Process for Block-Level Backups

  1. A snapshot-capable volume is configured as a source volume for taking hardware or software snapshots.

    For native or non-native snapshot engines, a spool copy (a snapshot copy with no retention rules) is created automatically.

  2. During a snapshot backup job, the following processes are performed:
    • Snapshot creation
    • Bitmap management
    • Cataloging
  3. A backup copy job moves the block-level snapshot data to the tape.
  4.  If the primary snapshot copy is configured as a spool copy, then the snapshots are deleted automatically.

Note: If you manually delete the tape copy of a full, incremental, or synthetic full block-level backup job before the data ages, you might not be able to restore data from the entire backup cycle, even though the other jobs are intact. Do not manually delete individual jobs before the data ages, because the jobs are interdependent.

Supported Agents

The following agents support block-level backups: