The 3 recommended ways to schedule backups

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Everyone knows the importance of backups.  They are the cornerstone of data protection.  With this being the case, we are very frequently asked questions like, “When should I do my backups?” or “How often are you supposed to do a backup?”  The following are the top three recommended ways to set up a successful backup schedule.

Tower Of Hanoi

tower of hanoi
Tower of Hanoi is based on a mathematical puzzle. A series of rings or disks are stacked in size order, the largest on the bottom, on one of three poles. The object is to move all of the rings to the third pole. But you can move only one ring at a time, and you can’t place a larger ring on top of a smaller ring. The secret is to shift the first ring every other move (moves 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11…), the second ring at intervals of four moves (moves 2, 6, 10…), the third ring at intervals of eight moves (moves 4, 12…), and so on.

The Tower of Hanoi rotation scheme lets you keep several current copies of data, several week-old copies, and a few month- or year-old copies.  Each tape set is used a different number of times. When a new tape set is added, it is slated to be reused every other rotation. Older tape sets are used every fourth rotation, every eighth rotation, and so on. You can perform a tape-set rotation daily or weekly. For example, if you have five weekly tape sets labeled A, B, C, D, and E, your tape rotation would look like this: A B A C A B A D A B A C A B A E (each letter represents a week of backups).

Round Robin

Round Robin

Round Robin uses a single tape set for each day of the workweek. This ensures that you will never lose more than a day’s worth of data, but it keeps only a week’s worth of your information.


Grandfather, Father, Son (GFS)


GFS is the most common tape rotation method. The number of tape sets you use is based on the number of workdays that you add data to your network. It works as follows:

Back up data on a different tape set every working day. If your backup cycle is based on a five-day workweek, you will need four daily tape sets (a fifth tape set comes into play later). You can perform full, incremental, or selective backups during the week.

On the fifth day, you will use a weekly tape set. You will need three weekly tape sets.

In the fourth week, you will need a monthly tape set. Since there are 13 four-week cycles in a year, you will need 13 “monthly” tape sets.

The GFS method is easy to use if you remember to label your tapes. Also, since the daily tapes are used more frequently than the weekly and monthly tapes, you will need to replace them more often.

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