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Synthetic full not becoming baseline

Created: 01 Dec 2013 • Updated: 01 Dec 2013 | 3 comments

None of my Synthetic Full backups are becoming true baseline backups; they only contain the contents of the incrementals.

I am running BackupExec 2012 fully patched and up-to-date. All backups are going to a disk based backup destination (no tapes involved). Some of the jobs are daily incremental, then weekly synthetic. Some are daily incremental, then daily synthetic. I created jops using the wizard, and made sure the first real full backup was set to not expire until well after a few synthetic backups had run. Once the media for the initial full baseline expires, and BackupExec automatically cleans it out (deletes it), I can no longer restore files that have not been part of any subsequent incremental.

I thought maybe I was being a bit dense and perhaps you need to keep that initial full backup indefinitely, but all of the Symantec documentation I've read and everything here in the forum suggests that the Synthetic is supposed to be the new baseline and the initial baseline is no longer required. Obviously, I've done something wrong but I can't figure out what.

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sagarsonker's picture

In the Jobs view (under a computer), when you select a Synthetic-Full job and click Restore, you will see only Full Backup Sets. When you select a Synthetic-Incremental job and click Restore, you will see only Incremental Backup Sets. i.e. you will be able to restore backup sets created by a selected job only

Please select the parent Synthetic Backup Job (the parent tree node in the Jobs view that contains the three child jobs) also confirm the Backup Method you are seeing in the Restore Wizard. This will be the same Backup Method that you will see under the Storage tab.

Consindering your example: If you run a Full (baseline), followed by Incrementals, followed by a Synthetic Job, then if you delete the Full & Incremental backup sets of the past, run an incremental, followed a Synthetic Job, the latest data will contain all the data (from the past incrementals and full as well) i.e. the former Synthetic Full will become the new full baseline.

It would be great if you could attach a screenshot of some of your observations.

Adam Sander's picture

What you're saying makes sense, and it's what I would expect, but it's not what I'm seeing. I can't post a full screen shot (K-12 school, privacy concerns) but I have attached a sample of what I'm seeing. This is the list of folders being backed up that contain student home directories, as viewed when clicking the "Restore" button (looks the same regardless of which child job was highlighted at the time.)

The first one, from Nov 29 is an incremental. Notice the "2014" folder only had 250MB of changes that day. The second list has the exact same time stamp because it is the synthetic rollup from that week's incrementals. The "2014" folder is a litte over a Gig of data for the week. The third is a new full backup I ran after that when I noticed the problem. The "2012" folder appears now, and you can see that there is actually 123GB of data in the "2014" folder. In the restore window, there are only dates of backups shown - no indication as to whether it was an Incremental job of Synthetic (Full) job that created it.

The other folders show a similar pattern of a great deal of data missing from the Synthetic backup.


sagarsonker's picture

Hi Adam,

I took a look at your screenshots.

In the Restore view, if you click the drive in the tree view, on the right-side frame of the wizard, you do see the Backup Method.

Also, after your Dec 1 Full Backup, did you run another Synthetic Full Backup job? If yes, on the same lines, it would be great if you could just append that screenshot too on the same lines as above.

Full will definitely contain more data than the previous Incremental / Synthetic, assuming that more data was added onto the computer for backup. Note that the previous Synthetic Full's backup set will not get updated. The new Synthetic Full's backup set will get updated with the new changes. For that, running an Incremental (at least) is a must. (FYI - though, running a Full Baseline, is not required.)

However, if you run further Synthetic jobs thereafter, you will definitely see the data i.e. "2012", "2024", etc. will be seen in subsequent Synthetic jobs. Could you please paste the screenshot of that, it will give a pretty clear picture.



Sagar Sonker