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synthetic backup
Last modified: Thursday, February 03, 2005 

A synthetic backup is identical to a regular full backup in terms of data, but it is created when data is collected from a previous, older full backup and assembled with subsequent incremental backups. The incremental backup will consist only of changed information. A synthetic backup would be used when time or system requirements do not allow for a full complete backup. The end result of combining a recent full backup archive with incremental backup data is two kinds of files which is merged by a backup application to create the synthetic backup. Benefits to using a synthetic backup include a smaller amount of time needed to perform a backup, and system restore times and costs are reduced. This backup procedure is called "synthetic" because it is not a backup created from original data.

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Enterprise Storage Forum: Storage Basics: Backup Strategies 
In this series of storage basics articles, Enterprise Storage Forum explores some of the factors to consider when implementing a backup solution for a storage area network, starting with one consideration that dates back to the origin of the Local Area Network, dealing with the backup window.

Techworld - What Are Synthetic Backups? 
This article provides an excellent and in-depth overview on synthetic backups; how they are created and their uses.

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