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I'm using Backup Exec 2010 to backup roughly 400GB of data onto a 1TB hard drive. I do not understand how Backup Exec works (though, I'd love to learn), so this question may be rudimentary.

I have noticed that the HD had more than ample space to back up the required data at first, but more recently all my HDs have less than 50GB available.

Should I format the drives every so often, or does backup exec know what it is doing? I'm trying to avoid failed backups triggered by space requirement issue.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you are backing up 400 GB of data to a 1 TB Hard Drive you only have enough room for 2.5 full backups. Therefore, your backup retention policies and the type of backups you are preforming (Full, Incremental or Differential) will have a direct impact on how much space is consumed by BackupExec on your 1 TB drive.

Without getting into a whole post on backup policies, you might want to take a look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backup_rotation_scheme. Many people use the Grandfather-Father-Son scheme with daily incremental backups.

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Right now it is set to "Full - Using archive bit." However, on it is also set to "When this job begins "overwrite media." –  gtaylor85 May 12 '11 at 14:33
    
Also. I am using Grandfather-Father-Son scheme. Looks like I need to switch to incremental backups though. If I switch to incremental, would it then be beneficial to format the drives to "start fresh?" –  gtaylor85 May 12 '11 at 14:41
    
I would only recomend a "fresh" start if you know that there is nothing in the prior backups that you need to restore. –  Richard West May 12 '11 at 14:49
    
Depending on what your backup retension policy is the "when this job begins - overwrite media" option may or may not have the effect that you are looking for. For example you can tell BackupExec to hold on to a media set for 30 days. Therefore, backupExec will not overwrite this data for 30 days, on the 31 day it is possible, but not guaranteed, that the media file will be overwritten. –  Richard West May 12 '11 at 14:51
    
Last question. I can erase the HD's as I go, so prior backups aren't an issue. Everything I read says do incremental backups "until your next full backup." So I can't do incremental, which would basically perform a full backup the first time, and incrementally after that? I will need to schedule a full backup at some point? –  gtaylor85 May 12 '11 at 15:38
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