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What are Retention-Interval Plans?

Off-site Data Protection is a hot topic not only for Open-E. This strategy is being implemented in various applications more and more often, so as to keep company data safe and sound, and secured from man-made and natural disasters. No wonder IT specialists recommend off-site backup – keeping data on a remote server where the whole backup process is performed automatically is a reasonable idea. Administrators are not forced to back the data up manually and to control it on every step, wasting plenty of valuable time and effort. Off-site Data Protection in the ZFS-based Open-E JovianDSS enables creating consistent snapshots of chosen resources and asynchronous replication to remote (or local) destinations. The strategy for off-site backup with retention-interval plans is quite unique. In this post we would like to bring you closer to the whole idea of retention-interval plans in the most accessible and comprehensible form. Let’s start from the basics:

Retention-Interval Plan – each Zvol and Dataset can have one Retention-Interval Plan that is defined by one or several rules

Rule – controls when snapshots are created and deleted, based on Interval and Retention Period

Interval – the time between subsequent snapshots

Retention period – the life-time of the snapshots in a rule

Both intervals and retention periods are expressed in standard units of time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years)

Rotational auto-snapshots – fixed amount of snapshots that rotate through the defined retention period

Replication – Process of copying a snapshot to another JovianDSS server

Generally speaking, retention-interval plans are a built-in feature of Open-E JovianDSS, enabling to control the process of automatic activation and deletion of snapshots. Rotational auto-snapshots of a chosen dataset or zvol are stored according to the retention-interval plan for secure and structured  data archiving.

Knowing already the basics, let’s focus on some real-life examples.  Below you can find a chart that presents what a plan might look like. In this plan, a user has set up snapshot every 5 minutes and set to keep them for 1 hour. All in all, max. 12 snapshots have been taken within the last hour. After a new snapshot in the following hour has been created, the latest snapshot (so the very first one) is being deleted.




Now, take a look at another example. The one shown below is an example of a more advanced plan that involves a couple of rules. Here you can notice that the user can:

  1. set up replication every 5 minutes and keep the copies for 1 hour,
  2. set up replication every hour and keep the copies for 1 day,
  3. set up copies each day and keep them for 1 month.




By default, the retention-interval plan in Open-E JovianDSS  is configured to make a snapshot every 5 minutes and to keep them for 1 hour, plus, another snapshot is made every 1 hour and snapshots are kept for 3 days. Additionally, another snapshot is made once a day and is kept for 1 month. Of course, those are only examples as plans can be set according to user’s individual requirements, which means any number of rules can be set for a retention plan to adapt it to any backup strategy. Once the retention-interval plan is set, the snapshots are replicated automatically to another JovianDSS server for backup. Go to our website to see a brilliant infographic that demonstrates this on 4 time axes – choose the speed of animation to get the true idea of how retention-interval plans in Off-site Data Protection look. More >>

Our new solutions article “Off-site backup storage solutions with Open-E JovianDSS” lists examples of typical backup scenarios.







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