By Zelia / Last Updated July 18, 2023

What is AWS incremental backup

AWS incremental backup is a backup method that involves capturing and storing only the changes made to data since the last backup, rather than duplicating the entire dataset every time a backup is performed. In this approach, only the modified or new data is backed up, reducing storage requirements, backup duration, and network bandwidth usage. Incremental backups are commonly used to ensure efficient and cost-effective data protection in AWS environments.


AWS backup incremental or full

When considering AWS backup options, the choice between AWS backup incremental or full depends on various factors:

  • Data Volatility: For frequently changing data, AWS backup incremental is ideal as it captures only the modifications, minimizing storage needs and backup time. Stable or unchanging data may be better suited for full backup, which provides a complete snapshot at regular intervals.
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO): Incremental backup offers a shorter RPO since it captures changes in near real-time, reducing potential data loss. Full backup provides a comprehensive RPO as it captures the entire dataset during each backup, ensuring complete data availability.
  • Storage Costs: AWS incremental backup offers cost savings over time, as it only stores the changed data rather than duplicating the entire dataset. Full backup requires more storage space as it stores the entire dataset during each backup, potentially resulting in higher costs.

How to perform AWS incremental backup

To implement AWS snapshot incremental backup effectively, follow these steps:

✧ Create an Amazon EBS Snapshot:

1. Open the AWS Management Console and navigate to the Amazon EC2 service.


2. Select the desired EC2 instance for which you want to create an incremental backup.

3. Choose the EBS volume attached to the instance and click on Actions. From the drop-down menu, select Create Snapshot and provide a meaningful description for the snapshot.


✧ Automate Snapshot Creation:

1. Open the AWS Management Console and go to the Amazon EC2 service. In the navigation pane, select Snapshots and then click on Lifecycle Manager.


2. Click on Create Snapshot Lifecycle Policy and configure the following:

  • Set the target resources (e.g., specific instances or all instances).
  • Specify the schedule for snapshot creation (e.g., daily, weekly).
  • Define retention rules for the snapshots.
  • Add tags for better organization and identification.


3. Review the settings and click on Create Policy.

✧ Monitor and Manage Incremental Backups:

1. Open the Amazon EC2 service and select "Snapshots" from the navigation pane. Sort and filter the snapshots based on your requirements.

2. Review the snapshots' creation time, description, and tags to identify the incremental backups.

3. To manage the retention of the incremental backups, you can modify the lifecycle policy created in the previous step or manually delete the snapshots that are no longer needed.



AWS backup incremental offers an efficient and cost-effective approach to safeguarding your critical data. By selectively capturing only the changes made since the last backup, this method minimizes storage requirements and backup duration while optimizing network bandwidth usage.

By following the outlined steps and utilizing the AWS Backup service, you can easily implement and manage AWS incremental backups, enhancing your data protection and disaster recovery capabilities. What’s more, please remember regular monitoring and testing of backups are also crucial to maintaining the reliability and effectiveness of your backup strategy.