Block-Level Backup

Block-level backup is a faster method to back up data because only the extents that contain data are backed up, rather than the entire files.

Compared to file system backups and disk image-based backups, block-level backups reduce scan times when the file system has a large number of small files. Also, when compared to file system incremental backups, block-level incremental backups run faster and back up less data if the file system has very large files. Block-level backups might not be useful when backing up a portion of files or folders on a volume because block-level backups take a snapshot of the entire volume.

By default, block-level backups are performed using native snapshots, but they can be configured to function with hardware snapshot engines.

For more information on the benefits of using block-level backups, see Block-Level Backups.

Driverless Block-Level Backup

On UNIX computers, you can also run driverless block-level backups without having to load the CVBF driver in the kernel. This is especially useful on UNIX platforms where driver support is not available. For more information, see Driverless Block-Level Backups.

Performance Comparison

The following table compares performance metrics between traditional backups and block-level backups on Linux, using the Recursive Scan method with cataloging disabled.







Backup Type

Scan Time

Backup Time

Throughput GB/hr

Application Size

Number of Files

Block-level backup (full)



79.77 GB/hr

1.05 TB


Traditional backup (full)



47.66 GB/hr

1.05 TB


Block-level backup (incremental)



79.4 GB/hr

177.2 GB

19,111 files sized 8 MB each added, 14,051 files sized 8 MB each removed

Traditional backup (incremental)



73 GB/hr

132.08 GB

19,111 files sized 8 MB each added, 14,051 files sized 8 MB each removed


Restore Type

Volume Size

Restore Time

Number of Files

Volume-level restore from a full block-level backup

1.1 TB



File-level restore from a full block-level backup

1.1 TB


4,068, 651

File-level restore from a full traditional backup

1.1 TB


4,068, 649

Last modified: 3/1/2018 5:12:40 PM