TSM Backup Retention Policies

The following policies pertain to the machines registered  for backups by TSM server. The policies are set up to retain the nightly backup data (incremental for ever) and archive  data for long term storage.

Notes: Please review the technical overview at bottom of  page.  

Understanding TSM version retentions:

  • Version Data Exists — the number of versions to keep when the data still  exists on the client machine
  • Version Data Deleted — the number of the versions to keep  when the  data no longer exists on the client machine 
  • Retain Extra Versions — how many days to keep inactive backup  versions; the days are counted from the day that the version became inactive
  • Retain Only Versions — how many days to keep the last backup version  of a object that has been deleted 

DR means that there is a second copy of the data on another tape that is sent off-site.

Please run TSM client command from the TSM prompt to verify the policy domain for your machine that determines the Backup Policy for data retention (sample is listed below). The retention policies are listed below for the TSM Clients. 

Backup Policy for Servers

Policy Domain Name Policy Set Name Mgmt Class Name Copy Group Name Versions Data Exists Versions Data Deleted Retain Extra Versions Retain Only Version

Backup Policy for Oracle

Policy Domain Name Policy Set Name Mgmt Class Name Copy Group Name Versions Data Exists Versions Data Deleted Retain Extra Versions Retain Only Version

Backup Policy for MSSQL

Policy Domain Name Policy Set Name Mgmt Class Name Copy Group Name Versions Data Exists Versions Data Deleted Retain Extra Versions Retain Only Version

Standard Archive Policy (Archive) Retain Version 365 days and after 365 days archives are deleted automatically. 

The  primary  purpose  for  all  of  the  above  backup’s  policy  is   to  recover  from  hardware  failures  and  other  systemic  events. However, in cases of data accidentally lost we will make a rational effort to help recover the data.  

Scheduled Incremental Backups:

The TSM Server Scheduler prompts each registered machine  nightly for the backups. It will begin an incremental  backup when it is within the time frame specified by your  backup schedule.

A log of scheduler activity is kept in a file called dsmsc hed.log. There is also an error log called dsmerror.log. P lease see the Tips for your particular operating system for the specific locations of these files.  

If you miss a scheduled backup, or the backup fails, the TSM system sends an email to the registered Node  Administrator’s contact e-mail.  

What gets backed up?

The default is that all local drives / partitions on your  system get backed up. You can restrict which Objects are  considered for backup with the DOMAIN (Windows) statement  in your Options File. You can further restrict what  gets backed up with INCLUDE & EXCLUDE statements. The TSM server has defined a set of INCLUDE & EXCLUDE for each operating system, to check them at the TSM command line run: dsmc q inclexcl” to query the  include/exclude paths.


You can  manually create an archive any time  you want. A rchives will  be  bound to your default  management class  &  will  expire  (be  deleted)  at  the  end  of  your  default  data   retention  period  which  is  365  days  by  default.  If  there  is  a  requirement to archive data longer contact your TSM administrator. 

Technical Overview 

First, some definitions:

  • Node: A node is a container within the TSM Backup system that  holds all of the data you back up. This includes all file spaces, which in turn, includes active & inactive backed-up files, and any archives you've created.  
  • Scheduler: A component of the TSM Client that is installed on y our system that transfers your files to the  TSM Backup system at the scheduled time. Installing the Scheduler is part of all Client Installation instructions on this site.
  • Options file: The component of the TSM Client that defines the scope & behavior of your backups & other  settings (usually dsm.opt or dsm.sys).
  • Incremental Backup: When the Scheduler examines each file within the scope  of your backup and only  sends over the files that have changed, or are new, since the last backup. All scheduled backups are  incremental backups.
  • Archive: An archive is a point-in-time backup that is stored separately from the data backed up via the  scheduler and manual backups, but in the same file space. They can only be created manually. Archives are  useful if you want to store a set of files at their curr ent versions on a permanent or only-for-X-days basis. Most  TSM Backup customers do not use archives.
  • Data Retention: The length of time that data is available for restore f rom TSM Backup.
  • Number of Versions: The maximum number of versions of a file that can be stored in TSM Backup. (ie. The  X most recent versions of a particular file that have  been backed up within the retention period are available  for restore.)
  • Active File: A file that still exists on your system that is within the scope of your scheduled backups. The most recent version of active files are always available for restore, regardless of the retention period.
  • Inactive File: A formerly active file that is either deleted from yo ur system, or is now outside of the scope of  your scheduled backups (due to changes to your INCLUDE / EXCLUDE statements in your options file). An  active file cannot become inactive until an incremental backup occurs that notices the change.
  • Management Class: A container within the TSM Backup system that defines dat a retention & number of  versions. There can be, and usually is, different behavior for active & inactive files. Backed-up files &  archives are "bound" to a management class that defines this behavior.
  • File Space: A container within the TSM Backup system that holds all active & inactive files, and any archives  you've created, for a particular drive or partition on y our system. File spaces are unique per machine name and  require manual deletion if you ever want to delete them.