How does granular recovery work and what do you need to know about it

In the modern office environment, every person working on projects generates huge amounts of data. Emails, datasheets, presentations, databases, documents, and many many more. Protecting this information is very important from the business standpoint, so usually, organizations tend to use backups as the mean of protecting their data. But backup is only one part of the equation. What would you do if somehow you lose that data? Well, you probably want to quickly and easily recover it. Then you should think about setting up a granular recovery (alt. granular restore) plan which is also the main topic of this article. 

What is granular recovery technology?

Granular recovery or in the more technical term – Granular Recovery Technology – is one of the methods of recovering data from backup copies. With granular recovery, you are able to selectively choose which data to recover. In other words, granular recovery allows recovery of files on the individual level, without the need for a full recovery.

Where many backup solutions need to create multiple copies to recover in both granular (individual files or directories) and full (entire systems) ways, Granular Recovery Technology allows recovering specific files in seconds, as well as the whole systems from a single backup.

How does granular recovery work

To better understand how granular recovery works let’s analyze a specific use case.

Let’s say that our user has a computer with two hard drives. One morning one of them suddenly fails – breaks down, or simply gets destroyed.

On that hard drive, important files were stored, but you – the Admin – have created a backup plan for this device, so the data is not lost. Now you just need to recover those files as fast as possible – having in mind that the shorter the business downtime will last, the better. This means that you need to prioritize the recovery of the critical files, and then work your way through the less critical ones.

With a backup solution allowing a granular restore, like Xopero ONE, you can easily search for important files within the backup you created, mark them, and get them recovered with a few clicks, to a new location. It could be for example the new working drive, while the rest of the backup data remains untouched.

Does granular recovery address disaster recovery issues?

Granular Recovery Technology is the key to solving most issues of disaster recovery. Due to the fact that with it there is a way of fast recovery of mission-critical data. Where the full image backup restore is an option for full recovery of the systems, it might be troublesome because the longer restoration times translate to longer downtime of the organization. Granular recovery provides another faster option to recover the data promptly. 

Benefits of using granular recovery

We have already mentioned some benefits of using a granular recovery technology, but let’s talk about them a little more.

You or your IT team have great control over the backups and restoration processes, which is probably the most important benefit of using granular recovery with your backups. With it, you are able to choose exactly which files you want to recover and which you don’t, especially when you don’t want to perform a full recovery of your systems or virtual machines, you can just pick several items and recover them.

The other great benefit of using granular recovery is its speed. If you are to retrieve only selected items from a backup, there is no doubt that it would be faster than the traditional full restore. Granular recovery is much more efficient than full recovery, and because of its speed and efficiency, many companies rely heavily on granular recovery technology.

Granular recovery vs. basic data restore

But why choose granular recovery technology, over a simple full backup recovery? Let’s look a the difference between the old way – full restore – and the new one – granular restore. 

Full backup restore is quite an easy process, enabling restore with just a few steps, and the big advantage is that you are able to recover the full data set from the backup in one go. But there are some problems with the way the full backup recovery functions. And the problems are quite easy to see in the case of VMware.

With the traditional backup of VMware, if you wished to recover individual files, you would need to have two instances of backup in place – one for the VM, and the other for individual files. You would need to recover the whole VM, and only then restore the files. With that comes a greater cost, due to greater storage space required, and longer time needed to recover the data.

With the granular restore, you would be able to restore individual files from the VMware backup within seconds, with the added bonus of requiring only one backup of your VMware, which saves storage space, and money on the backup licenses.


Granular recovery revolutionized the way we restore data and is now a standard in every backup solution. In many ways, the granular restore can help us reduce downtime, and focus more on our projects. And with Xopero One you can utilize all the benefits of granular restore, with its speed, flexibility, and control, no matter what you need to protect, VMware, Microsoft 365, Git repositories, or and data in general. Find out yourself – start 30 days free trial.