How To Prune, Recycle, and Drop Older Backups with Zmanda

How To Prune, Recycle, and Drop Older Backups with Zmanda

Recycling is always a smart decision, so why not recycle our backup storage media as well? You can recycle the storage media used in your backup environment by deleting the older backups that are no longer required. Your backup solution can take care of recycling media while you look after other important business aspects.

Zmanda can prune, drop, and recycle aging backup data to free up your storage media and make it available for new backups. You can reuse tapes, disks, and other storage media any number of times with this Zmanda feature. Dropping the older backups and recycling storage media can help you cut costs.

Zmanda ensures your data is always safe and therefore has processes in place to take care of recycling, pruning, and dropping older backups. None of your crucial data is overwritten without your knowledge.

Labels are used to identify backup media. These labels ensure that the correct backup media is loaded for the backup set and no backup is overwritten before the retention period is complete.

If ZMC finds an unlabeled media, it:

  1. Labels the tape for subsequent identification

  2. It adds this label to its catalog, allowing backups to be written to this media before recycling old cassettes.

So, you need to ensure that you set the correct retention period and labels for all the storage media.

What are Pruning, Recycling, Dropping, and Archiving in Zmanda?

Pruning, recycling, dropping, and archiving can help you manage your storage media and backup data stored on them. For example, some backed-up data needs to be stored forever for compliance or any other reason. In that case, you can archive it via ZMC. However, if you want to save the backup only for a specific duration and then delete it, you can drop, prune or recycle it as per requirements.


Pruning removes all the expired media at once. Unexpired storage media cannot be pruned.


Recycle identifies the media as immediately available for reuse. In other words, the new backup will overwrite existing data on the media. Recycle operations cannot be performed while a backup is in progress.


Drop functionality removes the media and all backups it contains from the Zmanda server. Make sure you do not drop the storage media that you wish to restore in the future. If you want to drop the media but still retain the data to restore, you can first Archive it and then manually copy the data to a different location. Drop operations cannot be performed while a backup is in progress.


When you select Archive, Zmanda will take the media volume out of rotation. The new backups will never overwrite media volume. You should use this option to preserve the backup data for a longer duration. The media volume is still tracked by the Zmanda catalog and is available for backup restoration.

Backup media screen

Zmanda also allows manually dropping and pruning the data which are archived by mistake.

Manage Media

The Manage Media table in ZMC shows the list of media volumes in the backup set and volume labels. It shows when the media was used for backups.

Manage Media Table

You can select all, recycle, drop, prune, and archive the storage media as per your backup requirements. For more details and information, please refer to our detailed documentation on Backup Media.

Set Up Your Storage Media Now for Easy Reusability

Zmanda offers features and functionalities that could make your backup journey smooth and economical. Well, you can set up your storage media such that it can be reused whenever the older backups are not required. There is also a way to manually drop and prune the data that are stored with forever retention but are no longer needed. You can use your storage media as you want with Zmanda.

Setting up backup media is a part of configuring backup sets in Zmanda. So, if you have not yet created and configured the backup sets, we recommend going through our detailed installation guide to avoid unwanted hurdles.

And if you have recently opted for the free trialour trial guide can help you in your backup journey with Zmanda. In case of any issues with setting up and managing your storage media, please feel free to contact the Zmanda support teams.

Explore More Topics