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Backup vs Archive

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Backup vs Archive – an important differentiation most people don’t make

The easiest way to choose between backup and archiving is to consider what data you’re storing and for what duration.

Backup should be used for the rapid recovery of operational data. Backups are there to provide a fast method for recovering data that is current or in recent use. The key factor in a backup is the speed at which the data is restored. In most cases this can be to cover accidental deletion or file corruption, but is also used for DR scenarios.

Archiving, on the other hand, is intended as a repository for data that needs to be stored for an extended period of time – this could be for decades. Speed is not usually of great importance as the data is not as critical as the data in a backup. Searchability, however, is.

Something to consider…

While some of us like to think that time does not go on without us, the truth is that it does. When thinking about data protection it is a good idea to consider using software that is archive specific. I say this because over a period of 10 years your business may go through many different software upgrades using specific backup applications. The problem being that most of these backup applications store the data in a proprietary format which can ultimately end in the data being unreadable on a newer system. It is much better to use an application specifically designed for the job that moves the files to the archive in native format.

Compliance & searchability

For business and compliance reasons, being able to search for data is highly important as a late submission of information can result in legal penalties.

Most data that is archived and now become ancient over time will not be remembered word for word. Having software that can locate data based on keywords is a must. Metadata indexes are used by archive specific software to allow for much faster searching.

What should I base my decision on?

There are many different things to factor in when making this decision, but ultimately it must be tailored to best suit your business needs.

Before choosing a path, here’s a few points to consider:

  • How quickly do I need my files back?
  • How long do I need them available for high-speed restore?
  • How long does the data need to be kept for?
  • What are the costs and the time frame of getting long-term data back?
  • What are the security needs for the data being stored?
  • Which is the cost for the entire solution?
  • Data growth?

Considering that data is the backbone of most companies, it would be wise to think of it as something that evolves at the pace at which your company expands. Having the right insight and strategy when implementing your storage and backup solution may end up saving your company both time and money in the future.

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Jon Abbott

With more than 15 years experience researching, testing and evaluating the latest technologies, Jon is able to advise clients and readers on how to improve system efficiency and keep up with the latest technology.

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