20 Jul

Backup & Archiving – the difference

So what is the difference between Backup & Archiving? Don’t they both store your data for safe-keeping?

Well, yes but there are key differences  in how the data is collected, and these days, more importantly a clear distinction in the purpose for which the data is collected.

The How

Two words – Copy & Move

Backup takes a COPY of your data for safe-keeping.
Archiving MOVES your data to safe-keeping

From this simple difference flows the purposes for which each is used.

The Why

Backup for Disaster Recovery

Back in the day you could backup your entire data environment within your regular backup plan, and backup tended to serve both as disaster recovery and long term retention.

Today you run into all sorts of problems with this approach :-

  • You don’t have enough secondary or backup storage
  • It takes too long
  • It is difficult to search and retrieve
  • It is too expensive
  • It is too difficult to manage

The only real approach to addressing these issues is to reduce the amount of data you backup. Since you still have to protect all your data to some extent or another you must, therefore, classify the data in some way.

A small percentage of the data is the hot, dynamic, growing data which is actively being created, modified, and worked with.

This is the data that needs to be backed up.

Archiving for Retention

A large percentage of data is historical,  more static, and less frequently accessed. Reference material, completed projects, knowledge repositories, old data and the like.

This is data that can (should) be archived.