Backup the Archive!

There’s a difference between backup and archive. If you’re not doing both, you may be wasting space and dollars, as well as putting your data at risk. In this BlogBytes, we will differentiate between backup and archive as well as discuss security best practices for managing your information using LTO technology.

Backup or Archive?

First, let’s examine the differences between a data backup and an archive. A backup is a copy of data that is used to replace the original in the event it is lost or damaged. Some may look at backup as a safety net. Disk storage and LTO technology are used as backup platforms to store a previous copy of a dataset that can replace unusable or unavailable originals. A data archive is different in that it is a collection of historical data that is infrequently accessed but often contains essential data and is designed to be kept long-term for various reasons including reference and analytical applications.

As described in a SearchDataBackup article, “a backup is always a copy while an archive should be the original that was removed from its initial location and sent elsewhere for long-term retention.”

Some organizations attempt to configure their backup software to fulfill both backup and archive roles.  However the problem with this strategy is that it becomes very difficult to identify a single file for long-term archiving from an entire backup job. The article mentions that, archives are also “used to free up primary (production) disk storage space from data that is no longer actively used but must be retained. Keeping an entire backup job…is not a very cost-effective way to use storage. Because backups only copy data, the original file is left in place, which frees up no space at all.”

In Other Words

Backups copy data – which in turn uses more storage space. When the original is moved out to the archive, space is saved and storage management becomes more efficient. SearchDataBackup notes an important application differentiator, “One way that archiving software is different from backup software is the cataloging and search capabilities. Metadata related to archived objects is stored in a database and can be searched based on user-supplied criteria.”

LTO technology can help optimize both data backup and archive. Here’s how:

Final points: an archive is not a backup copy kept for a long time. A backup copy protects original data and an archive utilizes the original for long-term reference. However, the archive needs protection, too. Make a second copy of the archive on LTO technology and move those tapes offsite for the ultimate disaster safety blanket.

Learn more about the top 8 reasons to choose LTO technology here.