Backup Does Not Equal Archive – Here’s Why Knowing the Difference Matters

March 31st, 2020 by Meredith Bagnulo

Today is World Backup Day, a reminder to everyone to protect their valuable data by creating a second copy and keeping it somewhere safe. However, when it comes to backup, it is important to distinguish between backup and archive as these core IT processes are not the same and are too often misunderstood. The 2019 Active Archive Alliance survey indicates 57% of respondents still use their backup system for storing archive data.

Using backup copies to store archival data and repeatedly backing up unchanging archives lengthens the backup window and wastes costly HDD space. Backup and archive are entirely different processes and have different objectives.

The backup process creates copies of data for recovery purposes which may be used to restore the original copy after a data loss or data corruption event. Backups are cycled and updated frequently to account for and protect the latest versions of important data assets.

Archiving frees up disk capacity and moves unchanging and less frequently used data to a new location and refers to data specifically selected for long-term retention. Archival data is typically unchanging and is rarely overwritten.

Both backup and archive data are accessible through the use of active archives which enable efficient access to data throughout its life and are compatible with flash, disk, tape, or cloud (public or private) block or object storage systems. Active archives help move data to the appropriate storage tiers to minimize cost while maintaining ease of user accessibility.








Understanding the difference between backup and archive can help you to reduce costs significantly and boost resource utilization. For more information on this topic, check out the 2019 State of Active Archive report.

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