What is the Difference Between Backup and Archive?

Data backup vs. data archiving – these topics aren’t so much an either or, but rather a necessary combination. With the increase in attacks that often include malware, employee sabotage, ransomware, and a host of other denial of service events, being able to recover your data is now a boardroom discussion.

Companies need to look across their data sets to determine what their backup retention policies need to look like. Perhaps it’s 15 days, 31 days, 3 months, or forever. Then they need to determine what their costs per GB look like based on what their architecture looks like today and what it will look like tomorrow.

A traditional backup scenario includes a local data center that may have the production data backing up daily or weekly. That data may then get sent to a secondary data center as a disaster recovery location, should something happen to the first data center. This method, albeit very safe and efficient, may also be very costly for keeping long-term data or data kept past retention period.

In this traditional example, the long-term data may then be sent offsite and backed up to a tape library for archiving. With the advent of cloud providers like AWS and Azure, many companies are choosing to point their long-term data directly to cloud storage providers. And in some cases, companies are doing away with the secondary data center altogether and are backing up directly to the cloud.

As you can see, data backup and data archiving are both vital to data recovery but also have different cost models. While the data that is backed up within the first 14 days may sit on high-performance drives that allow for fast recall, long-term data would sit in an environment with a longer recovery time. All stakeholders that are tied to the success of the organization must sit down with all groups and analyze what’s right for their business.