Backup vs. archiving: It pays to know the difference
Computerworld - No organization is exempt from the government, legal and competitive pressures to store more data for longer periods. At the same time, organizations are trying to do more with flat or falling IT budgets.
Storage vendors are introducing a variety of lower-priced storage products designed to meet these new regulatory storage requirements. Wading through these options is becoming a strategic decision that can affect a company's competitiveness, profitability or even its ability to survive regulatory or legal challenges.
Organizations want archival storage products that provide authenticity, long-term retention of data and low total cost of ownership over time, without sacrificing the need for fast access and reliability. However, confusion often arises over the difference between backup and archival storage products and the specific technologies that address each need. Companies must first distinguish between their backup and archiving needs before choosing the appropriate storage solutions to meet those needs.
The difference between backup and archival storage
There is often confusion between a data archive and a backup. A classic backup application takes periodic images of active data in order to provide a method of recovering records that have been deleted or destroyed. Most backups are retained only for a few days or weeks as later backup images supersede previous versions.
Essentially, a backup is designed as a short-term insurance policy to facilitate disaster recovery, while an archive is designed to provide ongoing rapid access to decades of business information. Archived records can be placed outside the traditional backup cycle for a long period of time, while backup operations protect active data that's changing on a frequent basis.
Backup and disaster recovery requirements
- High media capacity
- High-performance read/write streaming
- Low storage cost per GB
Performance is an important factor for backup, but since most backup operations involve large data sets, the ability to quickly stream information to and from the backup media is a first priority. Fast random access to small data sets during restore operations is typically less important. As an insurance policy, it is also necessary to minimize backup expense by reducing the cost of each stored record. The media of choice for backup and disaster recovery applications has traditionally been magnetic tape since it satisfies the performance and cost criteria of most organizations.
- Data authenticity
- Extended media longevity
- High-performance random read access
- Low total cost of ownership
Archival storage requirements are quite different from those of backup operations. Media longevity and data authenticity feature much more prominently in archive environments. The storage media used within an archive should have a stable, long life to avoid frequent data migration over decades of storage. In order to comply with corporate and government regulations on data authenticity, it is crucial that information be protected from modification.
- Data Protection eGuide In this eGuide, CSO and sister publications IDG News Service, Computerworld, and CIO pull together news, trend, and how-to articles about the increasingly...
- Data Viz: 7 Considerations for Visualization Deployment Rising data volumes and increasing data complexity can make it seem hard to find and disseminate important information. Read this white paper to...
- Mobile Content, Collaboration & IDC's 3rd IT Platform: The Next Frontier for the Mobile Enterprise IDC focuses this article on talks about the new IT platform. This 3rd IT Platform will be the new wave for about the...
- Accelerating Cloud Deployment and Operations with Managed Services Companies that do not have sufficient in-house expertise to either deploy or maintain an IaaS cloud should turn to Managed Service Providers .
- The Key to Happiness: Throw out Your Data Warehouse In this webinar, Kerry Reitnauer, Director, Solution Architect at FairPoint Communications will discuss the challenges the data warehouse brought, how they migrated to...
- The Next Generation of Affordable Storage As data needs continue to grow and capacity expansion becomes a necessity, companies of all sizes have to address the delicate balance between... All Data Storage White Papers | Webcasts