differences between backup disaster recovery and archiving

The Differences Between Backups, Disaster Recovery, and Archiving Matter

Backup, disaster recovery, and archiving all create or use copies of data, but they have different purposes and objectives. We’ve talked before about how backup is not disaster recovery; backups are also not an archive solution.

Know the Purpose of Backups, Disaster Recovery, and Archiving

Here’s a quick reminder of the purpose of these three processes:

Backups Are Data Copies

Backups are simply data copies; that’s all. Backups don’t do anything to the original data, and the purpose of a backup is to be able to restore the original data if something happens to it. If a file is corrupted or accidentally deleted, it can be replaced with an undamaged copy.

Disaster Recovery Isn’t Just About Data

Disasters are almost any scenario that brings down systems in a data center, including equipment failures, fires, and weather conditions. Data may be damaged and need to be restored, but first you need to get servers and possibly entire data centers back online.

Archiving Preserves Data

Archives provide unchanged historic copies of data to meet legal and compliance requirements. Unlike backup files, which may be kept for only a short while, archives are kept for the long term. You need quick access to backup files in order to restore files rapidly and minimize the impact of lost data, but archives are not used by routine business operations and can be stored in low-cost, off-site locations. Working with an archive may require using special e-discovery software that can search through large data stores to find records relevant to a legal process.

Don’t Use A Backup Tool as an Archive Tool

It may seem that you can create your archive simply by keeping your backup tapes (or other backup media) instead of recycling them. That’s a shortcut that will create many problems in the long term. Backups aren’t tagged in any way, so searching them for data is difficult. In addition, backups don’t let you easily delete data.

Why would you delete data from an archive if the purpose of an archive is to preserve data? Storage costs money, so keep data only as long as legally required. There may also be legal or other risks if older records are exposed. Making sure data is preserved and deleted appropriately requires a workflow that backup tools can’t support.

Don’t Use an Archive Tool as a Backup or Disaster Recovery Tool

An alternative would be to take the opposite approach. If your archive contains all the copies of your data, why do you need separate backup and disaster recovery tools? Couldn’t you just extract the necessary data from the archive?

First, if your archive is kept on a lower tier of storage, retrieving and restoring data can’t happen as fast as you need during an outage. More important, archives simply aren’t built to manage a data restoration process, which requires getting a specific file from a specific location on a specific data.

Although they sound similar, backups, disaster recovery, and archiving are all unique processes that require distinct tools and strategies. CCS Technology Group can help you make sure you have the right solution in place to meet specific backup, disaster recovery, and archiving needs. Contact us to learn more.

Additional Business Continuity Resources

Understand the Different Cloud Options for Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy

Don’t Lose Your Files to Ransomware

5 Changes to Make When You Switch to Disaster Recovery in the Cloud