Frequently asked questionsDisaster recovery process <<previous|next>> :What do tiered storage and ILM have to do with disaster recovery?
Aren't backups and archives essentially the same thing?
The answer to that can be a "yes" and "no." If we look at a very high level, a copy of data is a copy of data, and that's where a lot of people confuse both as being somewhat the same -- one copy is just kept longer. When we start digging into what a backup is for and what an archive is for, that's when we really start seeing the distinction between the two.
A backup is really a copy of a file to protect yourself against data loss should something happen, so it's always a much more immediate need. An archive is really a copy of certain records that could be completely taken out of context of their initial environment or structure and that are kept for future reference, not for recovery purposes.
So, there's a very specific distinction between the two and archives should not be used or considered to be used for disaster recovery purposes -- really a backup is what counts for disaster recovery. You would restore from your backups, but you don't necessarily retrieve your archives following a disaster. This archive data is far away, kept somewhere safe in case you need it; not for recovery purposes.
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25 Aug 2006