Data backup versus data archiving


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The benefits of archiving

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Points of intersection
Backup and archiving processes can intersect at two specific points. First, IT should archive inactive data to free up capacity on primary storage and servers, and reduce the amount of data that needs to be backed up regularly from these systems. If the data being protected is old, unchanging or rarely accessed, but still needs to retained, there's no reason to keep the information on production servers and storage. That data can be archived and moved to lower cost storage where it will still be accessible. This takes the aged data out of recurring backup operations. Organizations can complete backups much faster and save money on tertiary media by archiving. The brute-force alternative is to simply delete old data from primary systems. However, this would put an organization at risk of being out of compliance with regulations and limit the opportunity to leverage the information for other business purposes.

The second point of intersection involves adding information archive systems to the backup schema for data protection purposes. Efficient archiving mandates that the data doesn't reside anywhere else (because it was moved from primary systems). As such, IT must back up the archive system as part of the backup schema so that archived data is also protected appropriately.

By segregating the archive process from backup, IT will have another process to manage with its own infrastructure and resources. However, it should be easier to rationalize an investment in archiving, especially when an organization is trying to reduce backup windows, comply with regulations and expedite the electronic discovery process. The potential benefits of taking one large, laborious process (backup) and splitting it into two (backup and archiving) should be apparent.

This was first published in December 2006

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