There have been numerous instances where the terms “backup” and “archive” have been used interchangeably or even synonymously. This, however, couldn’t be farther from the truth. Both the terms, in fact, refer to two completely different terms and imply different meanings and as such should not be used synonymously.

The difference between the said two terms becomes even more apparent on account of factors such as data retained for the period of time one requires, protection of or loss of data on account of unauthorised access, structuring of data in order to locate data and its ability to be retrieved or restored as and when desired.

All about Data Backup

Backup is essentially just as the name would suggest. It means creation or provision of a copy of some particular data which is done with the major objective to protect against any plausible loss of the secured or backed-up data. The said data can be again used in case it is lost since the data is operationally backed up before it becomes lost. Usually, data back-ups are made on a real-time or on a regular basis.

For example, WhatsApp backs up data usually daily at 2:00 AM. Now, usually back-up data isn’t pandered with but in case of a fresh back-up, the old backed-up data is replaced. There are several applications which are used for archival of data such as Google Vault and Microsoft Exchange – which are instrumental in backing-up of the data. Usually, desktops of computers, servers and mobile devices all back up the data which is not limited to just data but even includes back-up of application files.

Back-ups can depend on the particular data of what is being backed up. For instance, only the user data may be backed up in case of a mobile device. On the other hand, a virtual back-up could include a backup of .VMDK files – which consists of data, both structured and unstructured so that if the original VM file is corrupted, the same can be replenished. Backups become very fruitful for data recovery in the case of a ransomware attack.

A backed-up data can enable a user to recover the compromised or encrypted data without losing any of it. Furthermore, backups can enable an individual to recover previous saved versions (i.e., backed up) containing any data which is absent in the newer version of the file and thus makes it convenient to use data which would otherwise be lost.

All about Archive

On the flipside, an archive is different from a data backup available with flexible licences. An archive means data when it’s stored for a reference for long-term usage. It essentially implies the concept when the data is saved with intent that it may not be in use right now but it is saved or stored so that it can be used in the long term or in the future.

Thus, a data archival ensures that the data remains available, although archived, and thus it can be retrieved as and when the requirement arises. In other words, it’s a repertoire or a repository where all the necessary data is saved or archived and can be used whenever the need arises. Thus, unlike a backup of data, an archival involves a permanent record of essential documents.

One of the major objectives of doing an archival is to reduce the burden on the system. When it is clear that the data is not to be used on a regular or operational basis, the same can be archived as that enables the system to run more efficiently. Archival of data is usually governed by the age of the data which is a subject of archival. Archival can also be initiated or triggered by metadata, which may be anything ranging from photos or videos to the geographical location.

Thus, in common parlance while archive means “to retrieve, a backup is usually used for re-storage of data. In case of a backup, restorage is generally related to a single file. In this case, it becomes imperative that the said user has relevant details as to where the said file was stored in terms of its location among other details. On the other hand, archival usually involves retrieving an entire set of data.

For example, retrieval may involve retrieving the entire data of emails sent by an individual during his employment stint. Furthermore, in the case of a backup, there are instances where duplicate or replica copies may be overtly overwritten while in the case of an archival, the relevant data cannot be deleted or altered per say. Backups, more often than not, are used for and by the end-user to restore data in case of loss of such data while archives are usually at the disposal of lawyers, admin teams who use it for retrieving data which may come in handy for a specific purpose – such as evidence in a legal battle.

Final Overview

Thus, it becomes clear that archival of data and backup of data are two different terms although they might be used interchangeably by the layman. It is important to understand the nuances so as to be able to create a sound backup strategy so that it can leverage businesses. To get more info about ArchiverFS [a premium Archive system] be sure to seek assistance from professionals.