Technology Blog

Archiving vs Backup - Data Backup & Recovery Solutions

Classic data backup and recovery applications take periodic images of active data (full image backups, tradbackupsol
incremental backups, point-in-time backups and possible snapshots). These data backup applications utilize various methods and storage solutions to create backups of active data that are used to restore accidentally deleted or altered files or recover from a catastrophic event.

Most data backups are retained for short periods (weeks or months, with later backup images superseding previous versions). Therefore, the permanency requirements for backup storage mediums are much shorter in duration than archive storage medium requirements. Typical backup appliances are tape backup appliances or disk backup appliances utilizing hard drive arrays.

Examples of Backup and Recovery solutions and storage medium utilized include:

  • Disk to Disk Backup Appliance: Short-term storage used to back up hard drives with on-site backup images
  • Disk to Tape Backup Appliance: Long-term backup with images kept on-site and typically off-site
  • Disk to Disk to Tape Backup Appliance: Short and long-term backup images providing on-site and off-site storage options
  • Cloud Backup Storage Gateways: Short-term and long-term backup with backups residing on cloud storage, facilitated through cloud backup gateway products
  • Storage Replication: Real-time data replication, for much more immediate recovery of operations (providing a lower Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

These backup appliances are then used to subsequently restore data, to a state at a particular point in time, should the need arise. Events typically supported by backup solutions include selective data restore, volume restore, and bare metal restore, providing integration with select applications facilitating application of transaction logs to restore all active data to the point of failure.

Attributes of Backup Solutions include:

  • High-performance read/write streaming: Providing the ability to quickly stream data to and from the backup medium. Random access to select data is a much lower priority
  • High media capacity with a lower storage cost per GB: As repetitive images of the same data are being made, not only does data remain on tier-1 storage but now multiple backup copies are constantly being created and managed.
  • Short-term storage medium life expectancy: Backup mediums are short-term in nature, a cheaper storage medium is optimum. Traditionally the preferred storage medium has been tape, with disk and cloud solutions becoming more prevalent as storage prices have declined.