Thursday, 28 October 2021
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Backup vs. archive: Why it’s important to know the difference

If you want to make a backup person apoplectic, call an old backup an archive.

It’s just shy of saying that data on a RAID array doesn’t need to be backed up. The good news is that the differences between backup and archive are quite stark and easy to understand.

What is backup?

Backup is a copy of data created to restore said data in case of damage or loss. The original data is not deleted after a backup is made.

Examples of backups include a nightly backup of all files on your laptop or desktop, or all your photos on your iPhone being copied to iCloud in case you drop your phone. We also backup file servers (unstructured data) and databases (structured data).  A backup might focus on the data, as in a database dump, the operating system of the server as in a bare-metal backup, or on both as with backup of VMware .VMDK files.

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