Enterprise Infrastructure, Data Storage & Data Protection Solutions


Backup or Archive – Know the difference

Reprint of LTO NewsBytes (FEB 2014)

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When it comes to data storage, the words “backup” and “archive” are commonly used synonymously.  But is there really a difference? It’s time to settle it once and for all, and learn how LTO technology fits into the equation.

Before getting in to how backup and archiving play a role in your storage strategy, let’s take a look at what each means:

Backup – A secondary copy of production data used for restore or disaster recovery in the case of data loss or data corruption.

Archive – A primary copy of less frequently accessed information that has been moved off primary production disk to lower cost storage.

Backup and archive have entirely different processes and objectives.  Backup is best-served during an emergency, when data needs to be quickly restored, copies of data are kept to mitigate short term risks. Archives are most efficient for data management, compliance and information re-use purposes.

A key difference between backup and archive is how the data is retained.  Backup is ultimately overwritten as time goes on, whereas archived data is usually a permanent record, stored without deletion for an extended period of time.

That’s what makes LTO technology so versatile. With high capacity (one LTO-6 tape provides up to 6.25 TB) and fast file transfer (up to 400 MB/second), storage managers can have a backup that’s secure, reliable and quickly accessed in the event of malware or total loss of data.

For files that don’t need to be accessed frequently – permanent records, files retained for compliance, music/video content, among others – low cost,  high reliability, long life of the stored data, scalable are the most important factors. At roughly 1.3 cents per Gigabyte and with a typical shelf life of more than 30 years, LTO tape can be a very cost-effective and reliable solution for archiving.  And with LTFS, finding those files when they’re needed most is as quick and easy as transferring from a USB stick.

Whether you’re looking for a backup (short-term) or an archive (long-term) of your data, LTO technology fits the requirements perfectly. Now you know the difference once and for all – and how it can be best used for what you want to accomplish.

To learn more about how to best use LTO tape as either a backup or archive solution, visit www.lto.org.



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