Basics of Data Archiving

Data Archiving

Businesses go through enormous amounts of data on a daily basis, but what happens to that data when it is no longer actively in use? That’s where data archiving comes in.

In a nutshell, data archiving is the process of migrating data that is not actively used to an external storage device for long-term archiving. A good data archive is carefully indexed to facilitate locating, searching for and retrieving files.

Which Backup Software to Use?

Not every backup software option is right for every business, and different approaches are required for each specific case. The main appeal of archiving data is that it reduces the consumption of primary storage, as well as the costs associated with this.

The first decision you need to make is exactly what data you should archive. Identifying this set of data will let you know what to look for in your backup software.

There are some archiving systems that protect your data from modification by setting all data as read-only, but others allow reads and edits to archived data. Operational and regulatory requirements often call for large amounts of data storage, especially for legacy database records, emails and important documents.

Benefits of Data Archiving

Data archiving is a key aspect of data management, and its biggest benefit is that it significantly reduces the overall cost of primary storage. As a rule, primary storage is quite expensive as it needs to provide a high level of input/output operations per second. The IOPS needs to meet operational standards that are dictated by the required user read/write activity.

Archive storage, on the other hand, costs a lot less because it runs on a high capacity, a low-performance storage medium that uses a lot less processor power than primary storage solutions.

The archived data can be stored on inexpensive hard disk drives, but also on optical devices or tape. Although they are less costly, the tradeoff is that they are slower than flash drives or performance disks.

In addition to bringing down costs, file archiving minimizes the amount of data that needs to be backed up. By taking out infrequently accessed data from your set of backup data set you can improve the performance of your backup and restore operations. Migrating data to a lower storage level also lowers your secondary storage costs by reduces your total storage footprint.

Archiving vs. Backup

Data archives are often mistaken for backups, which are just simple copies of data. Even though archiving and backup share some characteristics like using high capacity low-performance mediums, their purposes are quite different.

Data archives have an important role to play in data retention, while backups are utilized in disaster recovery and data security.

To put it simply, a data archive is a readily available data repository for data that needs to be accessed infrequently. In contrast to this, a backup is a mechanism that serves to restore data if it is destroyed, corrupted or compromised. Backups usually have a lot less data than archives and consist of operation-critical data that needs to be restored quickly.

Data Lifecycle Management

All good archiving processes are automated using some type of archiving software. The purpose of this software is to automatically migrate aging data to archives based on a pre-defined archiving policy. These capabilities can vary from vendor to vendor and depend on what package of services you choose.

There is also a possibility to completely purge data once it has outlived the lifespan defined by your businesses data retention policy. Most data management and backup software platforms have an archiving function that could be an efficient and inexpensive option, depending on your needs.

Data Archiving and Compliance

Regulatory compliance procedures dictate the minimum retention of time of data. Accordingly, keeping to compliance guidelines is a valid business concern. Not meeting the required levels of regulatory compliance, whether government or industry-mandated, can result in voided contract, fines and payments for damages.

By storing data long term, data archiving helps operations meet compliance. In addition, it makes all of your data consolidated and easily accessible in case of an audit. The regulations that dictate the length of required data retention varies depending on the industry, as well as what data should be stored and who has access to this data.

A well-implemented data archiving system will make your business more streamlined and cost-effective. You will also have the peace of mind that you are compliant with industry and government regulations. There is no one size fits all solution, so choose carefully.

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