Data archiving

Data archiving definition

Data archiving is the practice of identifying data that is no longer active and moving it out of production systems into long-term storage systems. Archival data is stored so that at any time it can be brought back into service.

A data archiving strategy optimizes how necessary resources perform in the active system, allowing users to quickly access data archive storage devices or data archiving plans for easy retrieval and more cost-effective information storage. It also clarifies how users should move data for best performance within applicable regulations and the law.

What is data archiving?

Secure data archiving enables the long-term retention and storage of data. It provides secure locations for storing mission-critical information for use as needed. Once in the archived data management system, the information stays accessible and the system protects its integrity.

Data archiving is critical for businesses and organizations that acquire new information regularly yet must retain existing data — and remain able to quickly retrieve both types. Trends in government regulations, the law, and corporate policy all skew toward more data, retained longer, and retrieved faster. Data archiving services help companies stay abreast of these trends for lower costs.

Organizations set policies on the best way to archive data, including how to characterize the data to be moved. These data archiving requirements allow users to automate the identification and data archiving procedure. The policies typically also touch upon security sensitivity, retention time frame, and other parameters.

What are the benefits of data archiving?

The advantages of archiving data include ensuring production systems use fewer resources, run more efficiently, and reduce storage costs overall.

More specifically, the advantages of data archiving are:

  • Increased capacity — Archiving digital data ensures backup and recovery runs faster.
  • Easier backup — Data archiving techniques can also ensure simpler backup processes because you don’t waste time backing up inactive data.
  • Improved ability to meet compliance requirements — Regardless of your industry or vertical, data archiving requirements and best practices can ensure your organization stays in compliance with applicable regulations and the law.
  • Enhanced productivity Spend less time maintaining and managing software and infrastructure for on-site backup storage.
  • Higher growth A scalable, cost-effective cloud data archiving solution allows for a pay-as-you-go growth mode without as much waste, even in industries that generate high amounts of data.
  • More refined management of locations — Using a virtual data archiving system allows for savings on investments into office intranets and other costly infrastructure.

What are typical data archiving tools?

Different data archiving tools and data archiving plans have unique benefits and life expectancies. How much data is being processed is just one of the considerations that will control what the best archival data solution is for your organization.

Tapes, disks, flash storage, hard drives, and cloud data archiving are all possible storage mediums. For many larger companies, virtual archives such as cloud archival data sources or archive data software may be a better choice given the weaknesses and costs associated with storing other long term data archiving solutions. Cloud storage also offers high capacity with lower storage costs.

An additional issue to grapple with when choosing a long term data archiving option is that today’s interfaces eventually become obsolete. This is why updating your devices and conducting routine audits of your data archiving media interfaces is also a best practice. Using a cloud data archiving system automates that process.

Data backup vs archiving

The difference between data backup and archiving involves how you scan, characterize, and then retain data for use; how easy it is to access; how long the data is stored; and what your end goal for that data is.

A backup is a copy of the organization’s active, current operational data. This includes any data that is being used, changed, or accessed regularly. When your system creates a backup copy of your data, it doesn’t affect the original files which remain in the same location. These backup files can be used in recoveries to restore the data to some previous point should the data become corrupted or be lost.

A backup system should store data for a much shorter time than an archive file does. Operational importance dictates how often the system updates backup data, and that may happen frequently — even several times every day. Searches against backup data are limited to a single filesystem, server/VM, or object from a single point in time (e.g. restore all files from /home1 on fileserver1 to the way they looked last Thursday). Backup systems also do not typically search via the contents of a file—only the file, server, or database name.

In contrast, archives serve as data repositories for information that may not be mission critical, but which must be retained for long periods of time. For example, organizations often archive regulatory compliance data for as long as they are required to keep it.

Archive files are typically no longer active or current, and do not change often or need to be located frequently. Their absence from regular storage is not disruptive to normal operations and in fact, saves time and money.

Compared to backup files, archive data storage solutions users search across many files, servers/VMs, and objects across a range of time (e.g. find all files in the last three years containing the phrase apollo). Archive data storage systems are more often than not retrieving data based on its content, not its name or location. As more and more inactive data is sent to the archive, searchability becomes more critical, especially for compliance reasons.

In addition, there is a distinction between backups and archives when it comes to data integrity needs. Data integrity over time is more important to an enterprise data archiving solution than a backup system because archiving large amounts of data over time increases the risk of corruption and other problems. Systems must be put in place to ensure against bit rot, the common term for data corruption over time, as well as accidental or malicious deletion or corruption.

Does Druva offer a data archiving solution?

Druva’s cloud data archiving solution offers application and data protection anywhere you locate your systems. This affords certainty on compliance requirements and avoiding expensive interruptions to your business. Druva’s secure data archiving is highly scalable, efficient, and reduces complexity and costs.

Learn more about Druva’s data archiving solutions