Simply put: yes, a data archiving system effectively reapportions no-longer-active data to a separate device for long-term protection, retention, and easy access. However, data archiving is not the same as data backup. Why is that? Here’s the spiel.
The purpose of a data backup is to provide recent copies of your active files in the event of a disaster or technical glitch. It serves a short-term need. Data backup copies are by nature, temporary. When you create a data backup of your system, in effect, you’re creating a temporary data archive which can be accessed for purposes of restoration. That’s why data backups are continually cycled through and updated often to accommodate your most recent data additions.
On the flipside, the primary purpose of a data archiving system is not to restore lost data, if needed, but to relocate less-frequently accessed data to a more cost-effective storage location, where it remains for the long-haul. We’re not talking about temporary copies. In the case of data archiving, we’re talking about a permanent, more cost-effective storage location.
Why ‘more cost-effective?’ Well, often data backups create multiple copies of the same file, which use up your storage resources and shorten the timeframe within which that data is still good to be restored without suffering any deterioration.
Data archives, on the other hand, free up resources and can increase the productivity of your employees and customers, by removing impertinent information from your day-to-day system and speeding it up, dramatically. Imagine how much time you save not searching for the documents you need, or when your computer isn’t bogged down acknowledging and sifting through old data that’s physically recorded in and around the active data that you’ve called up.
Now, multiply that number by the number of searches your employees and customers conduct every day, every time they attempt to access any of your data. It’s a lot of time.
The more data you accumulate and store, the more strain it puts on your hardware. Data archiving circumvents these potential problems, while saving time, money, and storage space.
Lastly, you’re probably asking: why should I even keep old data? Why not delete it and save money by not investing in a storage system?
Data archive files will still be of use to you, thanks to regulatory compliance rules and any inventive uses you may come up with for repurposing. When you invest in a system — the compliance question is taken care of for you. The idea is for your business to compartmentalize its information and forget about it, knowing that it’s organized and won’t require continually migration from system to system as it grows.
Is it all starting to come together? There’s so much more to data archiving than simple information storage. Easy data retrieval makes auditing and data-mining easy; often, compliance is automated and some data archiving companies even include reporting service.
Finally, every time you outsource processes from your day-to-day hardware, it makes your day-to-day workflow that much more efficient and error-free. Data backups serve a very similar, tangential purpose, but the purpose of a data backup system is to recover the active documents you require access to, regularly.
Just make sure as you’re shopping around for a data archiving system or a data backup plan that the software provides compatibility across operating systems (works on Macs and PCs). It’s just one less thing to worry about.