March 15, 2022 Margus Danil ArchiveBackup

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What’s The Difference Between Backup And Archive?

What’s The Difference Between Backup And Archive?

We all have some data. The most common being emails, pictures and different kind of documents for texts and presentations. But there are also data files for CAD drawings, virtual servers and many more.

While the amount of data in the world is growing every day, the methods of keeping this data available and protected can still cause some confusion for many businesses and individuals. It is actually not that difficult – your data can be kept safe from most threats by creating regular backups and in order by archiving.

In this blog article we are going to take a closer look at how and when these two methods are used and also review the main differences between them.

What is a backup?

Wikipedia defines backup as: “A copy of computer data taken and stored elsewhere so that it may be used to restore the original after a data loss event”. It means that you can use your computer or another source of data to copy, store, and recover all the information in case of damage.

In other words, backup is the process of making a copy of your current active data. For example, you can make a backup of your computer, file servers, or virtual servers. Usually, it is an automatic process, and data is backed up on a regular basis either daily, monthly or weekly, and in some cases even hourly.

The main purpose of a backup is to be able to restore all of your data in the event of any kind of unexpected damage to your original source data, such as a hard drive failure, ransomware attack, data centre going down etc.

Backed up data is usually not kept forever but instead according to retention policy. For example, keep one copy for every last 7 days. For older backups, just keep one backup every month. And no copy older than 12 months.

Recommended reading: Good backup policy as cornerstone of company’s disaster recovery strategy on ransomware era

What is an archive?

Data archiving is the process of storing infrequently used data for long-term periods. Once an archive is created the original data can then be removed from its primary location.

You can use the archive as a space to keep your old and unnecessary data in one place, but also to store the data that you might have a need for in the future, such as legal documents, transactional records etc. Data is also archived just to free up some space on your hard drive. However, the main purpose for archiving is usually to store some specific not in use data at a safe low cost location for a longer period of time.

Backup vs. Archive: what’s the difference

Now that we know what both of those methods mean we can review the key differences between a backup and an archive and see how they compare.


  • Creating a backup is the process of copying actively used data to another location to store it.
  • Creating a regular backup is an important part of a company’s Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy.
  • A backup ensures that the latest version of the data is accessible in the event of an equipment failure or any other disaster.
  • Recovery speed is important.
  • Accelerating recovery while maintaining data integrity is the main difference between a backup and an archive.


  • The speed of access to the data is not as important as its preservation.
  • Archiving is necessary to preserve data that no longer changes.
  • An important difference between an archive and a backup – an archive is a database that needs to be kept for a longer time period and a backup must be the latest version of the data to be restored in the event of any kind of damage to it.
  • A good archiving strategy makes it easy for users to access data from many years ago.
  • The ability to find the necessary data quickly is also important to ensure compliance with the law.
  • Price decrease of storage space reduces the importance of archives as a stand-alone solution for companies.

As you can see, backup and archive solve different issues, but if you want to build up a solid data protection plan you need to set up both a data archive and a regular backup.

Where to store backups and archives

Both can be saved in different kind of storage mediums

  • Internal hard disk
  • External hard disk
  • Tape storage
  • NAS – Network attached storage
  • cloud storage

Storadera can be used for both: backup and archive

No matter if you are a business with big amounts of data or an individual who only needs to back up a few folders, it is important to choose the right application to protect all of your data from data loss through any kinds of events, such as accidents, cyber threats and hardware failures.

Storadera as S3 compatible cloud storage can be used for backup and archiving of data at very simple and predictable price point. Check our pricing page for more information or try it now for free.

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