Backup vs. data archive
If you are looking for solutions for backup and long-term storage of important company data and documents, you have to make a fundamental distinction between backup and archiving. This is not an either/or decision. Rather, the goal is a smart storage strategy that takes care of one of the most important raw materials of companies in the most cost-efficient, reliable and legally compliant way possible: their data.
The term backup describes the protection of data against data loss. The purpose of a backup is to be able to quickly restore data in the case of loss or damage to the original data with the help of the backup. A backup strategy refers to current and currently used data that is copied to an alternative storage medium at regular intervals and in the latest version. It creates the possibility of disaster recovery, in which the lost data is retrieved from the backup copy.
Data archiving, on the other hand, is a form of electronic storage of important documents that protects them from accidental or deliberate deletion or manipulation, among other things. The subject of such archiving is in particular data to which a certain company-specific compliance or statutory retention periods apply.
The primary purpose of backup is therefore to store data in such a way that it can be accessed quickly in an emergency. Backup is supposed to ensure that work can continue. In terms of information lifecycle management, this is hot data: usually current files that are actively used and frequently changed.
And this is exactly where the problem begins: very often an enormous amount of cold, inactive data is stored on primary storage. On the one hand, it causes costs by occupying fast and expensive primary storage, even though it is hardly ever accessed. On the other hand, it takes up a lot of space on the backup media if it is backed up regularly, but always in the same unchanged version.
Hierarchical storage management
This cold data is predestined to be archived on secondary storage as part of hierarchical storage management (HSM). A two-tier storage architecture, for example, consists of fast primary storage and inexpensive secondary storage.
With the help of suitable HSM software, these secondary storages can also serve as archive storage. The software stores data that has not been changed for a defined period of time on the secondary storage and protects it against modification. Even documents that are subject to specific legal regulations and for which audit-proof archiving is required can be stored on the archive storage by the HSM software.
Cost reduction through Information Lifecycle Management
Backup and archive must therefore be clearly distinguished from each other - and under no circumstances should they be confused or equated with each other. Their respective causes and benefits are fundamentally different. A multi-level storage structure takes this into account.
The adequate storage strategy is based on a well-considered Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). This means that it takes into account the respective life cycle phase of a file and stores it at the storage level that corresponds to its life cycle phase. Files that have not been used or changed for a longer period of time are displaced to secondary storage. The same happens with the data sets which must be saved in unchanged form, e.g. for legal reasons.
ILM relieves primary storage of inactive data and thus also reduces the backup load. It anticipates expensive storage expansions and enables optimized and much more cost-efficient storage utilization.
Automated archiving in compliance with compliance requirements
Data archiving in the context of hierarchical storage management does not only mean savings potential regarding storage systems. The automated archiving of data also supports companies in complying with legal requirements.
Many company data must be archived in an audit-proof manner according to certain laws and regulations. This means, among other things, that archived data must be protected against unintentional deletion and intentional manipulation.
Here too, the solution lies in a two-tier HSM architecture. The archive storage system provides the storage layer that prevents data from being changed or deleted within a specified time. With this kind of data retention management, companies can meet the requirements of audit-proof archiving.
Data Archiving with PoINT Storage Manager – Archive Edition
PoINT Storage Manager – Archive Edition supports you in meeting compliance requirements. The software stores documents according to your specifications by means of the integrated Retention Management. PoINT Storage Manager ensures an automated archiving of your data in the archive storage, according to your individually defined rules and with the specified retention periods.
Once a file is archived, it is never changed. Access to archive files is transparent and easy via the primary storage system and the familiar user interface. If a file on primary storage is changed, the changed file is stored as a new version in the archive, so that all previous versions of a file remain unchanged in the archive. The new version is then again subject to the rules of Information Lifecycle Management, i.e. PoINT Storage Manager moves it to the next lower storage level according to the defined policies.
If data to be archived is reliably and regularly moved to secondary storage, this relieves your primary storage and backups. Thus, PoINT Storage Manager increases the efficiency of your storage infrastructure, reduces costs and helps you to implement a legally compliant archiving.