In data engineering, both backing up and archiving are processes that involve storing data for long-term retention or backup purposes. However, there are some differences between the two concepts.
Backing up involves creating a copy of data to protect against data loss due to accidental deletion, hardware failure, or other types of disasters. The primary goal of backing up data is to ensure that it can be recovered quickly and easily in the event of a problem. Backups are typically performed on a regular basis (e.g. daily, weekly, or monthly) and are often stored in a different location than the primary data to protect against site-level disasters.
Archiving, on the other hand, involves moving data that is no longer actively used from its original location to a secondary storage location for long-term retention. Archiving is often used for compliance, legal, or historical reasons, or to free up primary storage space for more frequently accessed data. Archived data is typically accessed less frequently than primary data and is often stored on cheaper, slower storage devices.
Backing up vs. archiving: a question of frequency of access
While backing up and archiving can serve similar purposes, the main difference is the frequency of access to the data. Backups are designed for quick and easy recovery of data in the event of a problem, while archives are intended for long-term retention of data that is no longer actively used.
Backing up and archiving data in data engineering typically involve different techniques and processes.
Backing up data usually involves making a copy of the data at a specific point in time and storing it in a separate location, such as a backup server or cloud storage. Backup techniques can include full backups, differential backups, incremental backups, and continuous backups. Backup frequency, retention periods, and restoration processes are also important considerations.
Archiving data, on the other hand, involves moving data that is no longer actively used from its original location to a secondary storage location for long-term retention. Archiving techniques can include compressing and encrypting the data, creating metadata for search and retrieval, and setting retention policies. Archiving may involve different storage options, such as tape or disk storage, and may use different tools or technologies for data movement and management.
While both backing up and archiving data involve storing data for long-term retention, the goals, methods, and techniques for each process are different, and typically require different tools and technologies.