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Difference Between Archive and Backup

Main Difference

Rapid growth in data and information raised the need of storage and rolling back of data. Following two terms archive and backup are widely used for this purpose. The basic purpose of both is related with security and governance of data. However both performs their functions in different style with different features and options. Here is the detail of both terms and the differences, which exists between them.

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What is Archive?

Archiving means storage of those long term digital data or asset of company or computer, which is not changed frequently and will be used in future as a reference. The basic purpose of archive is to organized and preserve the data for a longer period of time. You can save it on multiple forms of media. Either you can save it on CD/DVD or cloud storage or hard disk or flash storage. Because you have to organize and save it for a long period of time, so an inexpensive data storage option is favorable. Same functions is performed by archive in computer system. In computer, it stores the computer files along with metadata. It results in availability of more storage space on hard disk. You can archive your files and folders either by the options provided by system operating system or any compression software like WinZip or WinRar.

What is Backup?

Backup means to copying or duplicating the files and documents in a second media in a computer. Either in disk or flash storage drive. So in case you have lost your data, you can retrieve it back by backup facility. Many IT professionals recommends to make backup of data daily two to three times because even a latest computer can break down easily and the result will be in loss of data. Backup also results in availability of more storage space on hard disk because it compress the data files. Moreover, backup also requires fewer disk to store. Most of the organizations used a third party software or service to automatically backup the data in the computer itself or into any online data storage service. By this, they ensures the safety of their important data. So the basic purpose of backup is to store the data and recover the lost data.

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Key Differences

  1. Archive is used to protect the data for a longer period of time for the purpose of retention while the basic purpose of back up is to quick recovery of routine data.
  2. Data restoration speed and search ability of archive is more fast than backup. Archive takes half time as compare to backup for restoration and search.
  3. Archive is more important than backup. Backup just holds the data for threat of being lost. While archive is most vital for some business and organization due to legal requirements.
  4. Archive files needs to be inspect after short intervals of time because if the media on which you archive the files has been changed than there will be no benefit of using that storage media any more. While there are no such critical issues in backup.
  5. Backup is the copy of original data while archive is in itself an original file.
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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss