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What Is a Data Archiving Solution?

What Is a Data Archiving Solution?

Data archiving involves moving inactive data to a separate storage device for long-term retention. A data archive is usually indexed and includes search capabilities that help locate and retrieve information easily. It is stored in low-cost storage tiers, reducing the consumption and costs of primary storage.

Organizations usually archive older data needed for future reference or compliance purposes. The first step in the process is creating a data archiving strategy. This step helps organizations inventory their data and locate data suitable for archiving.

There is a wide range of data archiving solutions, each offering different capabilities. Some solutions protect archive data from modification by treating the information as read-only. However, other solutions enable writes in addition to reads.

This is part of our series of articles about cloud backup services.

In this article:

Data Backup vs. Archiving Solutions

Data backup and archiving solutions differ in how you scan, organize, and store data. You should choose a solution based on the use case for your data, which determines the storage duration and ease of access required.

Data Backup

Backups are copies of active operational data that you need to access or modify regularly. Creating a backup doesn’t affect the original data, which remains in the same location. You can use backup files to restore data to previous points in the event of data loss or corruption.

Backups require a shorter storage duration than archive files, with the backup system updating the data frequently. Backup systems typically use a simple storage system, searching files by name, not content.

Data Archiving

Archives are long-term data repositories for non-critical information, such as regulatory compliance data retained for legal purposes. Archival data is typically inactive and does not require frequent access or modification. You don’t need to store archival files in regular storage to maintain normal operations, allowing you to save on storage costs.

Archival storage solution users typically search for data across multiple files, servers, and time frames, retrieving archive files based on content rather than location or name. Data searchability for archives is thus more complex compared to backup systems.

Data archiving solutions also require a high degree of long-term data integrity compared to backups. The large scale of data increases the risk of issues such as data corruption over time (bit rot). You need to apply mechanisms to protect archival data against corruption and deletion.

Related content: Read our guide to backup strategy

Benefits of Data Archiving Tools

Here are key advantages of data archiving tools:

  • Easier and faster backup—data archives help ensure that you do not accidentally back up inactive data. The result is usually a simpler backup process delivering easier and faster backup and recovery rates.  
  • Increased data protection—data archives enable you to remove inactive data from exposure to cyberattacks targeting your primary repository. Additionally, you can set your archive in a way that prohibits data modification and prevents data loss.
  • Reduced costs—most archives are stored on low-performance media with higher capacity that incurs low maintenance and operational costs. Additionally, cloud-based archiving solutions offer on-demand pricing models that let you further reduce costs.
  • Less storage capacity required—some archiving techniques use compression, meaning that the archived copy of the data takes up less storage space than the original data.

Key Features of Data Archiving Solutions

Here are notable features of data archiving solutions:

  • Data deduplication- data archiving solutions aim to optimize storage. Deduplication is an integral part of the process that eliminates redundancies. This process detects and controls copies of the same file. It can help significantly reduce data volumes.
  • Advanced search- this feature provides a simple user interface (UI) for searching data, providing fast search results information. The search can display file names and types, images, texts, keywords, and more. Advanced searching adds eDiscovery to your archiving system, supporting quick retrieval and effective cataloging.  
  • Access control- most organizations must abide by data protection requirements to comply with laws and regulations. Access control lets you set permission levels and define access only to authorized users. It helps achieve privacy and security, ensuring only authorized users can access critical and sensitive information.
  • Retention management- data archiving solutions employ retention management to optimize storage. This feature allows you to decide a time limit for storing certain files, the number of allowed versions, and more. Retention management helps facilitate optimal speed and ensures controlled storage expenses.
  • eDiscovery capabilities- data archiving solutions provide various eDiscovery capabilities, such as tamper-proof storage. Another key capability is archiving data in a WORM (Write Once Read Many) format that can fully preserve archived records or evidentiary quality.

Data Archiving Software: How to Choose?

You should research, evaluate, and compare different vendors and archiving services to find the right fit for your organization. Look for these key features when choosing a data archiving solution:

The Right Deployment Option for Your Organization

Different data archiving systems and deployments can offer different advantages for various use cases, so you look for a solution that offers multiple options. A large enterprise with a strong IT department might prefer to use on-premises solutions that offer greater control over the archiving process. On the other hand, a small or medium-sized organization might not have the capacity to maintain an in-house archive, opting instead to use a cloud-based or hybrid archiving system.

If you opt for a hardware solution, you need to ensure it uses fault-tolerant technologies to prevent data loss and disk failures. Look for solutions that allow you to scale easily.

Retention Policies That You Configure

Scheduling automatic deletion and maintaining granular retention policies can help reduce human error and make it easier to manage your policies. In addition, cloud-based solutions often limit the retention period, and may charge extra for longer retention periods. Make sure that the retention capabilities of your solution match your organization’s policies and the compliance requirements for your data.

Historical Data Integration

Your organization likely has a large volume of historical data that you need to retain—this data might be stored in one separate system or distributed over several systems. Choose a data archiving software that lets you migrate existing data from your legacy systems, preserve data integrity, and avoid compatibility issues.

Data Archiving Solution with NetApp Cloud Backup

NetApp understands ONTAP better than anyone else, which is why the best backup solution for ONTAP systems is NetApp Cloud Backup. Designed by NetApp specifically for ONTAP, Cloud Backup automatically creates block-level incremental forever backups. These copies are stored in object format and preserve all ONTAP’s storage efficiencies. Your backups are 100X faster to create, easy to restore, and much more reliable than with any other solution.

Cloud Backup simplifies the entire backup process. It’s intuitive, quick to deploy, and managed from the same console as the rest of the NetApp cloud ecosystem.  Whether you’re looking for a less expensive way to store your backups, a faster, more capable technology than NDMP, or an easy way to enable a 3-2-1 strategy, Cloud Backup offers the best backup solution for ONTAP.

Learn more about the NetApp Cloud Backup capabilities here, and find out more in our Cloud Backup Service Customers’ Case Studies.

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Semion Mazor, Product Marketing Manager

Product Marketing Manager