ArGest Backup User Guide

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Archival Versus Backup

One of the poorly understood concepts when using a backup solution is the difference between Backup operations and Archival operations. The primary descriptive difference is that an Archival operation is defined as a job that copies data from one storage location to another with the intention of removing the original data from the original storage location. On the other hand, a backup is simply a copy of data written to a secondary storage location (i.e.: tape) that can be used to recover the original data in the event that the original data is lost or modified.

Additionally, while a single offline copy of files for day-to-day backup purposes may be sufficient, a single copy on tape should not be considered sufficient when creating a copy for archival. Since the purpose of an archival copy is to allow you to remove the original data from its online storage location while being able to recover the data in the future, having a single copy on tape (or any other storage device) is inviting disaster when the deleted data must be recovered.

The most important consideration if you are running Archival operations is that your tapes should be protected from overwriting as soon as possible after you’ve completed the job. There are two ways to do this:

    1. Immediately flip the tape’s write protect tab as each tape is filled if using a standalone drive or remove the media from the library once the job completes and write protect each tape. – use this mechanical feature to ArGest Backups “Overwrite tape only if blank” feature described below.
    2. Use WORM media – once a WORM tape is written, it cannot be overwritten or erased and no user intervention is required to protect the data written to the tape.

In either scenario, the tapes used when running the Archival job are now protected from accidental overwrite or erasure. The only limit is that the non-WORM media can be reset to writeable if someone flips the write protect tab to the write-enabled position.