Backup and Archive

A backup is a copy of data that you have, intended for disaster recovery: if you lose your data because of a hardware or software failure or a user mistake, you can recover the lost data from the backup. The backup is typically done automatically and periodically so that you always have a current copy of your data. In addition, a good backup system will let you recover not only the last version of your files, but also older versions.

An archive is a collection of data that you want to store somewhere other than your local disk because you currently don’t need the data anymore, but you might need it again in the future. Or you might have a legal or contractual requirement to keep certain data for very long periods of time, even if the data belongs to projects which are already finished. An archive is usually done by hand by the user, who must decide what data to archive. For safety, a good archive system will automatically store at least two copies of the archived data.