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Backup versus Archive (And Why It Doesn’t Matter with Wasabi)

Backup versus Archive (And Why It Doesn’t Matter with Wasabi)

Jim Donovan
By Jim Donovan
Senior Vice President, Product

September 18, 2018

The terms backup and archive are often used interchangeably. But data backups and data archives actually serve different purposes.  Generally speaking, backups are used for data protection, while archives are used for long-term data retention. Today, many businesses maintain backup images and archival images on different storage platforms with different price-performance characteristics.

At Wasabi, we believe customers shouldn’t have to make arbitrary decisions about where to store data based on price, access speeds or retrieval times. Wasabi hot cloud storage is extremely fast and affordable storage for any purpose. Wasabi provides a single, cost-effective storage solution for both data protection and data retention. In this blog, I’ll review the differences between backups and archives, and explain how you can use Wasabi to consolidate storage platforms, simplify operations and reduce expenses.

Backup vs Archive

Backups are typically used for disaster recovery.  If you experience a hardware failure, a ransomware attack, or a data center catastrophe like a flood or a fire, you can use a backup image to restore your applications and data to a well-known, previously working state. You can back up data to a storage array, to tape, to the cloud or to another data center using a wide variety of commercial and open-source data protection tools.  Today’s backup and recovery products support a range of backup methods—full, incremental, differential, snapshot—each with advantages and disadvantages.

Archives are typically used for long-term, off-site data preservation.  By law, some businesses must retain customer records for an extended period.  In the financial services industry, for example, stockbrokers and dealers must preserve certain types of records for up to six years.

Some businesses also archive data to free up primary storage capacity.  Studies show 80% of data is rarely accessed within months of creation. The latest policy-based data management tools let you automatically archive infrequently accessed files to a secondary storage platform to reclaim space.  You can save money and avoid primary storage upgrades by moving dormant data from costly network-attached storage to a more economical storage platform like Wasabi.

Wasabi vs Legacy Cloud Storage Services for Backup and Archive

Many businesses are now using cloud storage for backup and archival.  Cloud storage services eliminate equipment expense and hassles, and provide pay-as-you-grow scalability.  But legacy cloud vendors like AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google offer tiered storage services that are costly and complicated.  Each storage tier is intended for a distinct purpose—primary storage, backup storage or long-term retention. Each has unique performance characteristics and pricing schedules (faster, more expensive storage for backup and slower, less expensive storage for archival).   And to make matters worse, multiple pricing variables (egress fees, API fees, etc.) make it difficult to forecast costs and manage budget.

At Wasabi, we believe storage should be simple.  We offer one product, with predictable, straightforward and affordable pricing, that satisfies just about any cloud storage requirement.  Wasabi hot cloud storage is less expensive than “cold storage” services like Amazon Glacier and Google Coldline, and faster than “frequent-access storage” services like Amazon S3 and Azure Hot Access. By using a single, fast and economical storage solution to maintain both backup images and archival images you can simplify planning and operations, avoid surprises and save a lot of money.  Well suited for both data protection and preservation, Wasabi provides eleven 9s of object durability and supports configurable data immutability to guard against accidental deletions, ransomware and viruses.

Backup and Archival Tools for Wasabi

At Wasabi, we also believe in choice.  We support a wide range of third-party data protection and data management products. Data protection tools let you back up servers, VMs, desktops, databases and applications to Wasabi.  Data management tools let you archive application data, files and digital content to Wasabi based on business rules. You can pick the third-party products that best meet your specific functional requirements and budget constraints.  (Some of these tools support backup and archive functionality).

For details on some of the backup and archival tools that we support, please review our partner solution briefs.  In general, if the tool supports an S3 interface, it will work with Wasabi. Further details on other tools we support can be found in our knowledge base

Data Protection Tools



Bacula System




Data Management Tools

Dell EMC



Tiger Technology

the bucket
Jim Donovan
By Jim Donovan
Senior Vice President, Product