Data archiving is the process of moving data that is no longer actively used to a separate data storage device for long-term retention. Data archives consist of older data that is still important and necessary for future reference, as well as data that must be retained for regulatory compliance. Data archives are indexed and have search capabilities so that files and parts of files can be easily located and retrieved.
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Data archives are often confused with data backups, which are copies of data. Data backups are used to restore data in case it is corrupted or destroyed. In contrast, data archives protect older information that is not needed for everyday operations but may occasionally need to be accessed.