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Data Recovery, Backup, Restoration, and Disaster Recovery - Definitions Merge
Friday, November 27, 2009

Over the past several years there has been a confluence of the definitions of Data Recovery, Data Backup and Restoration, and Disaster Recovery. The merging of these definitions does not serve the industry. It only serves to confuse the consumer, the very people these various industry segments want to reach.

Data Recovery
Defined as the process of extracting data from inaccessible storage media or storage system such as hard drives, tapes, optical media and RAID's. The process involves repairing physical damage, repairing electrical damage, correcting media maintenance information, correcting data corruption, undeleting files or some combination thereof.

Data Backup and Restoration
This process begins with an intentional effort to store data on alternate media such as tape, optical media, hard drives, other storage systems or an online service. That's the Backup portion. In the event of a failure of the primary storage media, the alternate media is used to restore data from the alternate source to a new primary source. That's the Restoration segment.

Disaster Recovery
The process of returning an entity, such as a business or home office, to a functional and optimal state after a natural disaster or man-made event that either completely or partially impairs the function of that entity. Disaster recovery may include data recovery and/or data backup and restoration.

There are key differences that make these definitions and industries unique. Data Recovery is usually considered after data restoration has been eliminated as an option. Data backup and restoration is considered a primary function of computing to ensure data is safe from media failures. Disaster Recovery takes into consideration the complete infrastructure including facility restoration, data restoration and data recovery as a last resort.

In a literal sense there is an intentional effort to ?recover? data from some sort of catastrophic event in all three environments. That may be the source for the merging of these terms.

Confusing the consumer is not the only effect of this merging or confluence. Do a search in Google News for ?Data Recovery?. You'll find results appear for all three definitions on the first page. In the future, this confluence may make it difficult for the search engines to discern between the three. Will this effect snowball? Only time will tell.

While some businesses offer services and products that address all three categories, the definitions need to be clearly defined. As there is no unifying body or advocacy group for any of these industry segments it's likely the definitions will continue to be fuzzy at the very least. Until these definitions are more clearly defined, it will be up to the consumer to determine what Data Recovery really means.

Richard Myers
The Data Recovery Resource Center

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Posted In Data Recovery. @ 5:51 AM  
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