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What is the difference between online backup and offline backup?

What is the difference between online backup and offline backup? Find out from SearchNetworking.com's networking help desk expert, Amy Kucharik.

What is the difference between online backup and offline backup?

Offline backup, according to Whatis.com, also called "cold backup," is a database backup performed when the database is disconnected from the network -- in other words, offline -- and thus not accessible for updating. This is the safest way to back up because it avoids the risk of copying data that may be in the process of being updated. However, a cold backup involves downtime because users cannot use the database while it is being backed up.

In contrast, online backup is a method of offsite data storage in which files, folders, or the entire contents of a hard drive are regularly backed up on a remote server or computer with a network connection. A number of companies provide online backup services for subscribers whose computers are connected to the Internet, automatically copying selected files to backup storage at the service provider's location. This is sometimes called Web-based backup.

You can read more about online backup on Whatis.com.

Also, our sister site, SearchExchange.com, offers a tip about online versus offline backups for Exchange Server.

This was first published in April 2007
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