Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Digital Competence Centre
your one-stop for research IT and data
Digital Competence Centre IT Solutions IT Security

Backup & Versioning

Definitions

Backup

Backup

A backup is a copy of your data at a particular time that can be used to restore and recover the original data in case that it was lost, corrupted or otherwise made inaccessible.

Backups should not be stored in the same physical location as the original files as this could lead to the loss/corruption of the backup simultaneously as the original data.

Version (Control)

Version (Control)

In IT, the term version describes different revisions of the same type of data. Version control describes a mechanism to manage these different versions with the capability of restoring older versions if needed. Version control is in that sense a valuable tool to restore data, for example, a document or code snippet, to a previous state.

Examples of some platforms that use version control:

  • Git
  • Google Drive
  • Unishare
  • Git 

Backup vs. Version Control

One fundamental difference between backups and version control is their general user case:

Backups protect your data in the event that something unexpected happens to your data, such as a disk drive failing, files accidentally being deleted, or a data center going offline during a catastrophic event.

On the other hand, the primary intention of version control is to reduce the potential negative impact from (un)intentional changes to files, not caused by hardware failure or other unintended events, by allowing users to easily revert to a version prior to the respective changes.

Other differences:

  • While backups are usually triggered on a timed basis, versions usually occur when files are changed.
  • While backups are usually done on whole systems or partitions, versioning occurs normally on a file-by-file basis.
  • While backups are usually stored on a different medium at a different physical location, versions are stored on the same location.
Last modified:03 November 2023 1.47 p.m.