Businesses want real-time updates to their data and organizations, and thus have a growing need to scale their systems & provide the support for accessing data seamlessly. Data replication is one such technique that allows users to access data from numerous sources such as servers, sites, etc. in real-time, thereby tackling the challenge of maintaining high data availability. In this article, we are going to take a look at data replication and replication storage.

Once done reading, you’ll have an in-depth knowledge of the data replication storage strategy, its implementation, advantages, and disadvantages, etc. to help you set up data replication and start replicating/recovering your business data with ease.

What is Data Replication?

Businesses today grapple with a deluge of data, making swift updates crucial. Data replication, a fundamental concept, proves indispensable in this regard. It involves duplicating data across diverse network locations to ensure accessibility and high availability.

With data replication, organizations can disseminate data across various storage locations, including different regions, on-site and off-site hosts, and cloud servers. This redundancy proves invaluable for backup and disaster recovery strategies. Instead of relying on outdated backups during crises, organizations can access up-to-date data, enhancing their recovery capabilities significantly.

In summary, data replication facilitates real-time data updates, enhances accessibility, and fortifies disaster recovery measures for modern organizations.

Benefits of Data Replication

Data replication can be a cost-demanding process/operation in terms of computing power and storage requirements, but it provides an immense set of benefits that overshadow the cost aspect. Some of the benefits of data replication are as follows:

  • High Data Availability: Data replication mechanisms ensures high availability and accessibility of the data by allowing users or applications to access the data from numerous nodes or sites even during an unforeseen failure or technical glitch.
  • Enhanced Data Retrieval: With data replication in place, users can access data from a diverse set of regions/locations.
  • Enhanced Server Performance: Data replication helps reduce the load on the primary server by distributing data across numerous storage regions/locations, thereby boosting the network performance.
  • Fault tolerance & Disaster Recovery: With the rapid growth in the number of cyberattacks, data breaches, etc., most organizations face the issue of unexpected losses.

How Does Data Replication Work?

Data replication refers to the process of creating numerous copies of your data and making them available across a diverse set of locations in a network to ensure high data availability and accessibility. It takes into consideration all of the Data Sources present in an organization’s distributed infrastructure.

The company’s Distributed Database Management System (DDBMS) is used to replicate data, and to ensure that the changes, additions, and deletions performed on the data are automatically reflected in the data stored at all the other locations.

DDBMS is essentially the name of the infrastructure that allows or carries out database replication — the system that manages the distributed database, which is the product of database replication. Data replication involves one or more applications that are capable of connecting a primary storage location with a secondary location.

These primary and secondary storage locations can be individual source Databases (such as Oracle, Microsoft SQL, MySQL, and MongoDB), as well as Data Warehouses.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Data Replication

There are several ways to replicate data. Data replication based on the timing of data transfer is classified as follows:

  • Asynchronous Data Replication: When the data is sent from the client to the model server, the model server notifies the client with a confirmation that the data has been received. From there, the data is copied to the replicas at an unspecified or monitored pace.

    Asynchronous Replication offers flexibility and ease of use, but as the confirmation comes before the main replication process, there is a greater risk of Data Loss involved.
  • Synchronous Data Replication: When the data is copied from the client to the model server, it is replicated to all the replica servers before notifying the client about data replication. This method usually takes longer to verify when compared to the Asynchronous method.

    Synchronous replication is more rigid and time-consuming, but it ensures safe and successful Data replication as the confirmation comes after the entire process is completed.

What is Replication Storage?

Replication Storage, also known as storage-based replication, is an approach to replicating data available over a network to numerous distinct storage locations/regions.

It enhances the availability, accessibility, and retrieval speed of data by allowing users to access data in real-time from various storage locations when unexpected failures occur at the source storage location. Storage-based data replication makes use of software installed on the storage device to handle the replication.

pictorial representation of replication storage
Pictorial representation of replication storage

Storage system-based replication supports both local and remote replication.

In storage system-based local replication, the data replication is carried out within the storage system. Local replication enables you to perform recovery operations in the event of data loss and also provides support for backup.

Whereas in storage system-based remote replication, the replication is carried out between storage systems. In simple words, one of the storage systems is on the source site and the other storage system is on a remote site for data replication. Data can be transmitted between the two storage systems over a shared or dedicated network.

Advantages of Storage-Based Replication

  • Storage-based replication follows a heterogenous storage mechanism and hence houses support for numerous platforms.
  • It operates independently of any server or storage-based device.
  • It allows replicating data across multi-vendor products.

Disadvantages of Storage-Based Replication

  • Setting up storage-based replication requires you to leverage proprietary hardware and hence, it has a high initial setup, operational, and management cost.
  • It requires setting up and implementing a storage area network (SAN).

Storage-Based Replication vs Host-Based Replication

The industry primarily prefers two Data Replication techniques. Storage-Based Replication and Host-Based Replication are the two most widely used Data Replication techniques.

The primary difference between them is that in host-based replication, the two sites are connected via a Server. On the other hand, as discussed in the previous section, the storage-based replication process requires setting up and implementing a SAN to replicate data.

Most host-based replication solutions allow replicating data natively over IP networks, so users don’t need to buy expensive hardware to achieve this functionality. One disadvantage is that host-based solutions consume server resources and can affect overall server performance. 

The following comparison between a host-based and a storage-based replication solution will help you zero in on one.

Storage-Based ReplicationHost-Based Replication
Requires SAN for replicationTwo sites can be connected via a Server
Single vendor for storage and replicationMulti-vendor storage environment
OS agnosticStorage agnostic
Vendor lock-inDoesn’t lock users into a particular storage array from any one vendor
Higher costAllows replicating data natively over IP networks, cost-effective
Replicating to a single targetReplicating to multiple targets

Understanding How Replication Storage Works

Cluster/SAN Based Data Replication Storage
Cluster/SAN Based Data Replication Storage

Implementing storage-based replication requires using two or storage devices, connected either through a physical connection or through a storage area network (SAN). It leverages numerous software and applications to replicate data from the primary data storage in real-time.

This software further allows users to achieve real-time replication across the storage layer, thereby helping them unleash the power of data replication.

Highlighting Vendors of Replication Storage

Various vendors support implementing storage-based replication to create multiple copies across numerous regions and ensure high data availability. Some of the most prominent ones are as follows:

Conclusion

This article teaches you in-depth & answers all your queries about Replication Storage or storage-based data replication strategy. It provides a brief introduction of numerous concepts related to it, its advantages, and disadvantages & helps the users understand them better and use them to perform data replication & recovery in the most efficient way possible. These methods, however, can be challenging especially for a beginner & this is where Hevo saves the day. 

Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline, can help you replicate data in real-time without writing any code. Hevo being a fully-managed system provides a highly secure automated solution to help perform replication in just a few clicks using its interactive UI.

Want to take Hevo for a spin? Sign Up for a 14-day free trial and experience the feature-rich Hevo suite first hand. You can also have a look at the unbeatable pricing that will help you choose the right plan for your business needs.

Share your experience of learning about Replication Storage! Let us know in the comments section below

Anaswara Ramachandran
Content Marketing Specialist, Hevo Data

Anaswara is an engineer-turned writer having experience writing about ML, AI, and Data Science. She is also an active Guest Author in various communities of Analytics and Data Science professionals including Analytics Vidhya.

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