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Data Replication Software

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This is a brief tutorial that introduces data replication software to non technical people. Some system administrators may find it useful when explaining various replication solutions to management.

In this document, we will use data replication interchangeably with file replication and file synchronization software although there are some differences between them especially when it comes to structured data.

I. What is data replication software

Data replication software is an application that creates an exact copy of files and data from one system to another system on the same network or in a remote location. The software applies file changes from a computer (server or desktop), a virtual machine (VM) or a network attached storage (NAS) to another computer, VM or NAS. The software may also copy the entire file instead of copying only changed data blocks. Data replication’s goal is to have another copy of the data on another systems.

II. Uses of data replication

Replication software solutions are used to solve various challenges. The following is a non exhaustive list:

  1. Data protection: Data is protected by making copies of the exact same data in a remote safe location (just in case of a disaster)
  2. Data sharing between staff and business partners: Replicated data can be made accessible in different sites and in different locations (manually or automatically)
  3. File sharing between business processes: The automated data delivery can be used to share data between applications in different systems and/or different sites
  4. Automating workflow: file replication can be used to automate many tasks of data delivery between processes
  5. Distributing data: Since replication can deliver data to many servers or machines in different locations, one can create configurations to deliver data to one or many systems across the globe or between branch offices
  6. Automated data migration
  7. Ransomware tolerance (if an effective solution and configuration is used)
  8. Other uses are always discovered by IT staff, engineers and users.

III. Types of data replication

B. Asynchronous replication

In the case of asynchronous data replication:

  1. The storage system performs I/O operations that change the data or the metadata on the local system first
  2. Copy the data and metadata to the remote location
  3. Then the replication software performs the same operations (or a variation of the operations) on the remote system in order to synchronize the data between the local and the remote system.

Different asynchronous replication solutions perform step 3 above in different manners. Some may send the entire file, others may send only the actual blocks that were written on the local machine and some may send only the differences between the file, etc.

A. Synchronous replication

The synchronous data replication software on the other hand follows the next few steps:

  1. The I/O system performs the I/O operations that change or mutate the data or metadata on the remote system
  2. If the previous operations were successful, then the same operations are applied on the local system to bring the two in sync
  3. Various storage software solutions deal differently with how they handle failure to write data on the remote system.

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IV. Modes of data replication

Data replication software can operate in one or in a combination of all of the following modes:

A. Scheduled file replication

Scheduled file replication software operates on a schedule and works as follows:

A scheduler uses a configuration to decide when the software will replicate data. The schedule may or may not include the following time resolutions:

  • By minute: At the specified minute(s) of the hour, start replication of a file, directory or of multiple directories
  • Hourly: Start data synchronization at the specified hour(s)
  • Day of the week: Start replication at the specified day of the week
  • Day of the month: Start file synchronization on a specific day of the month
  • Monthly: Start replication at the specified month.

B. On demand replication

On demand replication is sometime called ad hoc replication. What this means is that a command (or a click) is used to start replication as needed. The command can also be invoked from other applications to automate data transfers.

C. Real time replication

Real time replication is the king of all. It has a file system monitor that tracks file system changes and it sends the data changes as they occur to one or more systems that can be in the same building or in a remote location or even in a different country.

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V. Related articles

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This is a brief tutorial that introduces data replication software to non technical people. Some system administrators may find it useful when explaining various replication solutions to management.

In this document, we will use data replication interchangeably with file replication and file synchronization software although there are some differences between them especially when it comes to structured data.

I. What is data replication software

Data replication software is an application that an exact copy of files and data from one system to another system on the same network or in a remote location. The software applies file changes from a computer (server or desktop), a virtual machine (VM) or a network attached storage (NAS) to another computer, VM or NAS. The software may also copy the entire file instead of copying only changed data blocks.

II. Uses of data replication

Replication software solutions are used to solve various challenges. The following is a non exhaustive list:

  1. Data protection: Data is protected by making copies of the exact data in a remote safe location (just in case of a disaster)
  2. Data sharing between staff and business partners: Replicated data can be made accessible in different sites and in different locations (manually or automatically)
  3. File sharing between business processes: The automated data delivery can be used to share data between applications in different systems and/or different sites
  4. Automating workflow: file replication can be used to automate many tasks of data delivery between processes
  5. Distributing data: Since replication can deliver data to many servers or machines in different locations, one can create configurations to deliver data to one or many systems across the globe or between branch offices
  6. Automated data migration
  7. Ransomware tolerance (if an effective solution and configuration is used)
  8. New uses are always discovered by IT staff, engineers and users.

III. Types of data replication

B. Asynchronous replication

In the case of asynchronous data replication:

  1. The storage system performs I/O operations that change the data or the metadata on the local system first
  2. Move the data and metadata to the remote location
  3. Then the replication software performs the same operations (or a variation of the operations) on the remote system in order to synchronize the data between the local and the remote system.

Different asynchronous replication solutions perform step 3 above in different manners. Some may send the entire file, others may send only the actual blocks that were written on the local machine and some may send only the differences between the file, etc.

A. Synchronous replication

The synchronous data replication software on the other hand follows the next few steps:

  1. The I/O system performs the I/O operations that change or mutate the data or metadata on the remote system
  2. If the previous operations were successful, then the same operations are applied on the local system to bring the two in sync
  3. Various storage software solutions deal differently with how they handle failure to write data on the remote system.

IV. Modes of data replication

Data replication software can operate in one or in a combination of all of the following modes:

A. Scheduled file replication

Scheduled file replication software operates on a schedule and works as follows:

A scheduler uses a configuration to decide when the software will replicate data. The schedule may or may not include time resolutions:

  • By minute: At the specified minute(s) of the hour, start replication of a file, directory or of multiple directories
  • Hourly: Start data synchronization at the specified hour(s)
  • Day of the week: Start replication at the specified day of the week
  • Day of the month: Start file synchronization on a specific day of the month
  • Monthly: Start replication at the specified month.

B. On demand replication

On demand replication is sometime called ad hoc replication. What this means is that a command (or a click) is used to start replication as needed. The command can also be invoked from other applications to automate data transfers.

C. Real time replication

Real time replication is the king of all. It has a file system monitor that tracks file system changes and it sends the data changes as they occur to one or more systems that can be in the same building or in a remote location or even in a different country.Shortcode

V. Related articles

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Data Replication Software was last modified: August 20th, 2019 by Content manager

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