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When you hear "replication," what technology first comes to mind? Your answer may be the Symmetrix Remote Data Facility, given EMC's prominence and the product's lengthy history. Other choices might be Hitachi Data Systems' TrueCopy, IBM's Peer to Peer Remote Copy and Network Appliance's SnapMirror. Further down the list, you might include host-based products like EMC/Legato's RepliStor or Veritas' Volume Replicator (now owned by Symantec).
Within any discipline, there's always the risk of groupthink--doing something a certain way because that's the way it's always been done. But sometimes "the way we've always done it" may not be the best approach. When it comes to replication, many of us may have developed such an attitude.
Host-based replication is a mature technology, but to those of us who design and recommend SANs, it's not often considered an option for architectures that support quick recovery. Has this technology been supplanted by newer and better options? If not, when should host-based replication be considered?
This was first published in November 2005