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Lowering replication costs
Optimizing the target site's storage and bandwidth requirements isn't the only way replication software allows organizations to lower operational costs. Replication software lets organizations use virtual OSes such as VMware or Microsoft Corp.'s Virtual Server in conjunction with their replication software. One large server running a virtual OS can host multiple guest OSes, with each guest OS acting as a target for each of the remote sites. Though each guest OS still requires a licensed copy of the replication software, most replication software vendors discount their replication software if it's deployed on a server supporting a virtual OS with multiple guest OSes.
Some organizations choose to cut costs by using replication software in lieu of backup software at their remote sites. With replication software copying all remote data to a central location, companies may then use their central backup software to back up the replicated data rather than the data on the source server. Using replication software in this manner also allows for faster recoveries, but most replication and backup software products aren't yet integrated with one another. This may become problematic when users at remote sites need to recover older copies. If the remote users no longer have access to the backup software, they'll need to rely on someone else to locate and restore
their data at the central site.
Another way replication software may allow users to lower costs is by facilitating data migrations during server or storage technology refreshes. Data migrations are usually viewed as one-time data movements, while data replication is considered an ongoing process. All data replication products include a number of options to help users create the initial replica of data at the remote site (see "Comparing backup, continuous data protection and replication software"). This is important when users need to migrate large amounts of data to a remote site, but lack server/network resources to complete the migration in a timely manner. The integration of replication, CDP and backup software lets organizations achieve new levels of near real-time local and remote data recovery. Host-level replication software (see "Pros and cons of different replication architectures") is a good option for organizations to lower data protection costs and better protect the company's data.
This was first published in December 2006