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Replication alternatives

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Data replication is great for protecting critical data and ensuring quick recoveries. Find out where you should deploy replication: in your array, network or servers.

Data replication as a means of data protection has seen continuous and increasing adoption since it first emerged in storage systems after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Over time, it has evolved into an indispensable component of disaster recovery (DR), as well as for operational backup for applications that require shorter recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs) than what traditional tape backups can offer. Firms are also adopting data replication for remote- and branch-office data protection; in a hub-and-spoke architecture, branch-office data can be replicated back to central data centers, thus eliminating unwieldy tape-based backup procedures at the branch sites.

The growing adoption of replication services has been driven by a wide array of data replication products, more lower cost replication offerings, faster and less-expensive networks, and an overall maturing of the technology itself. "Replication-based data protection is among the top three priorities of 60% of our clients, which is very different from only a few years ago," said Tim Bowers, global product manager, storage services at EDS, a Hewlett-Packard (HP) company.

Not all replication is equal

At a macro level, data replication copies data from

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one storage location to one or more other local or remote storage systems. But venture beyond that basic task and you'll find that data replication products vary in several key aspects:

Location: One of the main differentiators among products is where replication occurs. The replication service or software can reside on the storage array, in the network or on the host (server). Array-based replication has been dominating the replication market up to now.

This was first published in April 2009

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