Backup Vs Replication

Businesses everyday are faced with the decision of whether to opt for a backup solution or replication solution or both.

It is worth reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of these before reaching a decision on which way to go.

The main considerations are what you are wishing to achieve, and how far your budget will stretch. Understanding the difference between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity is therefore essential. It is worth firstly defining these.

‘Disaster Recovery’ refers to the process of recovering data in the event of a disaster. So the disaster occurs and then the work is done to recover the data or entire infrastructure. The time frame in which this is achieved gradually closes until you reach ‘Business Continuity.’

Business Continuity is a scenario whereby you can actually continue your business through a disaster, without any form of disruption.

Let’s first take a replication scenario with no ‘Point in Time Backup’ procedure in place. There is a storm and lightening strikes your primary offices, frying your main servers.  However all is well because you have been running real-time replication to a secondary location. You can therefore continue operations as normal.

However let’s look at a couple of perhaps more likely scenarios. A file corruption occurs on the primary site. This is replicated to the secondary site making a non-corrupt version impossible to regain. Or a deletion occurs on the primary server. This is mirrored onto the secondary server, again making file recovery impossible.

With a proper backup procedure in place you can refer back to a point in time i.e. when the last scheduled backup was run. If the backup product stores multiple generations you can refer back to a version of the file/database, before the corruption/deletion occurred.

So there are certainly advantages of having real time replication in place.  However the decision to implement replication as a sole DR/BC solution is ill-researched. This is because in many scenarios a secondary real-time mirror of your data is useless.

The other point about replication is that you need much resource in the form of bandwidth to replicate on a continual basis. Backup generally takes place out of office hours when bandwidth demand is nil. Furthermore for replication you can expect to double all your hardware costs.

A further expense is achieving the geographical separation necessary to make it worthwhile. Some businesses choose to solely replicate to secondary servers onsite. However in disaster recovery terms there is little point in such a solution.

The dream scenario is of course to have both backup and replication rolled into one. This way you can recover to a point in time and also maintain a high availability BC solution.

However to have both is expensive and in the current climate businesses often have to choose. Without question it is paramount to prioritise having a ‘Point in Time Backup’ solution in place.

Backup Technology are able to provide a solution which provides ‘Point in Time Backup’ as well as seamless Business Continuity. This is achieved through maintaining an up to date virtual replica of your environment rather than through replication. In the event of a disaster the task is therefore simple. We recover the small amount of changes to your warm standby server. The solution ensures that both Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives are achieved without the huge costs of implementing real-time replication.

Furthermore BTL work tirelessly alongside Asigra to continually develop our DR/ BC offerings in order to keep ahead of the ever increasingly demanding needs of the world today.

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