Data backup vs. data replication vs. disaster recovery: how do they fit together? Though these three processes are related, they are not interchangeable. Backup and/or replication are not disaster recovery on their own, but they are parts of a good disaster recovery plan. Let’s examine these aspects of data protection and recovery.
Simply put, data backup is creating a copy of your files by periodically taking snapshots. Depending on company goals, these snapshots could be taken between hours or days apart. Data backup is used so businesses have a copy, or multiple copies, of their files. This way, companies can pinpoint data recovery of something as important as an employee’s lost emails, or something as small as an accidentally deleted file from four years ago.
Replication is similar to backup in that it involves the copying of data. However, during replication, the data that is copied is then transferred to a separate location in near-real time. Replication is more expensive than data backup, therefore, it is only used for the most important processes, data, and applications. When disaster strikes, data replication will keep a company running by saving essential data.
Part of strategizing for data replication is defining recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO). These determine how long a business can go without vital workloads and the amount of data loss they can handle. When RTO and RPO requirements are less flexible, the solution will be more expensive and more complex.
Replication is necessary for a successful disaster recovery plan, but other elements are needed as well. Replication is essentially the start of a disaster recovery plan, making critical data available to you and giving you the material to declare an emergency. Backup is another form of insurance in the event of a disaster. An effective disaster recovery plan is thorough and makes use of both data backup and data replication.
Backup, replication, and disaster recovery are all processes that complement each other, but they do not function in the same way. Your data is safer when these three elements of data protection are used in conjunction with each other, rather than one or two of them on their own.
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