The Differences between Software- and Hardware-based High Availability Replication

With businesses so reliant on the mounds of data, mission-critical applications and systems that host their data and applications, backup and recovery solutions are essential for business continuity.  There are many options to evaluate.  If it is determined that your organization needs a high availability replication solution to meet a specific operational performance level then you will need to decide whether a hardware-based or software-based data replication solution is right for you.  Also learn the 5 things you need to know about high availability.

A hardware-based replication solution is an exact copy of the host system unit that is mirrored to the target system and does not utilize software-based journaling.  Data is written directly to the primary and redundant system and/or disk drives at the same time.

A software-based replication solution runs over hosted servers and utilizes journaling where software “records” the activity on the primary system, which is then sent to “software” on the redundant system and then applied to the disk drives.

Which option is best for your organization?  It depends on your specific computing environment, your Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and, of course, your budget.  Both options have their advantages.

Software-based replication advantages:

  • Real-time replication
  • Quicker restoration
  • More cost-effective
  • Hardware agnostic
  • More features and functionality
  • Less likely to require monitoring of storage requirements

Hardware-based replication advantages:

  • Easily configured
  • Better support options
  • Applications don’t need to be aware of replication
  • Synchronization mode offers more consistency
  • Any host linked to the storage system can take advantage of the replication

Before selecting your high availability replication solution, make sure you talk to an expert that can carefully evaluate your needs and your technology requirements and then find a solution that fits your budget.

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