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Improving off-site data redundancy with data replication software tools

Creating off-site data redundancy requires additional hardware investments, but data replication software can ease the burden.

Is there a way to achieve data redundancy between data centers with fewer resources?

The burden of remotely replicating data can be reduced by embedded storage features and third-party tools.

For successful redundancy between data centers, you need to know which data needs to be protected under the disaster recovery process. Allocate adequate hardware resources to protect that data and then implement software and oversight to ensure redundancy and proper recovery processes. Investing in software tools to improve data redundancy between sites is only part of the solution. Administrators must also be knowledgeable enough to implement and use appropriate data replication software.

Most storage subsystems natively support virtual machine (VM) snapshot replication between storage arrays. This embedded feature simplifies snapshots and other data protection methods.

Many third-party data replication software products enable remote replication and backup. Some tools are already bundled with storage subsystems; simply install the tool on an available server to implement it. Dell's EqualLogic PS series of storage arrays, for example, includes software tools that support synchronous replication. Other tools can be purchased separately from storage hardware vendors.

Virtualization users might consider data replication tools native to their chosen hypervisor. For example, VMware customers can use vSphere Replication or third-party tools such as Veeam Backup and Replication or Dell's vReplicator. Be sure to select replication software that is virtualization-aware if you run virtualized data centers.

Regardless of what replication software you choose, thoroughly understand the product and its use. Never assume that any data protection tool will operate exactly as advertised or expected. Use proof-of-principle projects to test and refine data redundancy strategies, test recovery procedures and understand the implications of connectivity problems.

This was first published in July 2013

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