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Data replication is the process of continuously copying data from its source location to another location in a retrievable state, so that a current, complete copy is always available in case it needs to be restored.  This is an essential component of any organization’s disaster recovery strategy and ensures business continuity in the event of catastrophic failure or damage to the data source.  Data replication is not the same as a periodic static data backup, which can fall out of sync very quickly.  Rather it requires constant duplication so that the replicate (called the mirror) is always kept synchronized with the source.

There are a few problems with data replication that can occur during the data transfer process.  For example, network latency can cause delays before the transfer begins, and interruptions in service can prevent the steady transfer of data, resulting in incomplete data reaching the mirror.  Location of the mirror can also cause problems – the further the mirror is from the data source, the more challenging it is to keep them in sync.

Software is available that addresses these challenges and enables organizations to prepare for disaster recovery and provide high availability of their mission-critical applications and data. With a well-designed data replication strategy and the proper tools, a complete replicate can be swapped in for a failed data source immediately.  For example, SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension offers continuous, real-time replication of data, providing multiple copies of data at all times.  Its ability to incrementally synchronize enormous databases and data repositories helps reduce the time it takes to recover data in case of disaster.