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Common misconceptions about replication, backup today

What are the biggest mistakes or misconceptions you see today about replication and backup?

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The biggest misconception is that replication and backup are interchangeable terms. They are not. This is the same kind of problem that confused so many people about the terms "backup" and "archive." A long-term backup isn't an archive, because the retention of the backed-up data isn't driven by the data's contents, but by a fixed schedule. At first, almost everyone confused the two -- and it really was the fault of the marketing folks at backup companies, who saw that "archive" was an appealing term and started mislabeling their backup capabilities.

Then we went through a phase where folks started understanding that the terms were different, and the pendulum swung all the way in the other direction, where separate folks were using separate tools, with isolated strategies and isolated storage solutions. Now, we understand that backup and archival tools are complementary, and that backup and archiving can sometimes be achieved with integrated products, co-managed by one team, and the data retained in unified storage.

The same reality exists for replication and backup. Users need to recognize that they are not the same process, but are complementary. Users also should understand that they can be achieved by separate means (e.g., application-centric replication alongside centrally managed backup), but that they need to be designed as part of one strategy.

This was first published in August 2013

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