VMware and Microsoft both offer virtual machine replication capabilities. VMware offers vSphere Replication as a no-cost component that is included with most vSphere licenses. Similarly, Microsoft has integrated replication capabilities in Hyper-V, with no extra licensing costs.
Both replication products are based on the use of changed block tracking. When a block is created or modified, it gets replicated to a secondary location. This allows a standby copy of the virtual machine (VM) to be retained at a secondary location.
Microsoft and VMware also allow you to adjust the replication frequency (although Microsoft introduced this capability only in Windows Server 2012 R2). The more frequently the replication cycle occurs, the less data will be lost in the event that the replica has to be activated.
On the other hand, there are also advantages to using longer replication times. Longer replication frequencies are well-suited to slow or unreliable connections because as the replication frequency increases, so too does the time-out period. This makes short losses in connectivity much less problematic. Long replication frequencies also make it easy to maintain a lagged replica that allows the organization to easily revert to a VM as it existed at an earlier point in time.
Hypervisor-based replication vs. traditional replication
Learn more about hypervisor-based replication and how it compares with other software-based replication, in this Expert Response from Brien Posey.
Learn replication best practices for use with backup
ESG's Jason Buffington discusses replication best practices for using with backup, in this Expert Answer.
Using snapshot and replication in your data protection strategy
Analyst Jason Buffington of ESG discusses data protection strategies using snapshot and replication, in this Expert Answer.
Dig deeper on Backup for virtual servers
Related Q&A from Brien Posey
Expert Brien Posey explains how using a Bunch of Redundant Independent Clouds architecture can protect data, but not without three common hurdles.continue reading
Brien Posey dives into the complications users might run into with thinly provisioned VMware data stores and how to address them.continue reading
VSphere APIs for I/O Filters, available with the next release of the hypervisor, lets third-party products access a VM's I/O stream to provide ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.