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Narrow down your replication or CDP options

Backup expert Pierre Dorion offers suggestions on how to choose the best replication or CDP for your needs.

I'm considering making disk backups of a share disk in my network, aprox 150 GB, but I don't know if there a software to do this fast enough. I would like some software that will allow me to have a replica of my disk and update files like the synchronization on PDAs.
The list of software products that can help you accomplish this task keeps growing. There are host-based replication products, hardware-based replication products (at the disk array level) and there are now a growing number of continuous data protection (CDP) products available. Given the relatively small amount of data you have to replicate, a software-based product is probably better suited unless you already own two storage arrays that are compatible for hardware-based replication. Below is a VERY PARTIAL list of products that can help you with this (alphabetically):

  • Data Domain
  • Doubletake (NSI)
  • Falconstor CDP
  • Neverfail
  • Replistor (Legato)
  • LiveState (Symantec)
  • TimeData (TimeSpring)
  • XOSoft

The above are not necessarily listed as the only recommended products and there are other equally viable alternatives.

To narrow down your options, you need to consider the following criteria:

  • Distance between data source and destination (this will determine whether you can do synchronous or asynchronous replication. This will influence performance to various degrees.
  • Features and functionality (i.e. how many point-in-time copies, block- or file-level replication, restore granularity, etc.).
  • Ease of management –- How user-friendly is the interface and what kind of training will be required (if any)?
  • Cost (capacity-based versus host-based licensing should be compared).
  • Scalability –- This will depend on your anticipated future growth.

The first step in selecting the right product for your organization is to clearly establish your business requirements (number of copies, retention, recovery time objectives, etc). You can then do a little research on the Web using keywords such as "data replication" or "CDP" to gather a listing of products available. Once you have narrowed down your choice of products, many vendors offer trial software of can set up demos for you.

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