Some might remember what disaster recovery (DR) used to look like for IT. Endless stacks of tapes made for a logistical nightmare, and if even one was missing an entire recovery effort could fall apart at the seams. While backup tapes certainly do still have their part to play, they’ve fallen by the wayside in favor of something new. Something better.
Data replication is really just a simplified way to say that you’re copying the data from one location to a backup location. Of course, that used to come with its own array of difficulties, chief of which was cost. If you wanted to replicate an entire data center’s worth of information, you’d effectively need a second data center to do so.
In its early days, replication wasn’t a workable DR option for most businesses. It was certainly more effective, efficient, and streamlined than tapes if you had the budget and the time, which the majority didn’t.
A few years ago, however, that changed. Thanks to advances in virtualization and computing infrastructure, we saw a new breed of data replication tools which smartly sidestepped the limitations and constraints of their earlier kin. Businesses were then able to backup their systems and data without needing to worry about storage configurations.
The cloud drove this change to even further heights. With cloud data replication, businesses can scale off-site storage in an instant, meaning they never pay for capacity they aren’t using. Not only that, but the nature of the cloud means it’s easier to carry out backups in a timely manner, and to keep those backups both distributed (protecting them against hacks) and redundant (protecting them against system failure).
Data replication has changed disaster recovery — and as the technology advances, it will likely continue to do so. There’s no longer any need to rely on complicated tape arrays or storage systems in order to restore information after a breach or a crisis. Instead, businesses can simply spin up a cloud solution and restore everything to its former state.
And in an era where everything is always on and customers expect 24/7 service, the value of that cannot be understated.
Mind you, tape hasn’t gone away completely — nor is it likely to at any point in the near future — however, its role has changed. As modern disaster recovery demands a more efficient, flexible approach tape arrays will likely be used more for archival and longterm retention purposes. And that’s what it’s best-suited for, anyway.
For disaster recovery and business continuity, it’s better to rely on the cloud.