This blog will discuss data replication to the cloud, namely:
- What Cloud Data Replication Is
- Why Replicate Data to The Cloud
- Challenges of Cloud Data Replication
- How to Achieve High Availability in a Cloud Environment with Data Replication
Understanding Data Replication to the Cloud
The modern enterprise is increasingly reliant on cloud computing. The cloud offers a variety of benefits to the organization and is essential to meeting the needs of a company’s customers and growing remote workforces.
As business needs evolve, the drawbacks of legacy systems within on-premises data centers become more apparent. Attempting to support a modern, distributed enterprise with these systems is labor-intensive for IT and can be more expensive for the organization.
Cloud data replication provides a solution to this issue by allowing an organization to gradually transition its operations away from these legacy systems. It also has the benefit of providing higher availability and improved redundancy and resiliency.
What is Cloud Data Replication?
Cloud data replication refers to the practice of making a copy of the data stored on one physical or virtualized server to another cloud-based instance. This replication can be performed synchronously, which involves sending updates to the backup instance in real time, or asynchronously, where updates are made to the backup instance at periodic intervals rather than continuously.
The choice between synchronous and asynchronous replication impacts the organization’s recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO). For example, synchronous replication offers extremely low RPO because the backup server is completely in sync with the primary. If a failure of the primary server causes a switchover to the backup, this can be performed quickly (low RTO) and with little or no data loss. However, synchronous replication can be expensive, resource-intensive, and its performance depends heavily upon that of the network link connecting the two servers.
Asynchronous replication, on the other hand, offers lower cost and resource consumption and can operate effectively over longer, lower-performance network links. However, this comes at the potential cost of a higher RPO because all data generated between the last synchronization and the failure of the primary server will be lost.
The choice between synchronous and asynchronous data replication should be based on an organization’s use case. Synchronous replication is better when the organization can afford no data loss, while asynchronous replication is better for budget-constrained and less critical projects, such as saving test data from the development environment.
Reasons to Replicate Data to The Cloud
Some reasons why an organization may choose to perform cloud data replication include:
- Preventing Data Loss: Storing an organization’s data on a single server creates the possibility that a server outage will cause a complete loss of data. Hosting a backup in the cloud dramatically decreases the probability of this occurring.
- Geographic Distribution: If an organization’s backup servers are hosted in the same data center as the primary, then they can all be impacted by the same disaster (fire, power or Internet outage, etc.). Storing a copy of the data in the cloud improves the probability that at least one copy will be continually available and usable.
- Infrastructure Upgrades: As organizations transition from on-prem data centers to cloud-based deployments, their infrastructure may be split between these two environments. Cloud data replication enables an organization to bridge the gap and move through this transition by providing both on-prem and cloud-based assets with a complete copy of the data that they need.
- Reduced Cost: In general, hosting a backup copy of an organization’s data in the cloud is cheaper than performing the same data replication in-house. With a cloud-based deployment, the company isn’t responsible for purchasing and maintaining the infrastructure and ensuring that the required redundancies (uninterruptible power supply, backup Internet connections, etc.) are in place.
- Scalability: One of the main benefits of cloud computing is its greater scalability compared to an on-premises data center. With data replication, an organization doesn’t want to delete data because it has reached capacity and can’t deploy new infrastructure in time. With the cloud, an organization’s backup server can scale to meet demand.
Challenges of Cloud Data Replication
While replicating data to the cloud can provide a number of different benefits to an organization, it also has its challenges, such as:
- Data Quality: With cloud replication, an organization needs to balance the data quality issues of synchronous and asynchronous replication. Synchronous replication struggles with high-latency connections (which cloud environments can have), while asynchronous replication has the potential for data loss.
- Latency: Minimizing data loss means that an organization needs to frequently send data to its cloud-based deployment. The latency between on-premises data centers and cloud-based environments can be significant, which impacts the performance of this data transfer and the ability to keep the backup server synchronized with the main.
- Security: With cloud data replication, an organization is storing a complete copy of its data in two different locations. This means that the company needs to take steps to appropriately protect this data in both locations. With two or more copies of the data for an attacker to target, the complexity of securing the data is increased.
Despite these challenges, cloud data replication is probably worth the effort. The cost of losing sensitive and valuable data due to a server failure is much higher than that of implementing an effective data replication solution.
How to Achieve High Availability in a Cloud Environment with Data Replication
Achieving high availability is a common goal for data replication. Accomplishing this requires synchronous replication because the backup server must be constantly in sync with the primary. However, synchronous data replication can be expensive and perform poorly if done incorrectly.
The Silk Platform makes it easy to replicate data into the cloud. The platform’s technology includes enterprise data services that make it easy to both replicate data as well as take zero-footprint clones. So that the data you store in the cloud never balloons out of control. And because Silk sits between your databases, applications, and other workloads and the underlying infrastructure, you can easily lift and shift data from on-prem to the cloud or from one cloud to another.
Learn more about how Silk can make data replication in the cloud a breeze. Visit www.silk.us.