Disasters happen.

Hurricanes. Fires. Floods. Earthquakes. These are all very real possibilities that could damage your business’s ability to function. On a less extreme (but perhaps more common) level, you may be faced with issues like system crashes due to user error, hardware failures, or security breaches.

When systems go down, it’s vital that you have access to backups; if they’re mission-critical, your data and systems must have redundancies to ensure they aren’t lost for good. Disaster recovery solutions can help to ensure that your business isn’t irreparably damaged.

That’s where data replication comes in.

At a fundamental level, data replication for disaster recovery is pretty straightforward: Replication allows for redundancy. If a database system goes down, data replication can allow for replicated databases to be accessed with minimal (or hopefully no) lag time.

This can keep your business running – and keeping your business running can keep you in business.

If data replication is being used for disaster recovery, betting on the right solution is a high stakes proposition. Here are the decisions your business must make.

What disaster recovery scenarios do we need to consider?

There is some nuance to the different disaster scenarios themselves, but, generally, we can divide scenarios into three categories: cold disaster recovery, warm disaster recovery, and hot disaster recovery (or high availability).

Cold disaster recovery refers to situations where, in the event of a disruption, a system simply switches over to another system. This can conserve resources, but it requires a whole destination rebuild when failure happens.

Warm disaster recovery refers to situations where a mirrored system is maintained but only accessed during a disaster recovery event. Usually, the warm site isn’t meant to function as the production system for the long-term.

Hot disaster recovery – or high availability – refers to situations where a mirrored system runs completely in parallel with a production system and can be accessed at any point if there is partial failure or diminished capacity. In this case, the production system and the hot site can work in tandem.

How current must the replicated data be to be useful?

Once you’ve identified how your disaster recovery solution will be used at a general level, it’s time to get a bit more granular. How close to real-time does your data need to be in order to be useful for your applications?

If the systems that you’re replicating aren’t used in production, (i.e. you’re replicating a BI database), you may be able to get away with batch updates at the end of every day. The same may be true if the data you’re replicating is only updated every day. For most enterprise applications, though, in order for disaster recovery to be effective, data replication should have something closer to minute-by-minute accuracy.

That way, when systems fail and data is needed, it will be up to date and useful, and your business will be able to continue functioning without interruption.

What will access of the subscriber database look like in the event of a disaster?

This is where the rubber meets the road. In the event of a disaster, having replicated data does no good if it can’t be accessed. As your organization designs a disaster recovery solution, consider what the recovery part of the solution will look like.

Will clients be expected to access the secondary database for an extended period of time? Will failure designate the secondary database to become the new primary database? What will happen if the system comes back on – will requests revert to it immediately, or will that need to be switched over manually?

At a business level, of course, the idea is to minimize the potential for workflow disruption if your primary servers go down. It’s highly recommended that you test your disaster recovery solution and make sure access is set up properly, before the disaster happens.

Ready to get started with data replication for disaster recovery?

Our hope is that the information provided here has helped you to better understand the topic of data replication for disaster recover, clarified scenarios where it may be helpful, and allowed you to think through the key considerations in enacting a solution to fit your needs.

If you’re considering a data replication solution to protect your business in the event of a disaster, we’d love to hear from you.

At StarQuest, we’re experts at data replication. Our powerful SQDR software can be utilized for replication from an extensive range of data sources, and it powers real-time change data capture using a log-based approach.

And, importantly, our customer service team is regarded as some of the best in the business, with clients calling us “The best vendor support I have ever encountered.”

Get in touch with us to discuss your data replication needs. We can set you up with a no-charge trial of our software using the database management system of your choice, and help you take the first step toward a solution that will benefit your business – and keep your data and systems protected.