How to choose the best data replication product: A checklist

What you will learn in this tip: In the previous part of our series on data replication techniques, you learned about asynchronous vs. synchronous replication,

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array-based and network-based replication, and host-based replication products. In this part of our series, you key criteria for selecting a data replication product.

Data replication has been used for high availability and data protection of critical data and applications for a long time, and it has been slowly eating away at tape as the media of choice for data protection. As a consequence of shrinking recovery time objectives, and increased need for 24/7 availability of applications and data, this trend is likely to continue, if not accelerate. On the technology side, cloud computing, the virtualization of IT infrastructure, and a flurry of replication options and offerings are aiding this trend.

Choosing the best data replication product can be difficult. We've made it easier for you by providing a free, downloadable data replication product checklist. Click here to download the data replication product checklist you see below. 



Type of replication



Array based

Host based

Network based

Storage infrastructure

Requires homogeneous storage or storage virtualization


Storage agnostic


Storage agnostic; fabric-based products; require intelligent switches


Server infrastructure


Equally suitable for small or large number of servers and multi-OS environments

Very attractive for a small number of hosts; unfavorable for a large number of servers and multiple OS infrastructures

Equally suitable for small or large number of servers and multi-OS environments



Very good, as replication is simply an extension of array management


Complexity increases with the number of hosts


One additional storage component to manage; complexity is independent of the number of hosts and arrays


Good; it’s directly linked to scalability of the arrays

Very good, as replication runs on hosts

More prone to becoming a performance bottleneck


Very robust, as it’s part of the storage array

Less robust, as problems on hosts and in applications can impact replication

Very robust because of dedicated appliances



Very good for existing arrays; unfavorable if new arrays need to be added

Cost increases proportionally with the number of hosts

Fixed cost for variable number of servers and arrays

About this author: Jacob Gsoedl is a freelance writer and a corporate director for business systems.

This article was previously published in Storage magazine

This was first published in April 2011

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