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Virtualisation misconceptions: Replication is a backup

Virtualisation offers us many different ways of backing up our data, in addition to being able to ensure that business-critical systems remain online in the event of an emergency.

One misunderstood and valuable tool is that of replication. Replication is a process whereby a virtual machine (VM) or any other chosen data is copied to a backup environment in real time. What this means is that if you make a change, modification or alteration to something in your live system, this will be replicated to your backup environment.

For disaster recovery, this is ideal, as should you main server containing all your business-critical systems become inoperable. then your replicated environment can come online almost instantly. This will lead to very little down time, and more importantly, no loss of data. Data loss can occur however, when users rely on replication as a backup method.

The important thing to remember is that replication does exactly that, it replicates anything that you do. Deleting data, VM’s or anything from your live environment will be mirrored on the backup.

We have seen many cases where users have been confident in deleting data believing all their data is “safe” in the replicated environment, only to find that that everything they have just done has been copied, and they are now faced with a potential data loss situation. Replication can be a very use and powerful tool when dealing with virtualisation, but it is vital to understand the difference between a backup and a replicated environment if you are to avoid data loss.

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