Selecting the right Data Replication Software for Your Business

Selecting the right data replication tool is not always easy

There are a million reasons you might need a real-time data replication solution. Maybe you’re migrating applications to the cloud. Or maybe you’re implementing a real-time analytics solution. Or perhaps you need to synchronize systems maintained in geographically dispersed data centers on a 24/7 basis. Regardless of what’s driving the need, you’ll have to choose the right tool(s) for the job. The good news is you have choices. The bad news is you have to make a choice. No one said your job was easy!

1. Define Requirements

As with any technology selection, the best place to start is by defining your requirements:

  • How many sources and targets are there?
  • Are they all standardized, or are they heterogeneous?
  • How much data is involved? What types of data need to be replicated? How frequently must the data be replicated?
  • What are the security requirements?
  • How frequently will sources and targets be added, changed, or taken offline?
  • And oh, by the way, what is your budget, delivery deadline and available project staffing?

2. Data Replication Tool Selection Process

Data replication toolsWith the easy part behind you, you can start your data replication selection process. There basically are two paths you can pursue. One approach entails leveraging replication technologies that are embedded or sold in conjunction with specific databases. Examples include Microsoft SQL Server Replication and Oracle Streams (or its precursor, Oracle Advanced Replication). The other approach is to use a purpose-built, best of breed data replication tool like HVR.

So which approach is best for you? If you are periodically replicating light volumes of data across a few identical databases, a native database replication tool might be fine. If, however, you need to synchronize large volumes of data across multiple heterogeneous systems with strong requirements for security, reliability, and high-availability, you need to focus your search on purpose-built, best-of-breed tools.

3. Due Diligence

Obviously, we’d like you to start and end your evaluation of best-of-breed solutions with HVR, but you need to do your due diligence. As you evaluate different tools, we suggest you include these considerations in your criteria. As you might expect, all these features are standard in the HVR product. They have been incorporated over the years because our customers have told us they’re important. Odds are they may be important to your project too.

  • Log-based change data capture (CDC) – Some replication tools rely on even-based processing and triggers. In addition to being difficult to set up and maintain, these are invasive and can impose significant overhead to source and target systems. Log-based CDC is widely recognized as a superior approach for the vast majority of use cases because it is non-intrusive, minimizes the load on sources and targets, and is much easier to set up and maintain.
  • Target DDL generation – Creating target database schemas can be a time consuming and error-prone process. Most replication tools leave this task to the designer to perform manually, or with yet another tool. A best of breed replication solution should automatically generate DDL to set up target database schemas based on the data sources, taking into consideration any required transformations.
  • Initial data load – A best-of-breed solution should also feature online data load to initially load target databases.
  • Compare and repair – To ensure that sources and targets always remain in synch, a best-of-breed solution should automate compare and provide repair capabilities.
  • GUI setup and management – Most replication tools require developers and administrators to work from a textual command line and learn a proprietary syntax. This can delay project delivery times and drive up staffing costs. A unified, GUI-driven setup and management console can dramatically accelerate implementation cycles and lower operating costs.
  • Cost – This not only refers to the initial license cost, but also ongoing costs associated with training and administration.

Now you have a starting point, but you’ll undoubtedly have additional criteria and lots of questions as you conduct your evaluation of a data replication solution. We’re here to help. Unlike every other vendor in the industry, high volume replication is all we do. We understand your challenges, and we know how to address them. As you navigate our website you’ll find informative videos and whitepapers to learn how the software works, how it’s used in organizations like yours, and how it can potentially be used to address your issues.

About Mark

Mark Van de Wiel is the CTO for HVR. He has a strong background in data replication as well as real-time Business Intelligence and analytics.

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