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How Does Data Replication Work?

Database replication is the process of copying or transferring data from a database on one server to a database on another server to improve data availability and accessibility. The process facilitates data sharing and data recovery.

Methods Of Data Replication

Database replication is performed in order to provide a duplication of the data environment in event of catastrophe. Additionally, recovery -- in the event of failure -- is fast, accurate and cost-effective.

Data replication also enables accurate sharing of information so that all users have access to consistent data in real time.

There are various methods of traditional data replication. Data requirements, resources and restrictions generally dictate best practice.

Traditional methodologies include transactional replication, snapshot replication, and merge replication.

All three have subtle differences. Transactional replication is well suited for regular backups of large data sets and is often used to replicate a SQL server.

Differences between the three methods center around the direction of data flow, the frequency of replications, and the amount of data that is copied each time.

Each style presents challenges for the modern database.

Challenges Of Database Replication

For traditional data warehouses, data replication presents challenges of time, money and bandwidth.

A data replication system needs to be managed by a team. In addition to the cost of those team members, hosting duplicate information presents an additional cost.

Finally, data replication creates network traffic and can slow down processing speeds.

Cloud-based solutions eliminate such challenges.

Database Replication Solutions

Snowflake has launched its public preview of a new feature: Database Replication. Customers using Snowflake Standard edition and above can rely on this feature for non-business continuity and disaster-recovery scenarios including: 

  • Secure data sharing across clouds and regions
  • Data portability to facilitate account migrations 

In related news, Snowflake Enterprise for Sensitive Data (ESD) edition will now be called Snowflake Business Critical (BC) edition.

Snowflake ESD includes a new feature called Database Failover and Failback, which provides business continuity. This feature is offered at your existing cost per credit, and you are charged only if it is used.

The Benefits Of a Multi-Cloud Strategy

For both technology and business reasons, the adoption of multiple public clouds is strongly advised. Cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) each offer services that target varied user concerns.

Challenges such as security, the ability to migrate applications, and the level of available analytics or application development services are tackled in a multi-cloud environment.

Additionally, a multi-cloud strategy helps companies avoid vendor lock-in while harnessing best-of-breed technology for their applications, services, and solutions.

Database Replication Makes Global Data a Reality

Snowflake Database Replication provides the following benefits: 

  • Data freshness and near-zero data loss: To meet requirements for data freshness (data sharing use case) or maximum acceptable data loss (Business Continuity Disaster Recovery use case), customers can determine the frequency at which Snowflake Database Replication runs. Replication supports incremental refreshes; only changes that occurred during the last refresh are replicated, guaranteeing that replication operations are completed quickly.
  • Instant recovery during an outage: The Database Failover and Failback feature provides instant failover and failback operations for immediate data recovery. If an outage occurs, customers can initiate a database failover to elevate secondary databases in the available region to serve as primary databases for write workloads. Once the outage is resolved, customers can perform a database failback (a failover in the reverse direction) to return to normal business operations.
  • Security: Data is encrypted in transit between regions and between cloud providers, and it is Tri-Secret Secure compatible.

The global public cloud services market is exploding. It is expected to exceed $331 billion by 2022, up from $182.4B in 2018. The widespread adoption of a multi-cloud strategy is trending. Organizations are increasingly diversifying their cloud strategy by working with several providers. 

With Snowflake Database Replication, companies can execute multi-cloud strategies without sacrificing access to data. To learn more about this feature, check out the solution brief here.