Remote Replication

What Does Remote Replication Mean?

Remote replication is the process of backing up or copying data to storage servers at a remote location or secondary site as part of a disaster recovery plan or data protection solution. Remote replication is used by data-driven organizations to back up important data into remote or secondary locations in case of problems with the primary production data such as disasters, malfunctions or attacks on the system that may result in data loss.


Techopedia Explains Remote Replication

Remote replication is an essential part of data protection, providing a backup in case the primary site fails. Data is simply copied to other locations that may be simple data storage servers or fully capable secondary backup systems that kick in if the primary system fails.

Traditionally, it is just application data that is backed up, but now it is possible to replicate entire virtual machines that act as application or Web servers. These virtual machines are software implementations of actual servers and contain all the data, applications and configurations that are used in hardware servers, but they exist digitally, which means they can be replicated, transferred and run on any capable hardware and can be booted up in seconds to replace primary virtual machines that fail. What this means is that a hacker can bring down a virtual Web server in the primary location and, seconds later, backup virtual machines boot up from the remote location to shoulder the load, and users may not even experience any downtime or feel that they have been transferred to a different server running from a different location.

There are two types of remote replication:

  • Synchronous remote replication — Data is replicated to a secondary remote location just as the primary data is being created or changed. This is real-time replication, or as close to it as possible, which ensures that data backups are, at most, only a few minutes older than the source material.
  • Asynchronous remote replication — This is replication done not in real time as data changes, but in predetermined regular intervals such as weekly, daily or even hourly.

Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.