Backup vs. Replication: What’s the Difference?

MAY 4TH, 2020
It’s common in the IT world to hear people use the terms backup and replication interchangeably. And it’s easy to see why. Backing up a file, folder, application—or even an entire system—involves some replication. But it's important to understand that there are distinct differences between the two—important distinctions that impact how you can integrate them into your disaster recovery strategy.

What Is Data Backup?

Put simply, a backup is a copy of computer data taken and stored elsewhere so it can be restored if a data loss occurs. Essentially a backup is a copy of your files, folders, and, hopefully, your applications and unstructured data. While we're all quite familiar with the term, backup solutions span a wide range of technologies. Now ancient technologies like tapes, floppy disks, CDs, and USB sticks were once the standard. Today, you're most likely to store your backups on a server, in a cloud, or a hybrid of the two. Which you choose depends on your unique requirements, which we'll talk about further on. Your critical takeaway here is that you need to have a backup plan that works for your organization, especially in today's work from home era.

What Is Data Replication?

Data replication is defined pretty simply, too: It's the process of storing data in more than one site or node that, most likely, once again is a server, cloud, or hybrid storage solution. Replicating your backups to at least one remote server or cloud is the insurance that protects you should you lose your data due to a successful ransomware or malware attack, or other data disaster. Hybrid solutions take your protection to an even higher level by replicating your backups to both a remote server and the cloud.

Which Is the Best Option for My Disaster Recovery Strategy?

For smaller, less complex environments StorageCraft OneXafe® Solo is worth considering. It's a plug-and-play appliance that automates your backups and replicates them based on service level agreement (SLA) policies that you set. For larger organizations, the StorageCraft OneXafe converged data platform may make the most sense with its scale-out storage and enterprise-class data protection features. And for the highest level of protection, use StorageCraft Cloud Services for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Whatever solution you choose, remember that backup and replication go hand in hand. Make sure you have both securely stored so you're ready should a data disaster ever strike.

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