These days, some businesses and non-profit organizations perform periodic backup at remote offices and often rely on non-IT staff to manage the process. Many don’t even protect data stored in remote offices due to the challenges involved. And when they do run backup, there’s the issue of getting a copy of those backups to the data center or other disaster recovery (DR) site. For that, most use costly, time-consuming and risky physical media transport.

Some organizations already leverage a better strategy and technology to protect remote offices. Instead of running backup at each remote office, they use a replication solution to aggregate all remote office data at a central location and then perform backup by knowledgeable and trusted IT staff. In this manner, data is replicated in real time so they get continuous data protection instead of periodic protection that backup provides, and since backup is performed off a Replica server and storage, they eliminate performance impact to their production servers.

So how does it work? Host-based replication software first synchronizes data over the wide area network (WAN) between your remote offices and the replica environment. This can be performed right over the WAN or through an “offline synchronization” process that uses a snapshot to removable media. After the initial synchronization, only the changes made to the files, data or databases are replicated, making this a viable solution. Replication software can be used to protect Windows, Linux and UNIX environments and can protect both physical and virtual servers—all with a single solution. You get centralized deployment, management and reporting so protecting geographically distributed remote offices is automated, quick and easy. And you can perform many-to-one replication and use virtual servers and inexpensive shared storage at the replica site to help reduce overall IT costs.

Some replication software solutions also include multi-streaming and scheduling functionality, as well as compression and bandwidth throttling, to help address high-latency networks. Host-based replication software enables the protection of data wherever it is stored—including direct attached storage (DAS), network attached storage (NAS) and storage area networks (SAN). Keep in mind that SAN solutions only protect data stored on the SAN device and typically require a second SAN device for the replica system which can add significant complexity and cost. In any event, there is no distance limitation with most host-based replication software, which means your central storage and backup site can be located across town, across the state or across the country.

Give it a try

Today, you have options. You can continue to perform backups in each remote office to have the data stored onsite for fast recovery purposes, or you can use replication technology to gain continuous data protection and centralized storage and backup. With the replication option, you can eliminate separate disk and tape drives and media in each office and only maintain them in the central location, helping reduce IT costs. But if you prefer to perform disk to disk backups in each office, you can still use a replication solution to copy those backups to a central site or even the cloud, for disaster recovery.