Data Replication: The Future of Data Handling is Here

By Beate Thomsen, Co-founder & Product Design - January 24, 2024

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Companies operating in a distributed environment must ensure they have accurate and good-quality data. 

Data is often generated across various geographical locations in a distributed environment but must remain accessible universally and consistently. Consider scenarios involving a company with a vast network, such as hundreds of local retail stores, production facilities in different countries, or a widespread team of sales representatives and maintenance technicians. 

Each entity generates data independently, whether a brick-and-mortar establishment or an individual working remotely. This data might originate from point-of-sale systems in retail shops, operational machines in production sites, or the laptops of sales or maintenance personnel operating across extensive territories. 

The critical challenge in such setups is ensuring that this diverse and dispersed data is synchronized, securely accessible, and consistently up-to-date for all stakeholders, regardless of location.

To make distributed environments work, all locally captured data must be automatically transferred between the systems. It prevents double data entry. And it allows management throughout the organization to make decisions based on accurate and up-to-date data. 

Linking the different systems is an absolute must-do. The solution? Data replication.

WHAT IS DATA REPLICATION?

Data replication is a process in which data is copied from one location to another to ensure consistency and support data backup, data distribution, and synchronization among multiple locations, systems, or applications. 

Often, you talk about data replication when copying data to from the same systems, such as MS Dynamics NAV, AX, Dynamics 365 Business Central or Dynamics 365 Finance. This technique is vital in distributed computing environments, where data reliability, availability, and performance are crucial.

Imagine a company with ten different locations, for example, a hotel chain. The company’s headquarters needs to be updated at all times with each of the locations’ data. 

This gives everyone in your organization faster access to the same accurate data.

The exponential increase of collected data, data centers, data lakes, big data, and the need for real-time data has made the need for data replication even stronger. 

The good news is that a wealth of data replication tools are available.

WHAT TYPE OF DATA REPLICATION DO YOU NEED?

There are different types of replication schemes. You can perform full data replication or partial data replication.

Full data replication refers to a complete database duplication, while partial replication refers to the duplication of only specific fragments of your data.

The greatest advantage of full data replication is having an entirely identical copy of your data in all your locations. 

Whether you choose a full or a partial data replication scheme, your next step must be selecting the right data replication software solution for you. However, choosing between data replication technologies is no easy task. 

What would you choose? 

  • An array-based replication, using a software solution, automatically replicating data between systems
  • A hypervisor-based replication, copying entire virtual machines from one server to another
  • A network-based replication, used for heterogeneous data systems as it supports any platform.
  • A host-based replication, using application servers to copy data from one site to another.

Data replication methods are also different: 

  • Synchronous—when data is written in one system, it is immediately copied to the other system(s)
  • Asynchronous—when a screenshot of the data is copied at a point in time and transferred to the other system(s)
  • Near synchronous—data is always being replicated, but only the data that has been modified is transferred to the other system(s)

Often, companies choose their usual IT vendor to provide them with a data replication solution. While it might be the easiest way to do this initially, this is not always the right solution if they want a future-proof solution.

DATA REPLICATION AND DISASTER RECOVERY

Data replication can be a saviour for your company when the worst happens. It can even become a cornerstone of your business’ data recovery strategy. 

Because data replication takes a screenshot of a company’s data and moves it to another server, it allows them to protect and retrieve the data should they encounter server performance failure or a hacking disaster. 

In fact, having a copy of your data at various geographical locations worldwide is one of the safest ways to ensure that your business will go on despite a data loss disaster.

data-replication-advantages

DATA REPLICATION ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Data replication can come with multiple benefits. It can:

  1. Increase the reliability of your systems: You have accurate data at all your geographical locations. You can ensure that your employees have access to reliable data and can trust your systems for business-critical decisions.
  2. Lighten up the load from your network: Because you have local copies of your data, you can produce reports and updates without taking down your network.
  3. Increase system speed: Thanks to the available data copies, data queries can be done quickly.
  4. Make queries easier: With data replication, you can easily make queries on data available across various systems in your network. It makes it easy to fetch data. 
  5. Streamline processes: Your company workflows are improved, and your employees’ productivity is enhanced as you can rely on data and eliminate ineffective processes.  

While data replication has many benefits, it also has a few challenges. Having multiple data copies can tremendously increase your storage requirements. 

If you are not very careful, maintaining many copies of your data can become a complex task requiring advanced data replication techniques.

These disadvantages can be avoided with the right data replication solution.

Rapidi Replicator - Replication of multiple databases

 

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM DATA REPLICATION?

Retailers, hotel chains, NGOs, or any international companies with multiple sites are some examples of organisations that could benefit from data replication between a central ERP system/database and several decentralised systems. 

RAPIDI provides Cloud data integration and data replication solutions. The Rapidi Replicator helps companies replicate their data across databases or instances of solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics ERP. 

Here are some examples of companies that have benefited from the Rapidi Replicator technology.

IMAN COSMETICS

IMAN Cosmetics produces make-up designed for multicultural women with all kinds of skin tones. IMAN Cosmetics needed a solution that would link their central Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution and their local warehouse solution, which is also based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV. 

Before implementing the Rapidi Replicator, IMAN Cosmetics had their data in both their local and our warehouse Microsoft Dynamics NAV. However, the systems were disconnected, so their employees didn’t have real-time access to the necessary data. 

In a vision of having an integrated warehouse solution, they needed a stable and secure link between those two Microsoft Dynamics NAV systems.

“It was very impressive to see the data transfer `just like that´. By using Rapidi, we can instantly access the information we need.”

Kimberly Johnson, Finance Manager at IMAN Cosmetics

 
 
 
 

IMAN Cosmetics benefited by:

  1. Improving their work routines: IMAN Cosmetics reduced manual work processes and cut the time spent on entering data in two systems.
  2. Improving data accuracy: By removing double data entries, they ensured higher data quality.
  3. Improving data access: All resources throughout the company had access to valuable data – in real time.
  4. Increasing control and flexibility: they no longer need a 3rd party to manage their data and build reports.

Read the full story

REMA 1000

REMA 1000 is a multinational discount supermarket chain headquartered in Norway with a strong presence in Scandinavia. They needed to allow smooth data exchange between over 363 stores and their headquarters. 

They found the best solution in the Rapidi Replicator. REMA 1000 needed to link around 363 stores with their general financial system (Microsoft Dynamics NAV). This meant a whole lot of data – about 1 million records – going back and forth every day between each store and the central headquarters. 

Information about products, prices, special offers, campaigns, and employees had to be up-to-date in each store and at headquarters level. They needed all that information to be managed and transferred efficiently and securely.

“As there are 363 stores, you can imagine there is a lot of data – about 1 million records - going back and forth daily between each store and the central headquarters. Information about, e.g. products, prices, special offers, campaigns, employees etc. has to be up-to-date in each store and the headquarters. We needed all that information to be managed and transferred efficiently and securely.”

Lars Ruben Hansen, IT Executive at Rema 1000

 
 
 
 
REMA 1000 benefited by:

1. Saving time and money because they could eliminate double data entries and gain access to constantly updated data.

2. Concentrating on their core business because all additional workload, worries, and uncertainties about their data were removed.

3. Gaining a better overview of their business thanks to complete data control.

“The implementation of the Replicator resulted in more efficient work routines and a better overview of our business. Furthermore, it liberated valuable resources as we could avoid duplicate data entry. All this saves us both time and money. We could just continue concentrating on our core business.”

Lars Ruben Hansen, IT Executive at Rema 1000

 
 
 
 

Read the full story

These are just two examples, but they could apply to any company in a distributed environment, regardless of the systems they use and want to link. The challenges are the same, and the solutions are identical. 

The Rapidi Replicator, for example, is used by many companies running their business with Microsoft Dynamics ERP, but it can be used to link and replicate data between any two identical systems.

Key Takeaways

The effective implementation of a replication strategy, encompassing both asynchronous and real-time data replication, is vital for businesses handling a variety of database sources, including single and multiple databases. 

This ongoing process ensures minimal latency and robust data integrity across database objects. By leveraging various types of databases, from source databases to peer replication, businesses can manage data across hundreds of sources, ensuring that the entire database is accurately replicated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the types of database replication, and how do they differ?

Database replication comes in various forms, each suited for different needs. Common types include synchronous, asynchronous, and snapshot replication. The choice depends on factors like real-time consistency requirements and application performance.

How does database replication support analytics capabilities?

Replication enhances analytics by providing real-time or near-real-time data from a variety of sources. This enables more accurate and timely insights for predicting future outcomes and decision-making.

Can database replication be used for disaster protection?

Yes, it's an essential component of disaster recovery strategies. By replicating data to a backup database server or cloud servers, businesses ensure data availability even if the primary server fails.

What role does database replication play in solution development, particularly in collaborative workspaces?

Replication facilitates collaborative solution development by ensuring that team members in different locations, such as branch offices, have consistent and up-to-date access to the complete database, enabling faster execution and decision-making.

What should be considered in the backup process for replicated databases?

Important considerations include the frequency of backups, the handling of hard-deleted data, and the efficient use of storage space. It's also vital to ensure the backup process doesn't interfere with the performance of the live system.

Are there benefits of database replication for mobile devices?

Absolutely. Replication can improve access times and application performance for users on mobile devices, ensuring they have the most current data for both operational and analytics purposes.

How do third-party tools enhance database replication?

Third-party tools can offer advanced features, ease of use, and support for various replication types and database systems, which might not be readily available in built-in replication solutions.

What is the importance of storage space management in database replication?

Efficient storage space management is crucial to prevent excessive costs and maintain system performance, especially when dealing with large volumes of data replicated from hundreds of sources.

 


About the author

Beate Thomsen, Co-founder & Product Design

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As co-founder of the Rapidi Data Integration platform, Beate has spent over 15 years on its development, building it around her motto: 'keep it simple, functional yet beautiful.'
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