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What is Veeam Backup? What is Veeam Replication? Which is the right solution for you?
We’ve put together a simple guide that will empower you to make an educated decision on a backup and/or replication solution for your business. We will define the options, discuss their recovery efficiencies, present their costs, and outline their benefits.


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What Are VM Backup and Replication?

Backup refers to copying files or data blocks to some external media or to a secondary site for preservation in case of a malfunction
or a disaster at the server site. Backing up your data is an essential part of a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan. Backup uses compression and deduplication (removing duplicated entries of data).

Virtual machine replication is the creation of an exact copy of the Virtual Machine in the native format on a spare host. It synchronizes this copy with the original VM. Unlike backups, replicas are stored in the original VM size. After the first replication, further replications will simply synchronize the changes that were made since the last replication.

Which VM is Faster to Recover?

The effectiveness of a Disaster Recovery Plan is measured by a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO is the threshold for how quickly you need to have an application’s information restored. RPO is how recent the information must be restored to avoid harmful data loss for the company after a disaster.

Visual Explanation of RTO and RPO

 Backed up data will only be as recent as the last time it was created, so when you rely on backups for your DR strategy, the RPO will be higher compared with replication. You should consider that data restoration takes some time due to data decompression. Depending on the data size, restoration of a backup will generally take much longer to be up and running than replication.

In some businesses, one day of dysfunctional systems may be tolerable. However, in majority of cases, downtime results in hig
h revenue losses. Replication provides an alternative solution to companies with low tolerance for time and data loss.

Replication provides applications with near to zero RPOs. When configured with redundant server infrastructure, replication can also provide near to instantaneous RTO. This is all because the data is in its original size and ready to be used on hardware that is identical to the original. On average, you can expect data to be recovered within minutes.

A pro tip: Deal with VCSPs who can provide you with a free backup restoration to their infrastructure. This will save you time and money when a disaster occurs.

How Do Prices Compare for VM Replication and Backup?

Since prices for backup and replication vary depending on the amount of data, we’ll base our comparison on infrastructure requirements. Both replication and backup require the use of their respective software.

Replication requires investment in another identical, infrastructure to keep the VM copy in sync with the original VM. This doubles your IT costs.

On the other hand, the only additional tool required for backup other than software is a storage device and a location for the storage media i.e., VCSP onsite server.

What Are the Benefits of Each Option?

Backup focuses on compliance and granular recovery, such as recovering a single VM created several years earlier. Backup is useful if you are looking for data retention, data corruption prevention, and other concerns that can be avoided with the creation of multiple copies of your data. Backup should also be considered as a standalone option if your company can afford some downtime and restoration to the last backup. Restoring a backup will not necessarily revert your server to the most recent version of your data. Instead, it will revert to a status dating from several hours or days ago, depending on your backup schedule.

Replication focuses on providing a company with the most up-to-date version of data for the shortest RTO possible. Replication is also a good fit for mission-critical applications that require synchronization of the latest changes. Depending on the purpose of the replication, you may want to use one of the following:

    Types of replication:
  • Synchronous – replicating simultaneously as the original data is being changed while requiring a confirmation between the original source and the target data
  • Asynchronous – replication that does not write to both target and source simultaneously but rather uses snapshots to take a point-in-time copy of the data that has changed and sends it to the recovery site following a specific schedule
  • Near-synchronous – replication of only the changed data as it is being changed and not requiring confirmations mentioned in symmetric replication

Replication is most common in mission-critical applications due to good RTO and RPO and its high cost.

Can Replication Replace Backup?

    The answer is no for the following reasons:
  1. Replication, as mentioned earlier, is much more expensive than backup.
  2. Some companies are legally required to retain their backups for several years.

A proper Disaster Recovery plan uses both replication and backup. If your data is compromised, this combination of safety measures will provide you with access to your backed-up data and to the most recent data that was not yet backed up. Financially speaking, neither backup nor replication alone could replace the benefits or price they provide when used together. Replication and backup are meant to complement each other.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb

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