A CEO has to know more than a company’s bottom line; there are important technical concepts to understand, especially when it comes to backup solutions. Many company leaders have found it helpful to gain insight into database replication, a little-known aspect of database management.


How does database replication work?

Computer scientists encourage making a copy or backup of servers. It is a good practice, but can be complicated when dealing with data, since data can every second. So how is it possible to restore a current version of data from a backup if the data has changed since the last time files were backed up? The short answer: It’s impossible to do so with a traditional backup system. But there are two solutions – standby and archive logs, which are used on Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and NoSQL.

The standby solution involves having at least two database servers – a primary and a secondary. On every database request, data are synced on the first server and replicated within few seconds on the second one, thus ensuring a complete and current copy of files.The archive logs technique is nearly the same but without synchronization. It allows the secondary server to backup the primary database within a few minutes with a kind of requests logs. For example, every five minutes there might be an incremental backup of only new data. The backup is automatically sent to the secondary server and restored every five minutes.


How complicated is it?

To a proficient database administrator, database replication is a basic technique. For others, it could take long nights to build a reliable replication system. I recommend using a pre-configured system, like Amazon RDS. Within a few clicks, you can use the system to configure two database servers for automatic replication.


Why is it so important ?

When deciding on the type of server backup system your website will need, consider:

  • How many times will my website be unavailable?
  • How much data could I lose if the server crashes?

Here’s a simple guideline to help you make your decision:

  • Forum or blog: Daily backup might be sufficient.
  • Reservation website: You do not want to lose more than one hour of reservation data.
  • Payment/marketplace website: You need a system that will prevent any loss of data.


Use your answers to determine whether to strengthen your IT architecture with database replication.


How much does database replication cost?

The cost of database replication is affected by infrastructure and administration. Regarding the infrastructure, the cost simply is the price of another server like the primary one. The administration side can be more complicated and costly, since the workload will increase for the database administrator.


What about you?

Do you use a replication system for you database?

Do you think it’s important for your business?

Feel free to ask any question about the subject, and I promise I’ll answer.