Today’s businesses generate more data than ever before. You need that data to be consistent and reliably accessible across disparate systems. But how?
Here are five key takeaways concerning data replication tools:
Several databases, applications, platforms, and other disparate tools are constantly generating data, making it a challenge to maintain consistency and reliable access.
Even a seemingly insignificant error can generate data handling/privacy compliance issues.
Two key technologies that help businesses maintain real-time correct and accessible data are change data capture (CDC) and log shipping.
When evaluating data replication tools, consider capabilities like CDC, batch replication, built-in data transformations, scheduling, monitoring tools, and automation features.
User reviews from Capterra, G2Crowd, and other software comparison sites can help you gauge the ease of use, customer support responsiveness, and overall satisfaction of other organizations that have used or currently use the respective platforms.
With multiple databases, applications, platforms, and other tools constantly generating data, it can be a challenge to maintain consistency and accessibility. Even the slightest error can mean unhappy customers, unreliable reports, failed analytics, and compliance issues. Effectively replicating this data enhances disaster recovery, system uptime, and data availability and analytics. But how?
Data consistency between all your business’s many tools requires automation and error-free replication to copy and seamlessly sync your data between the many tools you use. In this post, you’ll learn how to compare the different tools available from today’s top data replication tool providers.
Table of Contents:
- Streamlining Data Processes with Replication Tools
- What is Data Replication?
- Best Practices for Data Replication
- Common Oversights to Avoid in Data Replication
- How to Evaluate Data Replication Tools
- Review of Top 5 Data Replication Tools
- Partner With Integrate.io for Streamlined Data Replication
Streamlining Data Processes with Replication Tools
Minor inconsistencies in any of your data can lead to incorrect reporting, analytics failures, regulatory issues, and frustrated customers.
A data replication tool provides a solution to these challenges by automatically syncing the data generated by the various tools you use in the course of business, then copying that data between different systems and replicating it within a single source. As data volumes continue exponentially growing, so, too, does the popularity and adoption of data replication tools.
While there are many different use cases for replicating data, in this article, we will focus on replicating data to data warehouses and data lakes to create a single source of truth to power analytics and data products.
What is Data Replication?
Data warehouse data replication refers to the copying and transferring of disparate data from a company’s myriad data sources to a centralized source of truth. These data sources are siloed on their own but by bringing them together, it creates a single source of truth for Business Intelligence reporting and analytics.
There are a few core types of data replication:
Real-time replication: Syncs data as soon as any updates occur, with zero latency.
Near-real-time replication: Quickly syncs data but has a slight lag of a few seconds to a few minutes.
Batch replication: Carries out data syncs on a scheduled timeframe that you choose, typically ranging from hourly to daily.
There are two basic technologies that enable this replication:
Change data capture (CDC): CDC automatically captures data changes as they occur. Each time there’s a change to your data, CDC catches the update and replicates it to your data warehouse.
Log shipping: Batch or log shipping forwards the logs of your database transactions to the target systems. Common use cases include centralizing data in data warehouses, creating analytics sandboxes, powering reporting, and disaster recovery—in other words, data that doesn’t necessarily require real-time or near-real time transaction updates.
So, what are some of the best ways to ensure your data remains consistent?
Best Practices for Data Replication
Data replication best practices fall into three focus areas:
Planning and strategy
Implementation and configuration
Maintenance and optimization
Let’s review these best practices in a little more detail.
Planning and Strategy
Clearly defining your replication objectives upfront allows you to set measurable goals and requirements. Look at factors like recovery time objectives (RTO), recovery point objectives (RPO), and acceptable data lag when making decisions.
Then, take stock of your existing infrastructure and map out priority data sources, target data warehouses, and desired data flows at a granular level. This mapping exercise also allows you to pinpoint which replication method works best for each data flow based on variables like volume, transformation needs, network bandwidth, and more.
An Ecommerce store might choose CDC for inventory management, whereas batch shipping works fine for calculating Total Daily Sales.
Implementation and Configuration
With sources and targets defined, focus on designing resilient and high-performing data pipelines. Strategies like pooling common data flows, minimizing transformation complexity, and enabling compression and caching help optimize overall efficiency.
If required, cleansing, validation, and filtering logic are implemented during the implementation and configuration stage to guarantee data quality. A strong monitoring, logging, and alerting framework is mission-critical to maintain visibility and rapidly detect any replication failures or lags.
Maintenance and Optimization
As your organizational needs change over time, continuously re-evaluate if the data replication setup still aligns with evolving analytical and transactional data priorities. Conduct periodic disaster recovery tests and failover simulations to spot any high availability gaps.
Leverage such strategies as:
Staying on top of optimization efforts can help reduce your team’s data replication maintenance workload where possible.
Common Oversights to Avoid in Data Replication
All too often, teams underestimate the complexity involved in a data replication project. These common mistakes can be avoided with proper planning:
Lack of documentation: Without clearly documenting data replication processes and data governance policies (such as ownership, security, and privacy) early on, things can get messy down the line.
Neglecting to review and implement the appropriate compliance regulations: Regulatory compliance measures for data movement can’t be an afterthought. Depending on the data security and data privacy legislation governing your region or industry, fines for non-compliance can be hefty—not to mention the cost if you lose consumer trust due to a data breach.
Choosing the wrong data replication tool: The data replication tool or approach you choose for your specific datasets and workflows is crucial.
Discounting the need for proper data prep and transformation: With data replication tools like Integrate.io, you can also take advantage of it’s data transformation layer, which allows you to clean and normalize the data before or after replication.
If you don’t place the requisite importance on avoiding data replication mistakes, the results can be catastrophic—after all, garbage in means garbage out.
How to Evaluate Data Replication Tools
Choosing a data replication tool for your organization isn’t as easy as performing an internet search and choosing the first solution you find. The most important things to consider when evaluating data replication tools include:
Look for capabilities like change data capture, batch replication, built-in data transformations, scheduling, monitoring tools, and automation features. Take a look at your current needs and project your potential future requirements. For instance, do you foresee a time when you may need entire database replication? Using these guidelines, prioritize the must-have features vs. those features that are simply nice to have.
Supported data sources and target systems
A data replication solution is designed to make your business run more smoothly. The data replication tool you choose must be compatible with your existing data sources, such as databases, cloud sources, APIs, file stores, and applications. The replication solution should be able to transform and load your data into a target system with zero data loss or downtime during data integration and synchronization. If you predict you’ll have new data sources down the line, consider the onboarding complexity for those new sources as you review available tools.
Ease of use and management interface
One of the most important steps in your data replication tool evaluation: will it be easy for your team to implement and use? Look at the tool’s learning curve, ease of navigation, workflow configurations, and automation capabilities. Specifically, consider visual monitoring, detailed logging, and types of alerting features to help you save on management overhead.
Scalability and performance
Review benchmarks on the data volumes and sources you support now and what you may need in the future. Look for caching, compression, and scaling features to optimize your most complex data pipelines.
Pricing and licensing models
What is your company’s budget? Clearly review all the direct and indirect costs presented by each provider. Watch for hidden fees for customer support, data storage and transformation, and API calls. Self-managed open-source options might present potential savings.
User reviews and ratings
How do other past and present users of the solution feel about the service? Leverage user reviews from Capterra, G2, Software Advice, and other comparison sites to gauge ease of use, customer support responsiveness, and overall satisfaction.
Review of Top 5 Data Replication Tools
We’ve compiled a list of the top five data replication tools to help you start your research.
Image credit: Integrate.io
Real-time and batch data pipelines
60-second database replication
220+ low-code data transformations
Drag-and-drop workflow designer
Orchestration and scheduling functionality
Monitoring and error handling
Integrate.io is a data pipeline platform offering the fastest data replication (60-seconds) on the market. With its 60-second data replication, the platform’s database replication offering is a go-to choice for companies looking to power their data products and customer-facing dashboards/applications with real-time data.
Users highlight its intuitive workflow builder and prebuilt connectors that accelerate replication tasks. Integrate.io also provides extensive transformation features for cleaning, standardizing, and preparing data.
As a fully cloud-based platform, it requires no local installation while offering the ability to encrypt data and monitor all data pipelines. This simplifies compliance and auditing as well.
According to G2 user reviews, Integrate.io stands out for its excellent customer support and ease of use for non-technical users. As one reviewer stated, “Its built-in connectors and transformation functions save time and effort, while the customizable scheduling feature ensures timely data updates.”
Image credit: Writer screenshot
Rating: 4.2/5 (G2)
Automated schema and data mapping
Over 250 pre-built connector integrations
Centralized monitoring dashboard
Transformations for in-warehouse preparation
Embedded security protections
Fivetran delivers automated data integration through preconfigured connectors that replicate information into cloud data platforms. The provider’s core sell is eliminating engineering resources spent on in-house integration maintenance.
The solution centralizes data from applications, events logs, databases, and more into production-ready formats in destinations like Snowflake, Databricks, BigQuery and other warehouses. Users can then perform downstream transformation and modeling without backend ETL hassles. Fivetran handles continuous data sync, errors, and changes under the hood.
While pricier than self-serve alternatives, reviews confirm customers find strong ROI through reduced engineering costs and time to insight with data analytics. As one customer noted, “Regardless of where our data is coming from, Fivetran has made the extraction process seamless and reliable, providing us with clean and structured data that we can use for our analytics needs.”
3) Hevo Data
Rating: 4.4/5 (G2)
Scalable data aggregation pipelines
40+ pre-built data connector integrations
Real-time data streaming and processing
Transformations for analytics optimization
Detailed data monitoring and logging
Hevo integrates with cloud data warehouses like Snowflake to automate real-time data replication at scale. Its reliable data pipelines consolidate information from a wide range of sources. Companies highlight Hevo’s fast caching and aggregation engines that optimize analytics query performance.
The tool’s streaming integrations capture minute data changes to minimize replication lag across systems. Hevo Data also allows data cleansing, shaping, and enrichment to prepare raw information. Users praise Hevo Data for enabling a seamless analytics environment with detailed monitoring of data health.
One Hevo client stated, "Hevo has been a game-changer for our data integration needs. The platform's user-friendly interface [and other] functionalities have significantly streamlined our data processing, enabling us to handle complex tasks with ease.” The tool offers flexible pricing tiers tailored for different company sizes.
4) Oracle GoldenGate
Image credit: Writer screenshot
Rating: 3.9/5 (G2)
Bidirectional data replication
Many-to-one and one-to-many topologies
Diverse database and technology support
Transactional consistency and integrity
High volume and low latency
In the enterprise space, Oracle GoldenGate continues to dominate real-time data replication and integration needs for mission-critical systems. Companies rely on GoldenGate’s transactional consistency, guaranteed data delivery, and 99.9% uptime at petabyte scale across on-premise and multi-cloud environments.
As a middleware solution, it offers flexible deployment patterns to enable continuous availability and effective disaster recovery. Users highlight bidirectional capabilities to consolidate data across multiple systems and Oracle's deep expertise around large-scale replication.
Comparatively higher learning curves and customization requirements make GoldenGate overkill for less complex use cases. Yet for enterprise customers, performance and reliability are paramount. Many enterprise users cite ease of installation and extensive features as great aspects of GoldenGate.
Image credit: G2
Rating: 4.2/5 (G2)
Real-time data replication
Broad range of supported platforms
Data transformation injection
Parallel processing for scalability
Web console for management
HVR by Fivetran provides another enterprise-ready real-time data replication tool for everything from cloud data warehousing to legacy system consolidation projects. It replicates data continuously between major databases and big data platforms through standardized, assorted, and parallel processing schemas.
Enterprise companies rely on HVR for large-scale replication that outperforms competitors on throughput and latency benchmarks. Users highlight built-in transformations, detailed monitoring dashboards, and strong customer support. HVR tailors licenses to bandwidth requirements and offer custom pricing.
Users also cite HVR’s ability to replicate data in the cloud with little to no latency as a big selling point.
Choosing the Right Data Replication Tool
With the wide range of replication tools on the market, it’s important to thoroughly research your options with due diligence before making a commitment:
Document your current infrastructure, data sources, and replication use cases.
Profile your data types, volumes, security needs, and acceptable lag tolerances.
Map required functionality around change data capture, transformation abilities, platform coverage, and automation levels.
Weigh factors like internal analytics and engineering bandwidth versus cost tradeoffs.
Rank solution providers on these criteria before running proof of concepts.
When evaluating tools, take advantage of free trials and consultations to validate functionality, ease of use, and customer support. You can then measure replication lag time and infrastructure overhead through hands-on use. And remember to pressure-test failover and redundancy safeguards via simulation.
Today’s business pace requires reliable, integrated access to distributed data making replication strategies pivotal. As analytics volumes and complexity continue growing, purpose-built replication tools can help minimize disruption while optimizing downstream business intelligence (BI) and reporting. Stay proactive around emerging technologies in the space, like blockchain-inspired distributed ledgers and predictive data integration.
Partner With Integrate.io for Streamlined Data Replication
Integrate.io strikes the best balance between ease of use, flexibility, and intelligent automation along with the fastest data replication on the market. Its intuitive interface accelerates building resilient, bi-directional data sync without coding. Backend complexities with recovery, monitoring, and transformations are tackled seamlessly as well.
See for yourself by signing up for a free 14-day trial. Or schedule an intro call for a custom demo to discuss how automated data replication with Integrate.io empowers more impactful business insights.
Can data replication tools replace traditional data integration solutions?
For certain use cases, yes—modern data replication tools now offer key integration capabilities like data warehousing, logging, transformations, and API flows. Yet legacy, on-premise environments may still require custom-coded integration services tied to existing systems. Assess if replicating data fits or if real-time synchronization powered by a data replication solution remains preferable.
How does data replication differ from data archiving or backup?
Replication propagates incremental data changes to maintain consistency across systems, whereas backups create isolated copies primarily for disaster recovery. Archiving moves static, old data out of production databases due to compliance or cost. Replication syncs ongoing changes rather than just storing historical data.
What are the security considerations when using data replication tools?
Multi-system data flows introduce the need for data protection from potential vulnerabilities like exposure of sensitive information or SQL injection-based attacks. Ensure replication tools leverage encryption-in-transit and at-rest, VPN tunneling, firewalls, and robust access controls, and cybersecurity to enable secure transmission.
How can I measure the success of my data replication implementation?
Key metrics include:
Monitoring data synchronization and transactional replication lag time windows
Data discrepancies and drift rates between sources and copies of data
Sync failure rates and inadvertent deletions
Data recovery time/point objectives for business continuity
Schema drift detection and automated alerting on inconsistencies is crucial. Measure downstream KPIs as well around reporting reliability, operational productivity, and customer experience.
What are some alternatives to data replication software for specific use cases?
For online transactional processing, synchronized data replication tools may better suit sub-second concurrency needs. Batch ETL could offer more transformation flexibility for analytics use cases. Homegrown scripts effectively tie niche platforms together if commercial replication tools don’t integrate well with legacy systems and platforms. Weigh your alternatives closely based on performance requirements, use case complexity, and cost.