Google, in its continued quest to lure enterprise customers to switch to the cloud-based Google Apps suite, is upping its offering with a free feature called synchronous replication.
In its simplest form, it's the process of backing up data within Apps to multiple data centers so that, if there's a disruption, the amount of data lost or the amount of time without access to the data is minimized. In a blog post, Google explained that a disaster recovery solution is measured in two ways: by the Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which is how much data a company is willing to lose in the event of a disruption, and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is the amount of time a customer is willing to go without service.
In most cases, the more money you spend on backup, the lower the numbers. For most large enterprises, the RPO and RTO targets are usually an hour or less. Google has larger goals in mind - starting with making the service free (up to 25 gigabytes per employee) and reducing the numbers significantly. From the blog post:
For Google Apps customers, our RPO design target is zero, and our RTO design target is instant failover. We do this through live or synchronous replication: every action you take in Gmail is simultaneously replicated in two data centers at once, so that if one data center fails, we nearly instantly transfer your data over to the other one that's also been reflecting your actions. Our goal is not to lose any data when it's transferred from one data center to another, and to transfer your data so quickly that you don't even know a data center experiences an interruption. Of course, no backup solution from us or anyone else is absolutely perfect, but we've invested a lot of effort to help make it second to none.
In its post, the company said there are three reasons why it can offer this service for free:
- Google operates many large data centers simultaneously for millions of users.
- Because Google's data centers don't sit idly waiting for something to go wrong, the company can balance loads between data centers, as needed.
- Google's high-speed connections between data centers allows it to transfer data quickly from one set of servers to another, allowing the company to replicate large amounts of data simultaneously.
The feature is available now through Google Apps.
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