Google Adds Synchronous Replication to Protect Apps Data

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-03-04 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Files stored in Google Docs or in Gmail files are broken up into digital pieces (some people call them "chunks") and stored on random servers in Google data centers around the world. When the time comes to gather the file back up for download or online viewing, the pieces are quickly reassembled for the user's session.

Google on March 4 said it has added a storage disaster recovery feature that's growing in demand-synchronous data replication-to its Google Apps lineup, which includes Google Docs, Gmail, Google Sites, Calendar and several other apps.

The search and Web services giant told eWEEK that it, in fact, has been using replication for Gmail for a few years, but that it has now extended the feature to all of its online tools and services.

Digital file replication is a method in which data files are copied and filed in one or more locations apart from the central data center as a backup and disaster recovery mechanism.

Data replication is the process of copying a portion of a database from one environment to another and keeping the subsequent copies of the data in sync with the original source. Changes made to the original source are propagated to the copies of the data in other environments.

"We've been quietly working on this for a while," Google spokesman Andrew Kovacs told eWEEK. "It's nothing that a user will ever see online. It all works in the background and doesn't affect anything the user does."

Files stored in Google Docs or in Gmail files are broken up into digital pieces (some people call them "chunks") and stored on random servers in Google data centers around the world. When the time comes to gather the file back up for download or online viewing, the pieces are quickly reassembled for the user's session.

"Here are a few of the reasons why we're able to offer you this level of service," Rajen Sheth, senior product manager of Google Apps, wrote in a blog post. "First, we operate many large data centers simultaneously for millions of users, which helps reduce cost while increasing resiliency and redundancy.

"Second, we're not wasting money and resources by having a data center stand by unused until something goes wrong; we can balance loads between data centers as needed. Finally, we have very high speed connections between data centers, so that we can transfer data very quickly from one set of servers to another.  This let us replicate large amounts of data simultaneously."

Replacing SAN Functionality

Sheth said that Google Apps and its backup and disaster recovery systems-which now include the replication feature-can replace a lot of the functionality that a conventional data center SAN (storage area network) brings to an enterprise, and for a lot less up-front cost.

"SANs are expensive, and even then, you're out of luck if your data center goes down," Sheth said. "So the largest enterprises will build an entirely new data center somewhere else, with another set of identical mail servers, another SAN and more people to staff them. But if, heaven forbid, disaster strikes both your data centers, you're toast.

"Google Apps customers don't need to worry about any of this for the data they create and store within Google Apps. They get best-in-class disaster recovery for free, no matter their size."



 
 
 
 
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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