Otava starts its business continuity series of videos on data backup and replication by explaining the difference between data backup and data replication.
Steven: The difference between replication what happens at a storage RAID level like a SAN, and a traditional backup product is with a backup product you generally have some sort of agent on the system or it can be done through the hypervisor. It’s generally looking at the contents of the server specifically so there may be some special plug-ins for SQL or Exchange or something of that nature; whereas, replication generally looks at your storage as a whole.
In the case of VMware or if you’re a cloud provider, maybe your storage is more than one server and it has lots of servers on a storage array. Replication generally takes the contents of the entire storage array and moves all of that data over to a secondary location which is generally file and system independent. There are appropriate uses for backup technologies and there are appropriate uses for replication technologies. It really just depends on what you are trying to achieve.