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What Is Oracle Database Replication?

In an ultra-interconnected world, data is the lifeblood of businesses and networks. As companies strive to ensure their data’s availability, integrity, and reliability, replication has emerged as a critical solution. Replication is especially beneficial for companies or networks requiring high availability and disaster recovery or needing to distribute data across multiple locations. In the realm of Oracle databases, replication plays a vital role in achieving these objectives. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of Oracle database replication, its different types and methods, how it works, and the tools available for implementing replication.

Understanding Oracle Database Replication

Oracle database replication is the process of creating and maintaining multiple copies of a database and keeping them synchronized in near real time. It involves copying and distributing data from one Oracle database, known as the source database, to one or more target databases. The main purpose of replication is to ensure data consistency and availability across different locations or systems. In fact, the difference between database replication and database cloning is that the latter involves creating an isolated copy of a database for testing, development, or analysis without affecting the production database.

Different Types and Methods of Oracle Replication

Oracle offers several methods for replication, each suited to specific requirements. The most commonly used types of replication in Oracle are snapshot replication, multi-master replication, and Oracle GoldenGate replication.

Snapshot Replication

This method involves periodically capturing a snapshot of the source database and copying it to the target database. It’s suitable for scenarios where data changes are infrequent or when data consistency is not critical.

Multi-master Replication

Multi-master replication allows multiple databases to act as both sources and targets. It enables bidirectional data replication, where changes made in any participating database are propagated to others. This method is useful for applications that require distributed updates and concurrent data modifications.

Oracle GoldenGate Replication

GoldenGate is a powerful and flexible replication solution that enables real-time, transactional data replication across heterogeneous systems and databases. GoldenGate supports various topologies, including one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-one, providing flexibility to meet complex replication requirements.

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How Oracle Replication Works

Oracle replication operates based on a publisher-subscriber model. The source database acts as the publisher, generating changes or transactions that need to be replicated. The target databases, acting as subscribers, receive and apply these changes to keep their data in sync with the source.

Components in Oracle Replication

Oracle replication involves several key components that work together to facilitate the replication process:

Replication objects: These are the database objects selected for replication, including tables, views, and materialized views. The replication objects determine which data will be replicated from the source database to the target databases.

Replication groups: Replication groups are logical entities that contain related replication objects. They define the scope of replication and help organize and manage the replication process.

Replication agents: Replication agents are responsible for moving data changes from the source database to the target databases. There are different types of replication agents depending on the replication method being used, such as snapshot agents, propagation agents, and apply agents.

Replication topologies: Replication topologies define the relationships and flow of data between the source and target databases. Different replication methods support various topologies, allowing flexibility in designing the replication architecture.

How to Set Up Oracle Database Replication

Setting up Oracle database replication involves several steps:

1. Plan and design

Define the goals and requirements for replication, including the replication method, topology, and the data to be replicated. You should also determine the frequency of replication (i.e., real-time or periodic).

2. Configure the source database

Enable the necessary supplemental logging and ensure that the database is properly configured for replication.

3. Configure the target databases

Prepare the target databases by creating necessary users, tablespaces, and replication groups. Configure the appropriate replication objects and define the necessary replication rules.

4. Set up replication agents

Install and configure the replication agents required for the chosen replication method. Configure the agents to establish communication between the source and target databases.

5. Test and validate

Perform thorough testing to ensure that the replication setup is working as expected. Validate the data consistency and verify that changes made in the source database are correctly replicated to the target databases.

Requirements for Replication

There are two basic requirements for Oracle database replication:

  • Network connectivity: Reliable network connectivity is essential between the source and target databases. Adequate bandwidth should be available to accommodate the replication traffic.
  • Sufficient storage: Sufficient data storage space must be available on the source and target databases to accommodate the replicated data.

Methods for Implementing Oracle Replication

Oracle provides various methods for implementing replication, depending on the specific requirements and features needed, including:

Oracle Data Guard: Data Guard provides high availability and disaster recovery solutions by maintaining synchronized copies of the database. It’s primarily used for failover and failback scenarios.

Oracle Streams: Streams is a feature of Oracle Database that enables data replication and propagation. It allows the capture, routing, and delivery of database changes to one or more destinations in real time.

Oracle GoldenGate: As previously mentioned, GoldenGate is a comprehensive data integration and replication solution that supports real-time data movement and transformation across heterogeneous systems and databases.

Difference Between Streams and GoldenGate Replication

While both Oracle Streams and GoldenGate provide data replication capabilities, there are some notable differences between the two:

Complexity

GoldenGate offers more advanced and complex features than Streams. It provides greater flexibility in data transformation, supports conflict detection and resolution, and provides replication across a wider range of databases.

Heterogeneous Replication

GoldenGate is specifically designed to support replication across heterogeneous systems and databases, making it a preferred choice for organizations with diverse technology environments. Streams, on the other hand, primarily focuses on replication within Oracle databases.

Real-time Data Capture

GoldenGate excels in real-time data capture and propagation, providing sub-second latency for data replication. Streams also supports real-time replication but may introduce slightly more latency.

Use Cases and Examples of Oracle Database Replication

There are various use cases for Oracle database replication, including:

Disaster Recovery and High Availability

Replication ensures that a copy of the database is readily available at a remote location, enabling quick failover and minimizing downtime in the event of a disaster.

Business Intelligence

Replicating data to separate reporting databases allows for offloading of reporting and analytical workloads, ensuring that the production database performance is not impacted.

Testing and Development

Replication can be used to create a replica of the production database for testing purposes, ensuring that changes and updates can be validated without affecting the production environment.

Conclusion

Oracle database replication is a crucial technology for companies and networks that require high availability, disaster recovery, and efficient data distribution. By creating and maintaining synchronized copies of the database, Oracle database replication ensures data consistency and accessibility across multiple locations. With different replication methods, such as snapshot replication, multi-master replication, and Oracle GoldenGate, organizations can choose the most suitable approach based on their specific requirements. By implementing Oracle replication, businesses can achieve improved data reliability, disaster recovery capabilities, and support for critical operations such as business intelligence and testing. 

Looking to simplify Oracle database replication in your data center? Pure Storage offers a suite of solutions designed to accelerate your Oracle deployments both on premises and in the cloud.

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