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Disk Mirroring

Disk mirroring, sometimes referred to as RAID 1, produces a bit-for-bit copy of data from a primary disk drive to a secondary disk drive. If either disk drive fails, the other disk drive provides continued access to all data. RAID 1 is typically performed within a single localized disk subsystem.

Disk mirroring is often employed with the primary and secondary disk drive separated by a campus or metropolitan distance. Data can be replicated synchronously or asynchronously.

  • Synchronous mirroring keeps both the local and remote disk up to date on every write request, which can cause reduced overall application performance. To minimize this impact of disk mirroring on application performance, high bandwidth, low-latency network connections like Fibre Channel, DWDM, or CWDM are employed and are limited to campus/metro distances.

  • Asynchronous mirroring allows multiple writes to be queued for replication to the remote site. In the event of a failure of the local disk drive, some number of write requests may not have been completed to the remote drive, so the application may lose some of the recent history when it fails over to the remote drive.

Disk mirroring is an ideal solution for applications that demand transactional high availability and transparent failover either when the local disk subsystem fails or to expedite recovery after a site disaster.

Disk mirroring does not protect against accidentally deleted or corrupted files because whatever is written to the primary disk is immediately copied to its mirrored disk. Deleted files on the primary disk are instantly deleted on the mirrored disk, and files corrupted on the primary disk are instantly corrupted on the mirrored disk. Therefore, mirroring does not eliminate the need for periodic backups of data to another storage medium like magnetic tape. Periodic backups of data create historical versions so that, when a file is deleted or corrupted on the mirrored drive pair, a copy can be restored from a point in time before the deletion or corruption occurred.

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