DataPortal vs. Traditional Database Replication

DataPortal vs. Traditional Database Replication

With the growth in complex global supply chains, the sharing of complex business data, often in the forms of relational databases, has become one of the most in-demand business needs over the last ten years. The desire for raw government and private sector data to be shared across multiple platforms has only increased since 2009, when President Obama put laws in place requiring the data be made public. While Obama’s bill does a great job in mandating the kinds of information that needs to be made public (contracts, audits, inspector general reports, etc.), it is rather vague with regard to details on how the information will need to be provided.

According to experts John Wonderlich, Policy Director at the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation and Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, in order to provide any value in the information being shared, the entire back end database needs to be shared. It is impossible for any person or organization to determine how others will use, analyze or cross-reference the data being provided so making the data, in its raw format (relational databases) available is essential.

DataPortal helps companies meet this need with database sharing using cloud technology that is a vast improvement over traditional database replication. DataPortal provides instant and effortless data sharing over the web, allowing multiple recipients to receive the same full database by simply clicking on a URL. DataPortal also keeps data in standard database form and works across multiple vendors, platforms and operating systems. The tool also offers a more flexible and efficient alternative to traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) by eliminating unnecessary conversion of data, as well as the costly set up involved with EDI.

Data is transferred from a DataPortal server to any supported database system (including MS SQL Server, Access, Oracle, DB2, MySQL and Firebird) using a DataPortal client – either Applets, that do not require installation, or Applications, which must be installed but provide more features than the simple Applet client.

How does DataPortal Differ from Traditional Database Replication?

With traditional database replication, when data is updated at the source, it must ripple through all replicated databases before the update can take effect. This is time-consuming and can cause conflict if multiple updates are being conducted at the same time. With DataPortal, the data being updated is read and written directly to and from the database without the unnecessary ripple effect. Because of this, more complex, high value data can be updated more quickly and easily.

Traditional database replication can also become difficult when it comes to scaling up the sharing of data. Data scale-up has two dimensions: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal scale-up involves the addition of more data replicas, while  vertical scale-up involves data replicas being located further away in distance. Since DataPortal shares and updates data through the cloud, the problems of horizontal and vertical scale-up are eliminated.

With DataPortal, databases are shared over the Web. Most of the other database tools share via direct data connections, which many customers aren’t comfortable with for security reasons. While the data itself travels over the Web, DataPortal passes it first through a client application on one end and a server connection on the other rather than a direct database-to-database connection over the Web. With DataPortal, the databases never talk to one another directly, but go through clients and servers. This approach is not only more secure, but it also makes the sharing easier. With traditional database replication, you need to install applications at the various locations and arrange for them to make a direct connection to the databases in order for the data to be shared.

Examples of these direct connections include database tools and utilities, normally designed for a specific platform like DB2 or Microsoft SQL Server, doing some sort of replication through direct connections among the instances of the database. When these can work cross platform, often it is just between different databases from the same vendor, such as from Microsoft SQL Server to its (lower end) Access. One example of cross-platform software we just learned about is Double-Take which requires a direct connection, the installation of software and the opening of specific ports. Data Portal is still easier, with a point and click interface – determine where you want to send the data to and press the button.

Is Database Replication Your Answer?

Some situations may warrant the use of traditional database replication. Replication is useful when multiple sites or groups need read-only access to the same data without the need to alter or update the database.  If users do need to make changes to the data, they can work with copies of data offline and then propagate changes they make to other replications when they are connected, giving them greater autonomy to make such changes.

Other advantages include: quicker access to data locally rather than connecting to a remote database server over a network; access to remote copies of data if the local copies are inaccessible; and in the event of loss of data, the replicated database in a secondary location can be utilized to prevent system downtime.

Data Portal: When To Consider It

DataPortal is worth considering whenever you need to share entire  structured databases in the cloud; when users need to integrate data from their partners into a central database and share that data using a  Web browser, and when you need to share data among  different database platforms. DataPortal is most useful when data structure is critical, when time and security is of the upmost importance and when data need to be transferred on a regular or on-going basis.

DataPortal’s cloud storage technology is perfect for manufacturers who need a way to manage their supplier chains and inventory, government agencies who are mandated to share complex information, companies performing field audits that need to upload or share data in real time, and companies that need to share data in its original, complex form.

This streamlined database sharing is available as software for purchase or as a scalable SaaS solution. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

*image courtesy of creativecommons.org

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