Whether it’s for analytics, disaster recovery, or another use case, replication has become one of the most commonly implemented database solutions for moving data. With the wide variety of use cases that can benefit from it, it’s no wonder that so many replication tools have entered the scene. This is especially true when it comes to tools that can be used within the Oracle ecosystem to facilitate data replication and integration.
In this post, we will explore the facets of Oracle databases, what data replication is, and how it can be implemented. Lastly, we will look at potential tools that can be used for Oracle replication. First, let’s start by taking a look at exactly what Oracle is.
What is Oracle?
Oracle Corporation is regarded as the largest software company in the world to develop and market software for businesses. It is best known for its Oracle database product, a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that is widely adopted and has stood the test of time. Sometimes referred to simply as Oracle DB, it is one of the most used RDBMS to store, organize, and retrieve information across various verticals and use cases. As with most RDBMS platforms, Oracle DB uses SQL as the standard language to interact with the database.
Oracle DB was the first database to use Enterprise Grid Computing (EGC) and warehousing. This technology can be used to perform tasks across groups of computers connected to a network. With EGC, information can be retrieved from anywhere in the world as long as the information resides on a network-enabled machine. EGC is a flexible and cost-effective way of managing information and connectivity amongst applications. To add to Oracle’s flexibility, Oracle is also cross-platform and can run on multiple types of servers and operating systems, including Windows, UNIX, Linux, and macOS.
Oracle has five editions of its database to choose from. Each has its distinct features and is suitable for different types of development and deployments. The editions include:
- Standard Edition One: This edition has all the facilities needed to build business applications. It is easy to use and is suited for workgroups, and departments to create web applications. It can be used in a single-server environment or highly-distributed branch environments.
- Standard Edition: Similar to the Standard Edition One but offers support for larger machines and Oracle Real Application Clusters (Oracle RAC). It is ideal for users that do not require the robust offerings of the Enterprise edition.
- Enterprise Edition: This is the most robust and secure edition as it contains all the available features of Oracle DB. It contains features for high-volume Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) applications, query-intensive data warehouses, and demanding Internet applications.
- Express Edition (XE): This is a lightweight entry-level edition of Oracle DB. It is easy to download, install, and manage. Express Edition is free to develop, deploy and distribute. It can also be upgraded to other editions of Oracle DB with minimal cost and very few migration headaches.
- Personal Edition: The Personal Edition supports single-user development and deployment environments. Personal Edition is fully compatible with Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, Oracle Database Standard Edition, and Oracle Database Standard Edition One. It is comparable with the Enterprise Edition but does not include the Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) feature.
Features of Oracle
At a high level, there are a few crucial features to highlight when looking at Oracle. Being one of the most commonly used databases in the world, Oracle offers many capabilities that have added to its success in the enterprise world. Here are a few key features to take note of:
- Availability: Oracle provides highly-available databases that can ensure an instance is never out of service, offline, or unavailable. This is extremely important for ensuring availability during planned or unplanned outages and downtimes. It does this through technologies like RAC, Data Guard, and Golden Gate to make sure data is accessible at all times.
- Scalability: Oracle provides features such as Real Application Clusters (RAC) and advanced portability to enable an Oracle database to be highly scalable.
- Performance: Oracle provides performance optimization tools such as Oracle Advanced Compression, Oracle Database In-Memory, and Oracle Real Application Testing to improve the system's performance. These performance optimization tools can be used to decrease query execution time and operations allowing you to retrieve and alter data faster.
- Portability: An Oracle DB can be easily ported to work on various platforms therefore, applications developed on Oracle can be ported without having to make any changes. This is made possible through Oracle’s cross-platform approach which supports Windows server, macOS, Unix, and various distributions of GNU/Linux.
- Backup and Recovery: On Oracle DB, data can be recovered from almost all kinds of data failures. Oracle has recovery features such as Recovery Manager (RMAN) that can cater to this need by performing cold, hot, and incremental database backups and point-in-time recovery.
- Security: Oracle has advanced built-in mechanisms that control and monitor data access and usage at all times. It provides fail-safe security features to implement authorization policies to limit and monitor data access. These features can help to prevent data fraud.
- Concurrent Processing: With Oracle, it is possible to have multiple users execute a variety of applications on the database concurrently. Several applications can run at the same time using Oracle.
- Database Integrity: Consistency of data is ensured in Oracle DB as it enforces data integrity. As a result of its data integrity features, the costs of coding and managing checks on the data are removed as they can be handled directly in Oracle.
What Is Data Replication?
As businesses expand, it becomes increasingly necessary for them to make data available throughout the enterprise. This is generally done by making the data available through multiple databases and applications. Data replication and integration enable this by giving access to data throughout the company anytime and anywhere.
Data replication can be defined as the process in which data found in a physical/virtual server or cloud instance (source platform) is continuously copied to a secondary server or cloud instance (target platform). Data replication is either done synchronously or asynchronously and enables multiple copies of the data to be stored at different locations. This functionality provides organizations with highly-available data for improved data access and accessibility, backup, and disaster recovery.
Oracle Database replication is the process of copying and maintaining database objects, such as tables and the data within them, that make up a distributed system. Changes made at one site are captured and stored locally before being forwarded and applied at each of the remote locations in the network.
Oracle Replication makes it easy to create, distribute, share, and consolidate data over multiple locations. Businesses using an Oracle database can replicate and synchronize their data across various locations. This data can be shared with partners and vendors through Oracle’s secure and standard mechanisms that enable communication between databases, applications, and users. With the adoption of Oracle replication in an organization, synchronized copies of your data pave the way for distributed data processing, testing, and business reporting. As mentioned before, the data can also be used for backups and data recovery in the case of an issue, such as unexpected data loss or connectivity issues.
Advantages of Data Replication
The following are the advantages of data replication:
- Improved Data Availability: Since database replication copies data to several machines, it becomes easier for users to access information at all times no matter the location. Even when there is a failure or issue on one of the machines in the distributed system, data can still be accessed from other nodes in the network.
- Increase In Data Access Speed: When data is stored in a single database and experiences an increasing user load, the time it takes to retrieve the data increases. This is generally referred to as an increase in latency. Latency can be overcome by using data replication. Replication allows various users to access their data from local servers, which are closer to them as data has been copied and shared across the network, therefore, solving the issue of latency.
- Data Recovery: Data replication handles the issue of data loss and data corruption. This is because, with replication, data can be recovered from backups across multiple locations, thereby enhancing data protection.
- Improved Server Performance: Data replication enhances the performance of the server as loads are distributed across the various nodes within the network. Typically, read operations are directed to replicas, and write operations are prioritized on the primary server. This methodology leads to overall improved server performance.
What Is A Replication Tool?
A replication tool helps to facilitate the process of copying data from a source database to one or more target databases. It sets up a framework for frequent copying or streaming of data from a database or server to another database so all users have access to synced data, regardless of which system they are using to access it. If there is a data change, the data replication tool will also make sure that the changes are applied to the target database. The result is a distributed data storage network where anyone can easily access important and relevant data with increased availability across different locations.
Typically, after a data replication solution is implemented, users will notice an improvement in the consistency of data across each node, reduced data redundancy, increased data reliability, and ultimately, an increase in performance. Legacy replication tools may implement batch jobs to move data or more modern tools may move data in real-time as data is created, updated, and deleted on the source database.
Factors To Consider Before Choosing An Oracle Replication Tool
Choosing the appropriate replication tool for your business will largely depend on your organization’s requirements. Below are a few considerations to make before deciding on any of the available tools:
- Purpose of Replication: The first thing to consider is the reasons why your data needs to be replicated. Your reason may be to move applications to the cloud, seek a better hybrid cloud solution that meets your requirements, synchronization of your data instance, or set up replication for real-time analysis. Whatever your reason may be, it is best to understand it and seek an Oracle replication tool that can fit your use case.
- Requirement of Replication Tool: The next thing to do is to seek out an Oracle replication tool that can deliver on your use case. You will have to look at the features of the tool and decide if it can be used for your data replication needs. Making a choice might be dependent on the volume of data to be replicated, the data types, supported data sources, and the supported targets or many targets to where the data will be replicated to. This will help in pinpointing the exact tool that will work for your needs.
- Budgets: You will have to consider the amount of money that your organization is willing to invest to enable data replication. The prices, functionalities, and ease of usage are important considerations to be made before finally settling for a particular replication tool to use. Some tools may be less expensive but require more effort and budget to implement, whereas others may be more expensive but less costly to implement. These factors should also be considered when budgeting. Determining your budget and knowing how much is to be spent can help in deciding on the best tool that meets your goals in your allotted budget.
Best Oracle Replication Tools
In this section, we are going to look at five Oracle replication tools that you should consider when looking to implement a data replication solution.
Arcion is a zero-code real-time Change Data Capture (CDC) platform designed for massive scalability, guaranteed data consistency, and low latency. Arcion can be used as a self-hosted service on-premise solution or on Arcion Cloud. Arcion is easy to use and does not require help to install it in the database server or instance. Also, Arcion data pipelines are deployed without the need to write a single line of code.
- On-premise solution and fully managed cloud service: You can choose from any of the available options as it meets your business needs.
- Lots of connector support: Arcion has Agentless CDC connectors for most enterprise databases, including Mainframes.
- Guaranteed Data Consistency: Arcion provides data consistency with its replication.
- Low latency: Data is moved in real-time and does not add workload to the database.
- Massive scalability: Arcion’s scalable architecture provides massive data replication speed as it is highly distributed and parallelized.
- Arcion enables zero-downtime migration from on-premise databases to a cloud database.
- It offers CDC-based data replication for OLTP as well as OLAP systems.
- Conversion of schemas Is supported across a wide variety of databases.
- Arcion guarantees data consistency through its zero data loss architecture.
- Arcion comes with enterprise-grade security and compliance standards to ensure data governance.
- It supports a single source with multiple target data pipelines.
- Arcion Cloud currently only supports a few core connectors namely MySQL, Informix, Snowflake, Oracle, Databricks, Snowflake, and SingleStore.
- Self-hosted must be used to support connectors not supported on Arcion Cloud.
Carbonite Availability has continuous replication technologies to ensure high-value systems remain accessible and maintain an up-to-date copy of your organization’s critical data to users and applications that depend on them. It mirrors all physical, virtual, and cloud workloads to a secondary target as it is designed and installed on both the primary and secondary systems. This ensures that a replica of the primary target is created at the secondary location continuously. Carbonite Availability carries this out without adding pressure on the primary system or network bandwidth. When a failure occurs on the primary system, users are re-routed to the secondary system as it goes live.
- Lightning Fast Recovery: Carbonite Availability offers fast recovery for failover to the secondary site with minimal downtime.
- Streamlined Migration: Data can be migrated from the cloud to any other location easily.
- Broad Platform Support: Replicate physical, virtual, and cloud-based systems to any environment, locally or with a cloud service provider.
- Self-Service Management: It provides end-user control over configuration, monitoring, and failover through a self-service portal.
- Performance Impact: Workloads are carried out with continuous replication and have minimal impact on the system performance.
- Virtual environment
- Easy to use and set up
- Efficient support team
- High memory usage
- Error messages
- No free trial/freemium version
- Premium consulting/Integrated services
Quest Shareplex replication software offers database replication for high availability, scalability, and reporting. It is affordable and can be installed with ease where it replicates data and updates immediately in near real-time. Quest Shareplex allows the replication of your Oracle database and avoids data loss during replication using its in-built monitoring, conflict resolution, data comparison, and synchronization mechanisms.
- Simplicity and high availability of data: Users can use Quest SharePlex easily for the replication of data to increase availability.
- Quality support: Quest SharePlex subscriptions come with a one-year plan to offer free business support to its users.
- Data Accuracy: Quest SharePlex's in-built functions ensure that data is not lost during replication.
- Shareplex supports data distribution and distributed processing.
- It is a replication tool built to target users of Oracle databases.
- Shareplex supports analytics of data.
- Migration and upgrades of Oracle databases are done without downtime or loss of data.
- Shareplex reporting feature provides offload reporting, operational reporting, and consolidated reporting.
- Shareplex installation and configuration can be difficult to suit your needs.
- It only supports Oracle database as a source though, it recently announced a beta version for Postgres.
- It requires some level of expertise to be implemented.
- The load on the functioning systems on Shareplex may be increased because of its monitoring requirements.
Oracle GoldenGate is an Oracle-managed service data mesh platform that offers businesses the ability to replicate, filter, and transform data from one database to another database in real time. It uses replication to keep data highly available while also enabling real-time analysis, disaster recovery, and zero downtime migrations. Oracle GoldenGate allows you to integrate with big data technologies such as Hadoop, HBase, and Kafka.
- Data Consistency: Oracle GoldenGate ensures data consistency and provides improved performance by replicating only changes.
- Simplicity: It uses a simple architecture that is easy to configure.
- High Performance: It puts minimal load on the database and infrastructure.
- Reduced Latency: Data is moved in real-time, therefore, reducing latency.
- Support Systems: It has support for various Oracle Database versions.
- It integrates with existing data infrastructure and offers wide support across numerous platforms.
- The movement of data happens in real-time to reduce latency and is highly available.
- It ensures data consistency and improves the data ecosystem's overall performance.
- GoldenGate was built for the previous generation of databases and is not a great solution to address the new use cases such as high volume real-time replication from Oracle to cloud platforms (e.g, Snowflake, Databricks), Machine Learning and AI platforms (e.g., Databricks Delta Lake), real-time analytics like SingleStore, Redis, Imply).
- Oracle GoldenGate has a complex configuration procedure, to get the platform working as desired can be tedious.
- The memory consumption during the extract process or Oracle GoldenGate is high.
- GoldenGate does not have first-class support for modern data platforms.
- Expensive pricing model that costs a significant amount of budget plus the required support fees.
- Complex technology that sometimes requires a Professional Service firm to help implement and require a team of engineers to maintain.
IBM InfoSphere Change Data Capture
IBM Infosphere Change Data Capture (InfoSphere CDC) is a replication tool that captures database changes as they occur and delivers the changes to the target databases, message queues, or an ETL solution. Data is delivered based on table mappings configured in the InfoSphere CDC Management Console GUI application. It provides low-impact capture and fast delivery of data changes for key information management initiatives. These initiatives commonly include dynamic data warehousing, master data management, application consolidations or migrations, operational BI, and enabling SOA projects. The unit of replication within InfoSphere CDC is called a subscription. With this subscription, InfoSphere captures and sends only changes on the source database, therefore, reducing processing overheads and network traffic.
- Continuous Availability: It ensures high availability of data for transactional data stores that are used often.
- Data integration: IBM InfoSphere can be used to set up integrated systems to update the database immediately after changes occur.
- Log-based CDC: IBM InfoSphere reads the native data logs to capture changes to ensure high performance.
- InfoSphere integrates data across multiple systems.
- Data stored on heterogeneous systems can be analyzed, assessed, and monitored using InfoSphere.
- InfoSphere offers access to a wide variety of additional data tools in the IBM ecosystem.
- InfoSphere is an IBM product and as such, integrates with other IBM tools easily but, it can be difficult to link it with other products.
- Knowledge of the IBM ecosystem is required for it to be used optimally.
In this comprehensive comparison, we discussed many different Oracle replication tools. In this article, you were first introduced to Oracle and data replication and then shown the capabilities and benefits it offers. Next, you looked at five possible solutions including the features, pros, and cons of each option. The knowledge shared within this article should put you well on your way to finding the best replication tool for your use case.
Of all the solutions shown, Arcion is one of the replication tools that meet the requirements for a flexible, intuitive, easy-to-manage data integration solution. It is available in both on-premises and cloud offerings and has connectors to the most popular database systems. Arcion is also incredibly quick to configure and delivers extremely performant data pipelines. To get started today, download Arcion Self-hosted for free (no payment info required) or book a free demo with and unlock the power of your data through zero data loss and zero downtime pipelines in minutes.