What is synchronous replication?

In synchronous replication, all committed data at the primary location also exists simultaneously at the remote location. When a piece of data is being written to a disk at the primary location, it must also be written (replicated) at the secondary (remote) location, and the secondary location must acknowledge that it has received and written that piece of data. Only then, the next piece of data can be written to the primary location, replicated to the secondary location, and so on.

The result is two identical copies of data, in real time, which is ideal for rapid disaster recovery and the highest application availability. However, synchronous replication has two important limitations: cost and distance. To sustain synchronous replication, the organization needs to invest in, maintain, and staff two data centers (the primary, production site and the secondary, disaster recovery site). The organization must also maintain extremely fast and costly communication lines between the two sites. Because synchronous replication is costly, this topology is unaffordable for many organizations.

The second limitation of synchronous replication is that the primary and secondary locations must be close to each other in order to minimize latency when moving the data between the primary and DR sites. The maximum distance between the two sites is usually around 45 miles. This means that in case of a large, regional disaster, it is possible that both data centers will be hit; in this case, data will be lost, and application downtime is assured.

Why does the distance between data centers matter in a synchronous replication topology?

The distance between the primary and the secondary sites impacts performance in synchronous replication environments. The larger the distance, the higher the latency, and the longer it takes data to transfer (i.e., replicate) from the primary location to the secondary one. This delay brings the primary site’s applications to a halt because the primary site cannot write new information until it receives confirmation from the secondary site that the previous piece of data has been committed at the secondary site.

What is asynchronous replication?

Asynchronous replication was introduced to overcome the distance limitations of synchronous replication. In asynchronous replication, committed data on the primary site does not have to be confirmed when it is committed on the secondary site. Instead, as the primary site is writing data, it’s also asynchronously “pushing” data to the secondary site, (that is, without waiting for confirmation that the data has been committed at the secondary site). This technology enables organizations to place the secondary data center at any distance, even hundreds or thousands of miles away from the primary data center. In addition, asynchronous replication does not require the high-bandwidth lines that synchronous replication requires, which significantly reduces costs.

The challenge with asynchronous replication is that due to the distance between the two sites and the usually lower bandwidth of the communication lines between the two data centers, there is an inherent lag between the data that exists at the primary site, and what has been replicated and confirmed on the secondary site. Peaks in application throughput, fluctuations of communication lines bandwidth, and additional elements affect this lag. When a disaster strikes at the primary location, that data lag will be lost, because it hasn’t yet been transferred to and committed at the secondary site. Data loss is assured in this scenario, which results in application inconsistency, protracted recovery times, extended application downtime, and other risks that are often untenable for mission-critical applications.

How can Axxana’s Phoenix bridge the gap between asynchronous and synchronous replication?

Axxana’s Phoenix Black Box and PhoenixOS™ technology provide a new breed of data protection and application continuity—regardless of replication topology—by enabling zero data loss and zero transaction loss when replicating data across any geographical distance, any communication medium, and any application, middleware, or system. To learn more about moving beyond the synchronous vs. asynchronous binary, read here.

Axxana’s Phoenix

What is the Axxana Phoenix system?

The Axxana Phoenix system provides zero-data-loss recovery and continuous application availability, over unlimited distances and at a fraction of the cost of traditional replication solutions. Axxana’s Phoenix does not require replication over costly communication lines; even IP lines will suffice. The system, installed at the primary data center, is a sturdy data protection appliance that is capable of withstanding extreme conditions and surviving any type of disaster—without losing data. Axxana’s Phoenix combines concepts used in aviation flight data recorders (black boxes) with Axxana’s special-purpose continuous availability operating system, called PhoenixOS™, to effectively transform asynchronous replication into synchronous replication. It provides 100% data protection, full application consistency, the fastest recovery times, and continuous application availability.

How does Axxana’s Phoenix guarantee zero loss and continuous availability?

The Phoenix Black Box, installed at the primary data center, maintains a protected, synchronous copy of all the at-risk, not yet replicated, and in-transit information between replication cycles. In other words, the box is a disaster-proof storage and compute device that securely holds the data lag (i.e., the data that hasn’t yet been replicated to the remote DR site), automatically detects a disaster, and then transmits the protected data lag to the remote site as needed for DR purposes.

Combining the replicated data at the remote site with the protected data lag at the Black Box provides a full, complete copy of the data (with zero data loss) and full data consistency across applications. This copy is identical to the data that existed at the primary site exactly when the disaster struck.

What are my recovery options?

Recovery can be done using the following methods:

  • Over an existing WAN (if the disaster is local and the WAN is intact)
  • By downloading the transaction data to a laptop and transferring it over a nearby, operational WAN to the remote site
  • By transferring the encrypted transaction data via a secure VPN over a cellular network, using a fully protected modem and antennas for broadcasting the transaction data
  • By extracting the flash disks from the Phoenix Black Box and transferring them to the remote site

Can I choose which applications will be protected by Axxana’s Phoenix?

Yes. You can choose which applications or databases Axxana’s Phoenix will protect. Click here to learn more about how Axxana’s Phoenix can protect your business.

Can I trust the cellular network in case of disaster?

Based on several studies, the cellular network is the most resilient communications network in the case of a disaster. In a number of disasters (including 9/11 and recent hurricanes), the cellular network remained active while other networks were down. To maintain resilience and high availability, cellular providers deploy a mesh of multiple base stations and cells with an overlap between them to provide maximum coverage in case one resource is down. Carriers also use mobile base stations called “cells on wheels” (COWs) that are deployed in case of regional disasters.

How does Axxana’s Phoenix secure data when transferring it?

The data that is transferred to the remote site following a disaster is mutually authenticated and strongly encrypted. We use your own VPN to deliver the data to your DR site, and we adapt our solution to your strictest security policies and practices. Axxana’s Phoenix has been deployed and is in production at leading financial institutions around the world.

What are the product testing certifications?

Axxana’s Phoenix Black Box was tested and certified to make sure it can survive any disaster. To find out more, read here or watch our video.

Axxana’s Phoenix has been rigorously tested and has passed the stringent requirements set by multiple resilience specs, including the aviation black box specifications as well as ISO-834 for withstanding direct flames and fires.

How will Axxana’s Phoenix reduce our expenses and save us money?

Some organizations tolerate some data loss in order to avoid the capital expenditures and ongoing operational costs of maintaining a topology that can ensure zero data loss and continuous application availability. Axxana’s Phoenix eliminates compromise by providing cloud-based and on-premises solutions that can meet the organization’s data loss and recovery time objectives (RTO) without requiring investment in additional data centers or using high-cost communication lines. The Phoenix comes with a huge ROI that continues to pay off year after year, even as data volumes grow. Click here to read more about ROI and Phoenix solutions.

Does Axxana offer a solution for cloud-based services?

Phoenix supports the full range of cloud services models—including private, public, and hybrid clouds and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)—while providing capabilities that are impossible to achieve with cloud services alone. These capabilities include zero data loss at any distance, near-zero recovery time, significantly lower latency, and the continuous application availability.

Click to here to read more about Axxana’s Phoenix solutions for the cloud.

When using Axxana’s Phoenix, how does RPO = 0 affect application availability when recovering from a disaster?

In many organizations, the decision to fail over may take a few hours. Before they can fail over, recovery teams must first determine whether data loss occurred, reconcile missing data, restore applications to full consistency, and more. In this scenario, recovery time objectives (RTO) can easily veer off track, thereby jeopardizing application uptime, service level agreements, and compliance.
By contrast, when disaster strikes an application protected by Axxana’s Phoenix, the organization can go immediately to fail over because Phoenix guarantees zero data loss (i.e., RPO = 0) in any disaster. Because RPO = 0, the organization does not have to waste time determining whether data loss occurred, nor does it have to perform time-consuming reconciliation steps. Full application consistency is guaranteed. In the event of disaster, Axxana’s Phoenix automatically detects the disaster and begins transferring yet-to-be replicated data to the disaster recovery site immediately. Organizations achieve the fastest recovery possible, thereby ensuring the highest application availability.

The Phoenix for Oracle

What is the unique value proposition for the Phoenix for Oracle?

Axxana uniquely provides continuous application availability by guaranteeing zero transaction loss and therefore full application consistency with the shortest time to application failover after a disaster. The solution protects your Oracle applications (SAP, Oracle E-Business, CRM, and more) running on any platform and utilizing any replication solution or infrastructure.

Please click here to learn more about Phoenix for Oracle.

Which common applications does Axxana’s Phoenix for Oracle support?

Phoenix for Oracle supports all applications, including ERP, CRM, E-Business Suite, SAP, and more.

Can Phoenix for Oracle support any operating system or storage?

Phoenix for Oracle supports any storage and any replication solution, including Data Guard, Active Data Guard Far Sync, and the following operating systems: Windows, Linux, and major Unix systems.

Does Axxana’s Phoenix support Oracle RAC and ASM?

Yes. Axxana’s Phoenix supports RAC and ASM, as well as other operating system clusters.

Does installation of Phoenix for Oracle require any changes to my current environment?

No. Phoenix for Oracle does not require any changes to your current Oracle environment.  Phoenix works with any storage, any replication, and any network. The installation is seamless (plug-and-play) and therefore does not affect production in any way.

What is the added value when combining Data Guard with the Axxana Phoenix solution?

Axxana’s Phoenix for Oracle enhances Data Guard protection modes and recovery level, bringing it to zero transaction loss and the fastest application recovery when using either Data Guard’s Maximum Availability or Maximum Performance protection mode.

Using either of these modes together with Phoenix for Oracle provides the benefits of maximum protection without compromising on distance or latency and performance. Additionally, it provides full protection and continuous application availability during rolling disasters by protecting yet-to-be-replicated data (i.e., the data lag) inside Axxana’s Phoenix Black Box for as long as needed when the link between sites is down.

Why should I use Phoenix for Oracle Far Sync?

Enterprises are increasingly moving from a three-data-center topology to a two-data-center topology in order to simplify operations and reduce costs; however most vendors have not figured out how to help their customers achieve zero data loss and continuous application availability in a two-data-center environment when data centers are geographically distant from one another. Phoenix for Oracle Far Sync combines Oracle Active Data Guard Far Sync with Axxana’s Phoenix system to solve this challenge. The best-of-breed solution ensures zero data loss and continuous application availability in any data center topology and in any disaster scenario, including regional and rolling disasters. It’s the only industry solution that can do so. Read here for more information.

Does Oracle or Axxana support Phoenix?

Axxana is a recognized Oracle Partner Network member. Axxana supports the product directly.

What interfaces or protocols does the Phoenix for Oracle product support?

Phoenix for Oracle currently supports the following interfaces:

SAN/FC and iSCSI, NAS/NFS, and Exadata/IB.


What is Axxana?

Axxana bridges the gap between current replication techniques. It is the first solution to enable complete failover with zero data loss and continuous application availability across any geographical distance, while utilizing any type of communication lines and achieving significant bandwidth savings over traditional solutions. Axxana developed its ground-breaking Phoenix Black Box and PhoenixOS™ and offers a number of cloud-based and on-premises solutions for continuous application availability, fast recovery, and maximum uptime. We currently support Oracle environments utilizing any storage and any replication system.

Where is Axxana located?

We are headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts, USA with R&D in Tel-Aviv, Israel. We also have offices and representatives in a growing number of locations in Europe and Asia Pacific.