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Ansu Jain
Ansu Jain

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Exploring Replication Strategies in Data-Intensive Systems

Replication plays a crucial role in data-intensive systems, ensuring data availability, fault tolerance, and scalability. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why replication is essential in such systems and explore popular replication algorithms. We will also discuss the trade-offs involved, such as synchronous vs. asynchronous replication and handling failed replicas. Lastly, we will examine how replication achieves high availability and the challenges posed by leader failures.

Replication in Data-Intensive Systems:

In data-intensive systems, replication is necessary to ensure data reliability and availability. Each node that stores a copy of the database is known as a replica. Multiple replicas raise the question of how to synchronize data across all replicas. To address this, every write operation needs to be processed by each replica.

Replication Algorithms:

Three popular replication algorithms are commonly used: single leader, multi-leader, and leaderless replication. Each algorithm has its own advantages and trade-offs depending on the system requirements and characteristics.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Replication:

Synchronous replication guarantees that writes are propagated to all replicas before confirming their durability. However, it can be challenging to achieve perfect synchrony due to factors such as follower recovery, system capacity limitations, or network issues. As a result, completely synchronous replication is often impractical. Asynchronous replication, on the other hand, is more lenient and allows replicas to lag behind the leader, potentially resulting in some data loss.

Handling Node Outages:

Maintaining high availability in the presence of node failures is crucial. When a follower fails, catching up with the leader is relatively straightforward through catch-up recovery. However, the situation becomes more complex when the leader fails, requiring a failover mechanism to ensure uninterrupted operation.

Setting Up New Followers:

Setting up new followers involves creating replicas by taking snapshots of the leader's data and synchronizing the replication log. This process enables new replicas to join the system seamlessly and catch up with the latest changes.

High Availability with Leader-Based Replication:

Leader-based replication is commonly configured to be asynchronous. While this offers high performance, it comes with the risk of losing writes if the leader becomes unrecoverable. Even if a write has been confirmed to the client, it may not be durable if it hasn't been replicated to followers. This trade-off needs careful consideration depending on the system's durability requirements.


Replication is a vital component in data-intensive systems, ensuring data availability, fault tolerance, and scalability. Understanding different replication algorithms, synchronization methods, and handling node failures is essential in designing robust and reliable systems. By carefully considering trade-offs, system architects can strike a balance between performance, durability, and high availability, delivering efficient and resilient data-intensive systems.

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