SymmetricDS

Retail, Health Care, Oil and Gas, Transportation

SymmetricDS is most widely used in scenarios where many disparate databases or file systems need replicated across local area or wide area networks.  SymmetricDS was first introduced in retail where our customers had thousands of databases that needed to be kept in sync across their corporate offices, stores and registers.  Our customers wanted to be able to make item, tax and price changes at their corporate offices and have that data trickled in near real time to all of their stores and registers.  At the same time they wanted sales and inventory transactions recorded at the stores to be trickled to the corporate office.  They specifically wanted a replication mechanism that would work with disparate database types across an unstable WAN with minimal operational intervention and overhead.  They also wanted to be able to quickly and easily configure what data went where regardless of whether it was data from their point of sale package or custom data for their specific needs.  This "consolidation and distribution" pattern described below then spread to other industries with similar needs such as medical offices, transportation/trucks, oil and gas rigs and more.

Consolidation and Distribution

Data from multiple databases across the enterprise are synchronized and combined, working across low-bandwidth connections and withstanding periods of network outage. Thousands of databases can be connected to a central one using one or more tiers of synchronization. Manage data from the central database and distribute it across the network, with each tier receiving a subset of data. Use secure web protocols with pull or push synchronization to cooperate with firewalls on a wide area network. Conflicts can be handled at central office or configured to resolve automatically using rules.

Analytics and Reporting

SymmetricDS has also been extensively used in analytics and reporting.  For many data warehouse customers who choose to load operational data into staging tables in their data warehouse platform and then transform those staging tables into their analytics model using the power of their data warehouse platform, SymmetricDS is a natural choice for trickling data from the operational database into the data warehouse staging tables.  Operational application changes are captured by SymmetricDS and trickled in near real time to the data warehouse platform for subsequent processing.

Bridge Between Databases

For customers that maintain web site databases outside their firewall in a DMZ, SymmetricDS can be used to replicate data from internal operational databases to the web site database. Data can be transformed during replication between databases with different structure.  Another form of this database to database bridge is migrating data from one version of an application to an updated version while both are in operation. When companies have a multi-year plan to migrate applications to a new platform, SymmetricDS has proven a great solution to bridge data between old and new applications to keep them in sync until migration activities are complete.

Database Backup and Failover

Critical database applications are protected by continuously replicating to a standby database. Changes are sent to the standby, which may be on a local or wide area network. In an emergency, the application is reconnected to the standby database. Once the production database is available again, SymmetricDS will replicate changes to it from the standby. The switch-over can also be used to perform planned maintenance and system upgrades. Since SymmetricDS is flexible enough to replicate between different databases and table layouts, some tables of the upgraded database may have new columns in old tables.

Proof of Concept

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