Duplication vs. Replication

on Friday, 15 February 2013. Posted in General

In generalized language usage, the terms “duplication” and “replication” are commonly accepted as being synonymous with one another. However, in the specific field of IT (information technology) and the use of data disks, the two terms have quite different connotations. The processes of duplicating and replicating are technologically different, and the resulting products have different features as well.

Differences in Process

The process of duplicating a disc is similar to the procedure you use to burn a copy of a CD or DVD on your home computer. It can be done as a one-off duplication, like what you do at home, or mass produced by a facility dedicated to duplication.

A series of linked towers with DVD/CD trays can create a multitude of disc copies simultaneously. The single-step process ends when the transferred information from the original disc has been copied onto the blank discs.

The replication process, in contrast, occurs during the original process of manufacturing. Rather than taking information from an existing disc and copying it onto blanks, the information doesn’t exist in disc form before replication. The procedure begins by a thorough check against corrupted data, and the master key is created. The resulting quality of the entire set of copies depends on the perfection of that master version.

Pros and Cons of Duplication

In contemplating and comparing the two processes, many clients enjoy the quick nature of duplication, where completing even a run of five thousand disks in just two or three days.

However, here are several potential pitfalls to consider with duplication:

  • Duplicating discs is more expensive than replication orders of the same size.
  • Duplication only allows for a single layer of information on the disk, as opposed to replication processes that can combine multiple layers of data on each side of the disc.
  • Duplication set-ups are almost always limited in size, and may be slowed by manual assembly of the media packaging.

Pros and Cons of Duplication

The disadvantages of replication revolve around speed and volume of production. Most replication orders take at least a week to fill, and often require a minimum shipment size before an order will go into production. If a client needs the order delivered quickly, or requires a smaller number of discs produced, then replication is probably not the answer.

If the client is not in an urgent hurry and are looking for a large enough order, however, there are a number of advantages.

  • The per unit price of replicated discs are generally lower than those produced by duplication.
  • There are several configuration options, including a single layer of information, two information layers on a single side, a single layer on each of the sides, or two separate layers on each of the two sides.
  • Because the majority of replication facilities are set up to run high volumes of disc copying, they often make use of automatic processes for assembly and packaging of the discs.

The finished disc product functions the same, regardless of the creation process, so it’s a simple matter of deciding which process is better suited to the client needs.