The Brittleness of Replication

I’ve used replication for years in different positions. I first discovered it in SQL Server 6.5, using it to simulate a queuing system to keep two disparate applications in sync without requiring transactions between the applications and causing errors. As handy as replication was, it was also brittle. Small things would sometimes break replication and the quickest way to repair the system was to drop replication and re-initialize it. Fortunately my data was small in size.

As I’ve watched replication grow through the years, I’ve been happy to see enhancements, like the ability to replicate schema changes to objects contained in articles. However I’ve been disappointed that the tooling has barely improved and the brittle nature of the process has not been addressed.

It seems that as SQL Server grows, we find more and more features and subsystems that are being managed like replication. They get built and then languish with few resources devoted to improving their tooling and robustness. Service Broker, spatial data, and more are examples of features that were introduced, but have received little attention in newer versions.

I have to believe there are developers at Microsoft that would love to make the product better. I understand the need for new features, and continuing sales, but devoting a percentage of time to improving existing features, regardless of the Connect votes or marketing wishes, would help make the platform that much better for everyone.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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