Replication is often considered to be one of the more shadowy regions in the SQL Server feature set. Everyone seems to talk about it a lot, but there just isn’t much documentation. The articles in Books Online are short and don’t go into detail. And those who do understand Replication well are few and far between. Replication itself is considered a dangerous, black-magic area, with lots of potential for pitfalls. What will happen if you change the schema? What happens if the server or network goes down for a while? And how do you set the thing up properly, without the UIs?
Luckily for those of us who aren’t masters of this art, SQL Server MVP Hilary Cotter has published the first book ever written on SQL Server replication. A Guide to SQL Server 2000 Transactional & Snapshot Replication is a 950-page monster of a book that covers everything you’ve always wanted to know about replication – and much, much more.
I was initially sent a copy of the book by Cotter almost three months ago. As a replication newbie, I thought it would be great to study the book and get a quick glimpse into what goes into replication solutions. But after the first few sections it became clear that this book is hardly light reading. Cotter goes deep into every aspect of the Replication Wizards (the user interfaces that can be used to set up replication) and the T-SQL that can be used to accomplish the same tasks. This tome has almost 100 pages dedicated just to installation of replication in different scenarios!
The book continues on this in-depth path with detailed information on how to configure subscribers and deploy replication solutions using stored procedures, SQL DMO, or the replication ActiveX controls. Cotter then appeases those of us with a thirst for the gritty details with a chapter on replication internals. Want to know how it really works? Read this chapter.
Cotter rounds out the book with a chapter on troubleshooting, in a question-and-answer format. Having answered thousands of replication questions on newsgroups and technical forums, Cotter seems right at home in this section.
This book is a good choice for anyone working with replication – it covers a wide enough swath that anyone from those who’ve never used it through advanced users should be able to learn something new about the topic. It is a big book – and reading is difficult in parts – but it will both make an expert out of you and serve as an excellent reference for ongoing work with replication.
A Guide to SQL Server 2000 Transactional & Snapshot Replication was published by Not While the Surf’s Up Press, and is available directly from the press on its website, http://www.nwsu.com. The book is also available from Amazon.