I'm looking for general advice/best practices/experiences on replicating production data to a reporting server. I ask as my company has attempted the process once before, but abandoned the process as the data transfer took several hours.
Lots of questions here. Are you looking at creating a data warehouse? or are you just looking at another copy of your OLTP data?
Are you trying to improve performance by moving your operational reports from the production system to a secondary copy?
What type of timing requirements are there for the reports? Do they need to be real time? or if the data is a day old is that good enough?
The answers to those broad questions will tell how to proceed.