A replication topology defines the relationship between servers and the copies of data, along with the logic that determines how synchronization occurs between copies. Designing a replication topology helps you determine how long it takes for changes to get from a Publisher to a Subscriber, whether the failure of one update prevents other Subscribers from being updated, and the order in which updated information arrives at a Subscriber, which can affect analysis and reporting.
To determine your replication topology:
- Select the physical replication model (central Publisher, central Publisher with remote Distributor, publishing Subscriber, or central Subscriber).
- Determine where snapshot files will be located and how Publishers and Subscribers will synchronize initially.
- Determine whether the Distributor will be local or remote, and determine whether the distribution database will be shared.
- Determine if multiple Publishers will share a Distributor, each use its own distribution database on the Publisher, or share a distribution database.
- Determine the type of replication and options to use.
- Determine whether replication is initiated at the Publisher (using push subscriptions) or at the Subscriber (using pull subscriptions).
The replication topology is not limited to the physical connections between servers because it also includes data paths between copies of the data. A Subscriber can receive multiple copies of data from different Publishers, and all of those data copies can exist on one server, incorporating a complicated topology.