@alt_snapshot_folder for PULL Subscribers

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To improve SQL Distribution agent performance when applying Snapshot, first ZIP then copy the snapshot files locally to the subscriber. This is a great solution for subscribers on WAN international networks as ZIP can be smaller and faster to copy then Replication can move uncompressed Snapshot files.  Testing shows a 1gb file can take > 10 minutes to PUSH via Replication but only 1 minute to ZIP into 25mb file, 1 minute to copy, and 1 minute to unzip resulting in Snapshot being applied in 1/2 time compared Replication to move the data.

Setup the Distribution Agent as a PULL subscriber via new Subscription Wizard or TSQL scripts specifying the @alt_snapshot_folder in the configuration settings. This instructs Distribution Agent running on the Subscriber (PULL) to retrieve local copy of the snapshot files.

— Executed on the Publisher
— Adding the transactional subscriptions
— Flags Snapshot Agent to create run creating Snapshot files.

exec sp_addsubscription @publication = …

— Start the Snapshot Agent, when complete, copy the files to local subscriber. Copy from “\unc\…” including the “unc” folder.
— Target Directory Example: X\ReplData\unc\mypublication\<snapshotdate>

-- Executed on the Subscriber
exec sp_addpullsubscription @publisher =…
exec sp_addpullsubscription_agent @publisher = … @alt_snapshot_folder = N'X:\ReplData\', …

The Subscriber Pull Distribution Agent Job History will show:

2015-11-03 20:00:40.370 Initializing
2015-11-03 20:00:40.417 Snapshot will be applied from the alternate folder 'C:\Temp\unc\CUSTOMER\20151103145645\'

If you’ve already created a PUSH and want to use a PULL with a local snapshot folder, you can run the Distribution Agent on the subscriber specifying the AltSnapshot folder path as a run-time parameter to the Distribution Agent (distrib.exe) instead of a configuration setting during setup.

Tips to improve performance when applying Snapshot in Transactional Replication

You can also change the PULL Distribution Agent Subscription Properties:


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