Sql-server – Transactional replication with no primary key (unique index)


I've just come across something disturbing, I was trying to implement transactional replication from a database whose design is not under our control . This replication was in order to perform reporting without taxing the system too much. Upon trying the replication only some of the tables went across.

On investigation tables were not selected to be replicated because they don't have a primary key, I thought this cannot be it is even shown as a primary key if I use ODBC and ms access but not in management studio. Also the queries are not ridiculously slow.

I tried inserting a duplicate record and it failed saying about a unique index(not a primary key). Seems to be the tables have been implemented using a unique index as oppose to a primary key. Why I do not know I could scream.

Is there anyway to perform transactional replication or an alternative, it needs to be live (last minute or two). The main db server is currently sql 2000 sp3a and the reporting server 2005.

The only thing I have currently thought of trying is setting the replication up as if it is another type of database. I believe replication to say oracle is possible would this force the use of say an ODBC driver like I assume access is using hence showing a primary key. I don't know if that is accurate out of my depth on this.

Best Solution

As MSDN states, it is not possible to create a transactional replication on tables without primary keys. You could use Merge replication (one way), that doesn't require a primary key, and it automatically creates a rowguid column if it doesn't exist:

Merge replication uses a globally unique identifier (GUID) column to identify each row during the merge replication process. If a published table does not have a uniqueidentifier column with the ROWGUIDCOL property and a unique index, replication adds one. Ensure that any SELECT and INSERT statements that reference published tables use column lists. If a table is no longer published and replication added the column, the column is removed; if the column already existed, it is not removed.

Unfortunately, you will have a performance penalty if using merge replication.

If you need to use replication for reporting only, and you don't need the data to be exactly the same as on the publisher, then you could consider snapshot replication also