SQL Server Replication for Reporting

Our company is using MS SQL 2014 for an ERP application.  We currently have a replicated server that has been set up with log shipping on the quater hour for the purposes of user reporting. (not SSRS, unfortunately)

If we set up log shipping in a friendly manner, then updates are delayed outside of an acceptable range.  In its current configuration, reports are failing when run at the update event, connections lost.  Our user base is about 1200 and will increase by a factor of 3 - 5 in the near future.

What is the proven method for replicating a ERP server for reporting purposes with little or no interuption?  Log shipping, mirroring, etc.

Our needs are obvious; the concept is certainly not new to the professional world.

Thank you.
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Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
AlwaysOn feature was introduced since SQL Server 2012 and improved on SQL Server 2014. It's a mirror with advanced options since it let to have read only replicas. It's the best for reporting purposes. You just need to point the reports to the replica database and set the primary database free for OLTP. Of course there's a cost (another server with the necessaries licenses and storage to store the database files).
NOTE: AlwaysOn is only available in Enterprise Edition (EE).

If you don't have EE then you'll really need to use Replication. You need to chose the kind of Replication to use depending on the kind of report needed. For example, if reports only refers to the day before you just need to set a Snapshot Replication and a Snapshot of the database will be create in the end of each day.
If the reports need to deal with updated data then you'll need to set a Transactional Replication.
dsackerContract ERP Admin/ConsultantCommented:
Besides replication, two other options for having an ERP reporting solution are:

1. Backup and restore (either incrementally or full, if the database is small enough)
2. ETL extractions into a BI warehouse.

The two ERPs I have supported most (SAP and Syteline, over many years) have their own transactional replication available, so I generally leave that alone.

With option #2, you can create cubes that just about any BI products can use. Users love that.

With option #1, you are in essence setting up an ERP copy that users can get onto and run the existing reports that are within the ERP (and/or additional reports you may have developed within the ERP).
PadawanDBAOperational DBACommented:
Are you on SQL Server Enterprise or Standard?
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