Reader question on replication topology class 102

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I received an IdoNotes email about my posting from Monday Aug 1st.  The reader asks:

I wonder if you could write a few comment on what DB you recommend to replicate as default in a Hub Spoke. I think one as default should only replicate Names.nsf and Admin4.nsf and for names.nsf disable designer. Then each server will have the templates for the installed version and names.nsf will use that template. Designer runs at 1AM default. Maybe one can get some conflict when designer update names.nsf, if the templates is not same version.

Excellent question and there is numerous answers to it.  I heartily agree that names.nsf and admin4.nsf need to replicate (ever wonder why they didn't migrate it to just the name adminp.nsf?  just asking).  Keep in mind that depending on your directory structure (whole versus configuration directory) that immediate updates of it may not be necessary.  As silly as it sounds, a custom domcfg might make sense to replicate around if you use MSSO.  The Directory Catalog is necessary at some sites if you are trying to maintain what database is where around the spokes.

Let's look at what does not get replicated: log.nsf, certlog.nsf (why would you when the registrations are done on the hub right?), webadmin.nsf, resources.nsf and a few random others.  It gives you a basic idea though.

As for the templates, controlling them centrally on a hub with the designer task and then using replication to push out the changes makes tons of sense.  But leaves a hole for mail and non-central databases.  Many control pushing changes through the ACL but forget about that task as you elude to.  I like the idea of having the hub as the manager and everything else as editor in the proper layout.  Why would any other server make changes to the design?  I can think there are some 3rd party apps that will though.

I actually think some of the templates should be centrally pushed, but most admins do not remove the templates from the installation since some updates are required when upgrading/installing.  But in the long run, not having them on every server would guarantee consistency.  This comes down to a strategic and management issue in the long run.  One we can explore more if people want.

This topic was approached in the Ask the Experts session at AdvisorLive a few weeks ago.  I expressed my opinions on the Designer task then also.