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Merging data with no down time

I work for a large manufacturing company that has warehouses open 24x7. We are merging two databases together on a Windows 2000 server and using SQL Server 2000. This process will take about two hours. However, the president of the company does not want the down time for both plants. Can I merge the data and then apply the logs back to the database on both sites so there is no down time? And will this work?

No. You can apply transaction logs to a backup. You can't apply them to a live database. You can reduce this window by taking a step-wise approach. If your data essentially moves forward in time, meaning there is a large percentage of the data which will not change during your merge process, you can leave them online and merge that portion of the data which is essentially static at that point in time. This gives you a smaller subset of data to work with on a second pass of merging the data which should reduce the downtime.

Alternatively, you could leverage replication to combine the data together and keep the transactions from the two separate databases synchronized into a third database that you are merging into. Once everything is merged and synchronized, you can cut each plant seamlessly over to the new merged database.

 

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