There are those rare times, when your replication solution is working perfectly. No consistency errors, no errors at all.
Or so it seems.
Then, all of a sudden, you catch one application which is writing to the read-only subscriber. Next, a developer complains that some data is missing from the subscriber.
Similarly, you always wonder, after the consistency errors have appeared and solved, whether the data is synchronized. In some specific cases, the publication can be dropped by mistake and re-created with replication continuing without reporting any errors.
Is there a native way to make sure all data is synchronized between the publisher and the subscriber?
Validate subscriptions using Replication Monitor
If you open the Replication Monitor application and right click on your publication, you will notice the “Validate subscriptions…” feature.
Click on it, choose the subscription that requires validation and select the way validation will be performed.
These options are quite critical since they directly impact the speed of the validation process. Here you can choose whether the tables themselves will be queried or row number information will be extracted from the sysindexes system view.
The default option is to compare the numbers from sysindexes and compare actual row counts only in case the differences were found.
You can also choose to compare the checksums of the data. In this case, the validation process will take a long time.
The result of the comparison will appear in the distribution service details:
You will see all tables that were scanned by the validation process and the row counts.
If a table is out of sync you will see the error as below
What’s going on behind the scenes?
Here is the query that is being executed against each table in the database if you choose to compare actual count and the checksum:
SELECT count_big(*), sum (convert(numeric, binary_checksum(*) ) )
FROM <tablename> WITH (TABLOCK HOLDLOCK)
All the above is nice when you have only one publication to validate. What if you have hundreds of publications?
As you might have expected, this UI is executing the stored procedure on the publisher. The stored procedure is called sp_publication_validation and it’s main parameters are
§ 1 - Perform a rowcount check only ( default )
§ 2 - Perform a rowcount and binary checksum
§ 0 – Full count using count(*)
§ 1 – Fast count using sysindexes view
§ 2 – Compare the subscriber and publisher using the fast count and, if the results are not equal, uses count on table. If the rows field in sysindexes is NULL full count will be used. ( default )
USE <published database>
EXEC sp_publication_validation @publication = 'PublicationName'
, @rowcount_only = 2
, @full_or_fast = 2
You can execute this stored procedure over all publications on the server.
I have put together a simple script to do this, in order to use it you need to define a linked server to the Distributor server in order to get a list of publications from the MSpublications table which is located in the Distribution database.
CREATE PROCEDURE ValidateSubscriptions
@PrintMode int = 0
DECLARE @SQLCmd varchar(max);
SET @SQLCmd= ''
SELECT @SQLCmd = @SQLCmd + 'EXEC ['+publisher_db+'].dbo.sp_publication_validation
@publication = '''+publication+''',
@rowcount_only = 2,
@full_or_fast = 2;' + CHAR(10) + CHAR(13) +
' WAITFOR DELAY ''00:01:00'';' + CHAR(10) + CHAR(13)
FROM DISTRIBUTOR.DistributionDB.dbo.MSpublications p
JOIN DISTRIBUTOR.master.sys.servers s
ON p.publisher_id = s.server_id
WHERE s.name = @@servername
IF @PrintMode = 1 BEGIN
All the validation results (for all publications) will be inserted into the MSdistribution_history table which is located in the Distribution database on the Distributor server.
Viewing it can be done using the following query:
SELECT time Time,
FROM dbo.MSdistribution_history h
JOIN dbo.MSdistribution_agents a
ON h.agent_id = a.id
JOIN master.sys.servers s
ON a.publisher_id = s.server_id
JOIN master.sys.servers s2
ON a.subscriber_id = s2.server_id
WHERE comments like 'Table %'
The best part is that if any article fails validation you will immediately see it in the error log
EXEC master..xp_readerrorlog 0,1,'failed data validation'
The above means that if you have some usual routine that notifies you in case there are any unusual errors in the SQL Server Error Log, it will show validation failures as well.
May all your articles pass their validation successfully.