In the field, I see a lot of people using Availability Groups to have a near real-time replica for reporting. I talked a little bit about this above. What isn’t mentioned here is you have to maintain a Windows Failover Cluster, Quorum, Active Directory (Unless using Windows 2016 Preview) and more. This gets you a replica that is just a copy of the database. What does this mean? You cannot change database objects like security, indexes, etc. Also, what if you don’t need the whole database(s) for reporting? If not, you can replicate only the data you truly need.
So, let’s recap here. You only have to replicate the data that you need. You can have different security and indexes on your reporting subscriber database(s). The reporting subscriber database can be scaled up or down as needed based on your needs. The reporting database can now be an Azure Database. Folks, I call this a huge win!
There’s a lot more replication love out there than I’d expect. John promises to follow up with a guide on how to implement this, so keep an eye out for that.