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If I have a SQL Server 2012, with two databases, both publishers, replicating to a bunch of subscribers.

  • Can each database go through a different distributor?
  • Is the publisher the server or the database?

I understood it to be a publisher can only go to one distributor

  • Is that each db or the whole server?
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The Distributor is the server that contains the distribution database.

Configure Distribution at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms151860.aspx says:

By default, the Distributor is the same server as the Publisher (a local Distributor), but it can also be a separate server from the Publisher (a remote Distributor).

SQL Server can support a single Distributor on the local server. If you are trying to reduce the load on the main server you can instead create the Distributor on a remote server.

If the load is heavy, an additional step that would help manage the distribution is to create a distribution database for each database that is being published. This could reduce the contention within each database that might be present in a single distribution database.

Both a local server and a remote server can support multiple distribution databases.

David Poole's article from 2010, Scaling Out the Distribution Database. may provide you more insight. It can be found here: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Replication/69663/

Both articles are helpful and I have not detailed every step in the setup.

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