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Currently I have a Windows 2008 server with SQL Server 2008 R2 and I want set up a data replication to a Windows 2016 Server with SQL Server 2016.

I am aware that the aforementioned is not possible because replication is only supported if each SQL Server endpoint is within two major versions of the current version of SQL Server.

If I upgrade SQL Server 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2012 on the Windows 2008 server then will I be able to set up replication to the Windows 2016 Server with SQL Server 2016?

Please help me on this.

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Yes, you'll be able to configure Transactional Replication with 2012 as the Publisher and 2016 as the Subscriber.

However, there are some changes made in replication procedures (that get created at subscribers to replicate transactions like INS, UPD & DEL) in 2016 ,that you'll have to correct manually. I have done it earlier but now migrated to AlwaysOn according to requirement.

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