Having a merge publication for replicating BLOBs (type image), got very high tempdb disk I/O for my size of data. Publication is download-only and has no filters.

High disk I/O is caused by synchronization (when no subscribers are synchronizing, everything is ok), strongly correlated with number of subscribers. It happens even when no data is changed at Publisher between synchronizations, and that bothers me.

  • Size of replicated table: 7MB (total count of rows is about 100)
  • tempdb I/O : ~30 MB/sec for write (log and data files)
  • Number of subscribers: slightly over 100, each synchronizing every 30 minutes (more or less evenly).
  • Retention period set to 14 days

Using SQL Server 2008 at Publisher, SQL Server 2005-2008R2 at Subscribers. All subscribers use Web Synchronization.

Additionally, synchronization at subscriber takes a lot of time, with multiple occurrences in replmerg.log like these:

DatabaseReconciler, 2015/04/21 12:13:40.348, 3604, 25088,  S2,  
Sending client ReconcilerPhase WebSyncReconcilerPhase_RegularDownload     

DatabaseReconciler, 2015/04/21 12:13:47.063, 3604, 25194,  S2,  
Received server ReconcilerPhase WebSyncReconcilerPhase_LastRegularDownload

Tried setting @stream_blob_columns on and off with no effect.

The question is: Is it a good idea to use merge replication to send these blobs to subscribers? We have other publications (though they have no BLOB columns) with a lot of data without tempdb problem. Is it an SQL Server flaw, or bad setup?

Publisher and Distributor are on the same instance, SQL Server 2008 SP4, cannot be sure about Subscribers, some of them maybe not up-to-date. Anyway, I can prepare a test environment with few subscribers having controlled versions, if it seems to help.

Confirmed, that excessive tempdb usage caused by execution of sys.sp_MSenumgenerations90. Checked MSMerge_genhistory table, found over 1.2 millions of records where pubid is null.

Found this conversation with replication guru:

Executed sp_mergemetadataretentioncleanup with no effect.

Found a remark on a case like this (too much rows in MSmerge_genhistory) where deleting rows where pubid is null and genstatus=1 helped to fix replication.

Deleted rows where pubid is null (implying that all Subscribers are synchronized, and which are not - will be reinitialized in "manual mode") and disk IO is back to normal again!

I have a feeling, that this situation could be caused by the fact, that all of my Subscribers are anonymous via WebSync and most of them have the same hostname. I'll try to check, if -hostname key helps not to multiply records in MSmerge_genhistory.


There is a TechNet blog that discusses some merge replication issues with blobs on a SQL Server 2008 or higher server.


Note that the author cautions about which settings to use when there are SQL Server 2005 clients, such as you have.

  • Thanks, but I have read this already and @stream_blob_columns has no effect. (It is false by default and switching it to true didn't fix the problem) – Marvin Apr 21 '15 at 13:36

I had a similar problem with a customers server which cause could not be solved. The high amount of IO slowed down the storage and affected several systems. I cannot provide a solution to solve the cause itself, but it might an (temporary) option which solves the resulting problem and gives you more time to identify and solve the cause.

We have solved the IO-problem while moving the tempdb to a ramdisk. In our case we had to act fast, as other systems became temporary unresponsive due performance problems. Instead of changing the server setting, we copied the tempdb-files to the ramdisk, create a backup of the original files and replaced them with symlinks. The ramdisk loads an image which contains the tempdb-files. The sql-services has been delayed to be sure the ramdisk has started and loaded the image before the sql-service starts. Effective downtime for switching from disk to ram took less than a minute.

In our case we improved the performance massively and solved the problem with the storage. The solution works very well for our customer and in the end it has become a permanent solution.


Brent is define why we need to increase the tempDb data file.you can refer below link


  • 2
    Thanks for the link, but adding more files won't reduce the amount of IO required. – Brent Ozar Feb 15 '17 at 21:14

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