Replication Backward Compatibility

APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server noAzure SQL Database noAzure SQL Data Warehouse noParallel Data Warehouse

Backward compatibility is important to understand if you are upgrading, or if you have more than one version of SQL Server in a replication topology.

The general rules are:

  • A Distributor can be any version as long as it is greater than or equal to the Publisher version (in many cases the Distributor is the same instance as the Publisher).
  • A Publisher can be any version as long as it less than or equal to the Distributor version.
  • Subscriber version depends on the type of publication:
    • A Subscriber to a transactional publication can be any version within two versions of the Publisher version. For example: a SQL Server 2012 (11.x) Publisher can have SQL Server 2014 (12.x) and SQL Server 2016 (13.x) Subscribers; and a SQL Server 2016 (13.x) Publisher can have SQL Server 2014 (12.x) and SQL Server 2012 (11.x) Subscribers.
    • A Subscriber to a merge publication can be all versions equal to or lower than the Publisher version which are supported as per the versions life cycle support cycle.

Replication Matrix

Transactional Replication Matrix

Publisher Distributor Subscriber
SQL Server 2017 SQL Server 2017 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2016 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2014 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2012 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
     

Merge Replication Support Matrix

Publisher Distributor Subscriber
SQL Server 2017 SQL Server 2017 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2016 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2014 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2012 SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2016
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
SQL Server 2008 R2
SQL Server 2008
     

Additional Resources

Deprecated Features in SQL Server Replication
Replication features that have been retained in Microsoft SQL Server 2017 for backward compatibility, but, which will be removed in a future version of SQL Server.

Breaking Changes in SQL Server Replication
Replication feature changes that might require changes to applications.

Upgrade Replicated Databases
Steps and considerations when upgrading SQL Servers participating in a replication topology.