It looks like the SAS® 9.2 Replication Wizard has recently been deprecated. I spotted a new SAS usage note about it the other day: Usage Note 40834: The Replication Wizard in SAS® 9.2 has been deprecated.
The Replication Wizard is, or perhaps I should now say was, a feature available in the SAS 9.2 Management Console (via Metadata Manager > Metadata Utilities > Replication) that could be used to completely replicate metadata from a source environment into a target environment (such as Development to Test , Lev3 to Lev2 etc). The alternative to replication is to promote selected subsets of metadata using the import/export wizards and SAS package (.SPK) files. This selective promotion method is sometimes known as partial promotion. Although replication might sound tempting initially, in practice the import/export methods are much more versatile (as long as they support the metadata you want to promote – significant improvements with SAS 9.2).
Unlike import/export where you promote a subset of metadata, with replication you were promoting all of the metadata in one hit (with optional substitution of things like host names, ports, paths etc), completely discarding any existing metadata in the target environment. You had to configure a fair bit of infrastructure in order to use replication, perform a few manual steps and then manually promote any associated physical (non-metadata) content. It seemed like a lot of work (and knowledge) for something you would probably only ever use once or twice (if ever), so I think it’s understandable why SAS Institute would retire this feature. I don’t imagine it got used enough to warrant continued development and testing. I suspect that most people used import/export (partial) promotion almost exclusively, even for the initial promotion into a newly installed environment.
I was always a little bit worried with replication that someone might accidentally get the 2 environments reversed and totally wipe out their source environment, overwriting it with metadata from their old or empty target environment! Another good reason to backup both environments before replicating 🙂
One of the benefits to replication was that it allowed you to promote portal pages (which are not currently supported with import/export as far as I know). Although it sounds like a good reason to use replication, you could only ever realistically use it once due to the all-or-nothing nature of replication. After the first replication any portal changes in the target environment (e.g. Production/Lev1) would be lost on subsequent replications. I had heard a rumour that promotion of portal pages was in the pipeline but haven’t heard anything more since. Does anyone reading this know what the current status of support for portal promotion is?
I personally hope that the list of supported metadata objects for the import/export promotion facility is extended in future to include things like ACTs, Users, Groups, Roles, Servers and Portal Pages – things that don’t reside in folders. That would round it out very nicely I think.
Updated 30Sep2010: I just spotted some information about portal content promotion in the SAS® 9.2 Intelligence Platform: Web Application Administration Guide, Third Edition. You can find it in Chapter 20 Introduction to SAS Information Delivery Portal Administration under Main Tasks for Administering the Portal in the section named Promote Portal Content. It states (in part) “Beginning with SAS Information Delivery Portal 4.3, a content promotion tool is available. This tool consists of stand-alone batch scripts, shell scripts, and metadata extraction templates.”
Updated 08Oct2010: In this SAS Discussion Forum comment Technolero mentions that it may be possible to get an early (potentially unsupported) version of the portal content promotion tool by contacting SAS Technical Support.
Updated 16Dec2010: SAS Information Delivery Portal 4.3 was recently released and the SAS documentation updated. There is a link to documentation for the new portal promotion facilities in the post Updated SAS Admin Docs (inc Portal Promotion).