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PRB: SQL Server Enterprise Manager Reports That the Replication Agent Is Suspect

This article was previously published under Q285106
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
When a replication agent run time exceeds the value of the inactivity threshold, SQL Server Enterprise Manager reports that the replication agent is suspect.

For example, if you are using the 10 minute default value as the inactivity threshold, and the replication agent run time exceeds 10 minutes, you receive the following error message:
Message 20554 Severity 10 "The agent is suspect. No activity reported within the last 10 minutes."
You can safely ignore this error message.
This behavior occurs because the replication agent is too busy to respond when SQL Server Enterprise Manager polls the replication agent; therefore, SQL Server Enterprise Manager does not know the status of the replication agent and it cannot report whether the replication agent is functioning or not.

There are many reasons why the replication agent is busy: There may be a lot of data that is being replicated, or there may be configuration or replication-design issues that result in processes that run for a long time.
To work around this behavior, increase the inactivity threshold to reduce the frequency of the message.

Changing this value does not fix anything. Instead, it changes how frequently the replication agent is polled for its current status. To change the value of the inactivity threshold:
  1. In SQL Server Enterprise Manager, under Replication Monitor, right-click the replication agent folder, and then click Refresh Rate and Settings.
  2. Set the value to the number of minutes that you want the replication agent to wait between the polling of the replication agent.
Unless you receive additional error messages that indicate that there is a problem with the replication agent, the "agent is suspect" message is only an informational message. When you receive this message, do not stop the replication agent if there are no additional related errors. If you stop the replication agent, it rolls back the process in which it is engaged, and then you must restart the process; instead, wait for the process to complete.
This behavior is by design.
You can also check the system for other errors or error messages and verify whether anything is preventing the replication agent from completing its work:
  1. In SQL Server Enterprise Manager, with Replication Monitor turned on, check the following items for more information about the replication agent:
    • Look for additional error messages, such as:
      Message 20536 Severity 10 "Replication: Agent Failure"
    • Right-click the replication agent, and then look for error details. If there are not any errors, the Error Details option is dimmed (unavailable).
    • Right-click the replication agent, and then view the replication agent history.
  2. On the computer where the replication agent is running (which not necessarily the same computer that you are using to check the status), click Start, point to Programs, and then click Administrative Tools. In Event Viewer, see whether there are any reported errors.
  3. You can turn on the replication agent log to verify that activity is still occurring. If you see new entries after you receive the "agent is suspect" error message, this indicates that the replication agent is still functioning. However, if you do not see any new entries, this does not necessarily indicate that the replication agent is not functioning.For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    312292 HOW TO: Enable Replication Agents for Logging to Output Files in SQL Server
  4. Use SQL Query Analyzer to connect to the instance of SQL Server where the replication agent is running, and then run the sp_who2 stored procedure. Make sure the system process ID (SPID) that is associated with the replication agent is not blocked by another process. If there is blocking, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
    224453 INF: Understanding and Resolving SQL Server 7.0 or 2000 Blocking Problems

Article ID: 285106 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 23:49:49 - Revision: 4.2

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition, Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 Standard Edition

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