Merge Replication and our need to upgrade hardware

We’ve all been pretty busy lately with a juicy project. We have a client application that runs on TabletPCs. Among other interesting parts of this project we have SQL Server Merge Replication going on. We used to have a topology of SQL Server Enterprise Edition for the Publisher and Distributor and the reliable MSDE for the subscribers.
A few months ago our excitement increased when the company decided to migrate some of the servers to SQL Server 2005 Ent.
The excitement continue but we’re having quite a few headaches with the replication. Our main problem is the hardware. Our client boxes have merely 500MB of RAM and the recommended requirements for SQL Server 2005 Express edition is 512, oh joy.
We tried to keep MSDE alive and use it still as subscriber but we use some of the features that invalidate the compatibility, in particular the Parameterized Row Filtering. More details on the incompatibility on this MSDN Reference. Please see the topic Compatibility Level for Merge Publications where it specifies that parameterized row filtering requires Compatibility Level for Merge Publications 90RTM or higher.

The solution, it seems we upgrade our subscribers to SQL Server Express 2005 and hope they still work at a decent level with the scarce hardware, or upgrade and hope there is budget for a hardware upgrade too :-p, at the end it’s all about budget, right?

Cheers!

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