Replication Agents used with Microsoft SQL Server replication carry out the tasks associated with copying and distributing data. The Active Roles replication model employs the Snapshot Agent and Merge Agents.
The Snapshot Agent prepares schema and initial data files of published tables and stored procedures, stores the snapshot files, and records information about synchronization in the distribution database. In the Active Roles replication model, the Snapshot Agent runs at the Publisher.
The Merge Agent applies the initial snapshot to the Subscriber, and moves and reconciles incremental data changes that occur. Each Subscriber has its own Merge Agent that connects to both the Publisher and the Subscriber and updates both.
In the Active Roles replication model, the Merge Agents run continuously at the Publisher. Each Merge Agent uploads data changes from its Subscriber to the Publisher, and downloads data changes from the Publisher to the Subscriber.