Editor's Note: Send your SQL Server questions to Richard Waymire, Microsoft's group program manager for SQL Server management tools, at questions@sqlmag.com.

I'm trying to decide whether to use log shipping or replication to keep a warm backup server ready in case the primary server fails. My 20 databases claim about 4GB of space. I run intranet applications that access Visual Basic (VB) COM objects in Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS). Which method do you recommend?

Microsoft designed log shipping specifically for use in your scenario. Although replication will work, you can't know how well. For example, after a switchover, you need to know exactly which transactions the standby server holds. When you use replication, that information isn't available, and you have to be willing to lose a certain number of transactions. However, when you use log shipping, you can find out which transactions the standby server holds because you know the last point of consistency.