On a test rig, I'm trying to get SQL Server 2005 peer to peer (transactional) replication working, with the replication agents running under the
NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE account.
Before this I setup a peer to peer replication with the agents running under the SQL Server agent service account (i.e. SYSTEM account) and I created a security group in AD containing the machine accounts. I gave this group the neccessary permissions on the dbs, PAL, distributor. This worked fine.
If I try to do the exact same setup with the agents running as NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE (or NT AUTHORITY\NETWORKSERVICE - no space, I tried both), I see the following error in replication monitor:
Unable to start execution (reason: Error authenticating proxy Nt Authority\Network Service, system error: Logon Failure: unknown username or bad password)
I have also tried making Network Service a sql login on each server, and giving it the sysadmin role. This made no difference. Is it simply not possible to run a replication agent as network service?
(note - I am aware I can use an AD account with a username/password. For various reasons we don't want to do that in this instance)