I was talking through some ideas with a customer on how to get their data from the internal maintenance database to their external ArcGIS Server publishing site. They wanted to have the external database with fewer datasets and fields than the internal database.
I put together several tools around the ArcGIS Append tool to help with this process. It is something I am doing all of the time, and in a production environment we can’t be dropping tables or trying to make schema changes while map services are running. Geodatabase replication is tempting for some uses, but this approach is a simple, reliable way to move data around between Geodatabases.
It also has the benefit of being useful for new data loads from partners or moving data from prod-test-dev and other uses beyond publishing the data.
You can download the arcpy python tools here.