Configure the Servers

First, configure your master server's httpd.conf file in the usual way. Make the repository available at a certain URI location, and configure authentication and authorization however you'd like. After that's done, configure each of your “slave” servers in the exact same way, but add the special SVNMasterURI directive to the block:

<Location /svn>
  DAV svn
  SVNPath /var/svn/repos
  SVNMasterURI http://master.example.com/svn
  …
</Location>

This new directive tells a slave server to redirect all write requests to the master. (This is done automatically via Apache's mod_proxy module.) Ordinary read requests, however, are still serviced by the slaves. Be sure that your master and slave servers all have matching authentication and authorization configurations; if they fall out of sync, it can lead to big headaches.

Next, we need to deal with the problem of infinite recursion. With the current configuration, imagine what will happen when a Subversion client performs a commit to the master server. After the commit completes, the server uses svnsync to replicate the new revision to each slave. But because svnsync appears to be just another Subversion client performing a commit, the slave will immediately attempt to proxy the incoming write request back to the master! Hilarity ensues.

The solution to this problem is to have the master push revisions to a different <Location> on the slaves. This location is configured to not proxy write requests at all, but accept normal commits from (and only from) the master's IP address:

<Location /svn-proxy-sync>
  DAV svn
  SVNPath /var/svn/repos
  Order deny,allow
  Deny from all
  # Only let the server's IP address access this Location:
  Allow from 10.20.30.40
  …
</Location>