Virtual replicas are always a great choice to create your different sort orders, though it is important to note that these won't behave the same as standard replicas. The reason is that virtual replicas are not actual indices, while standard replicas are. Because of this reason, virtual replicas has different functionality and some limitations that standard replicas don't have. That said, with virtual replicas you would leverage the benefit to reduce your records usage.
Unlike standard replicas, virtual replicas don’t copy their primary index’s content. While they slightly increase the primary index’s size (less than 10 MB per millions of records), they don’t affect the number of records on your app.
There is a table that compares standard and virtual replicas on this documentation.
Additionally, here are guide articles about virtual replicas that we recommend to check while considering this change:
- Does distinct work with virtual replicas?
- Why is my virtual replica returning less search results?
- Why am I getting less hits in the virtual replica?
- Why is the nbPages not accurate for the virtual replica index?
- Why does my virtual replica not return the same results as my main index?
Finally, we advise to start by creating a virtual replica on a staging environment to better understand if this replica matches with your requirements.