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I Fix Drupal: Synchronising production Drupal database to a dev environment

Drush has a great feature that allows you to limit the data that will be exported when you dump a database. Using this feature you can pull the schema for the entire database while specifying tables who's data you wish to ignore. This can substantially reduce the time it takes to complete an sync operation, especially the time spent importing the DB on the target.
The key to this piece of magic lies inside drushrc.php, where you can predefine those lists of tables that do not require data to be dumped using this option.
$options['structure-tables']['common'] = array('cache', 'cache_*', '...

Source: 
http://ifixdrupal.co.uk/content/synchronising-production-drupal-database-dev-environment