Best practices for content deployment when server is both source as well as destination?

Jan 27, 2010 at 2:34 PM

I've dabbled around with SharePoint Content Deployment Wizard as well as the 'Save this site as a template' option in WSS 3.0. I'm wondering what method you'd recommend to me in the following scenario:

We're creating a template for a specific type of site that we're going to duplicate for our customers and then customize it. It's currently residing in a subsite of the site collection e.g. http://<rootsitecollection>/<subsite>/PortalTemplate. The customer sites are individual sites in the root of the site collection e.g. http://<rootsitecollection>/customersite. We develop the Portal Template, and then simply 'copy' it to the root of the site collection and name it appropriately.

I've so far found two ways of doing this:

1) Save this site as a Template in WSS 3.0. Works flawlessly with small sites. Problem is, there is maximum size allowed for the template, and if the Portal Template site itself grows too big, this method won't suffice.

When this works, the site would be created using the template. Easy, as long as it doesn't exceed the maximum template size. (horrible limit btw)

2) Use SharePoint Content Deployment Wizard to export the Portal Template site, and then import it to the root of the site collection. I've used this application in the past in various scenarios, and most of the time I've gotten it right. However I'm concerned over duplicate object identities. As far as I've understood, if I'm using the SPCDW to "Copy" a site in the method I described, I must not retain object identity. AFAIK when the content is deployed on the same server as a duplicate site, object identity should not be retained. Consider this scenario a little further:

Each time I use SPCDW to "copy" a site, I first export the PortalTemplate, then import it to the root site, and rename the portal and change it's path to suit the new portal name and path. 

Thus I have the original PortalTemplate site http://<path>/<subsite>/PortalTemplate
I have the copies e.g. http://<path>/<Customer1>, http://<path>/<Customer2>, http://<path>/<Customer2>, etc. 


Question is, would you recommend I practice this PortalTemplate copying process using method 1) or 2)?

I've also another question: If I practice the method 2), and never tick the 'retain object identity' box, and always rename the portals as well as their paths, will I have possible problems in the future due to potentially duplicate objects in the database? AFAIK I copy complete Sites (Webs), and each copy of the PortalTemplate site is meant to be unique. I've tried to understand Stefan Gossners recommendations on avoiding common problems, but I can't really grasp on how it would apply in my case here.


Thanks in advance,

Jan 28, 2010 at 5:53 PM

You didn't list stsadm export/import; that might be a third option for you.

Chris O'Brien has an article on methods of moving data and tradeoffs that you may find useful: