January 7, 2008

MOSS: Backup and restore path-scoped and host-scoped site collections

You cannot backup a host-based site collection and restore it as a path-based site collection. For example, you cannot backup site collection from http://service.company.com and restore it to http://anotherservice.company.com/sitecollection.. You could restore it without problems to http://anotherservice.company.com.

The backup and restore procedures will most probably succeed, but you will run into strange "File not found" errors when accessing some sites. Some sites work fine, but others give the error. When you run IISRESET sites that were working might start giving the error as the sites that were giving the error might start working.

According to MS Support, the site structure must be the same in source and destination environments. So, what it means, is that you cannot really use stsadm backup/restore for moving content between different environments if the structure of the web applications differ.

According to MS Support, the following steps should function as a basis for a workaround, although I haven't tried it. Basically what you do is that you alter the web application site collection structure in source environment before taking the backup. If you have tried this and it worked, please let me know.

Source environment:
Site collection 1: http://serviceA.companyA.com
Site collection 2: http://serviceB.companyA.com

Destination environment:
(where http://serviceA.companyB.com is site collection 1 an /serviceB is site collection 2)

So, the two site collections are backed up from source environment and combined under the same URL in destination environment so that source's site collection 2 is located under the site collection 1.

And finally, the steps for the workaround:
  1. In source environment, create another site collection underneath the Web application where your site collection 1 is located (http://serviceA.companyA.com/serviceB)
  2. In source environment, backup site collection 2
  3. In source environment, remove site collection 2, the web application it belonged to and associated Databases
  4. In source environment, restore the backup of the site collection 2 to the new site collection you created under site collection 1 (http://serviceA.companyA.com/serviceB) in step 1.
  5. Backup and restore to the destination environment.


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