Thursday, 18 June 2009

Import Publishing Sub Site as Site Collection

Any farm administrator will eventually feel the need to restructure when they watch in horrid fascination as their once insignficant sub sites grow to monster sites. Current MOSS limitations such as the 15GB limit for the stsadm import/export operations mean that unless you're using a terrifically expesnive 3rd party migration app you need to act fast before things get out of hand

The obvious solution would be to export the site(s) in question and then reimport them to an empty site collection. Yes, that would seem obvious, but it's not quite as straightforward as you might assume. What really compounds the matter is if you happen to have enabled the publishing feature on your source site.

After many days of disappointment and incoherent error messages I finally returned to Gary Lapointe's brilliant blog - SharePoint Automation. Gary has developed dozens of custom stsadm commands in order to fill the cavernous and aching void left by the default offerings. One thread in particular, Subsite to Site Collection, deals with this pesky issue and also includes his own hair-pulling frustration with the out-of-the-box limitations to achieve this. BTW, the solutions he provides are not strictly supported - but they work where nothing else will and are very easy to use.

In my case I simply deleted every failed test and started from scracth using the gl-convertsubsitetositecollection operation. All I had to do was provide the source site and destination URL and the command did the rest.

stsadm -o gl-convertsubsitetositecollection -sourceurl -targeturl http://mydomain/destination -nofilecompression -owneremail -ownerlogin "mydomain\me" -nositetemplate 

This exports the source site, creates the destination site collection and site (based on source site template), and activates any features. The source site was a Team Site with publsihing and several custom features enabled. The only thing I did was create the managed path but this command even has a flag for that!

The only thing it doesn't appear to do (yet) is allow you to specify a new content database. I've already put my request in for this and hope to see it soon. If this helps someone, please thank Gary - not me! :)

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