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We migrate the Content and Metadata databases to our Test environment from Production, although I was recently asked if we should be moving the User Profile Service databases as well. I don't really find it useful to bring the three database, we do run CBA and migrate the external database that contains the logins although there seems to be little that we need from the Profile databases since we utilize more of the data from our own site. I don't have a good answer as to why we should or should not.

Has anyone migrated the databases from one environment to another? Are the User Profile databases as necessary if we are using Custom web parts that pull more data from our own DB? We do run synchronization but there isn't much that we use, except to keep the accounts in sync, so it seems like we could get away with not using these.

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I think in the case of the User Profile Service Application databases the recommendation is to replicate, rather than propagate these between farms. I don't think you can attach a User Profile database from one farm to another.

If your user profile data is mainly coming from Active Directory I would suggest you just re-import the AD profiles in the other farm.

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Nice, that could work. Or we could just do things the way we are doing if we don't really care about this although if we ever need to pull down the data at least I know how we should look at doing it. Thanks! –  MichaelF May 19 '11 at 10:29
    
It is possible to copy the user profile database between farms -- I have done it before. It's definitely not the best approach and depends on the two farms being in the same domain. You can copy the profile and social DB, but not the sync db. I don't know if doing this is supported, but given the delicate nature of modifying databases directly, I would assume if there were any issues Microsoft PSS would suggest reinstalling the farm and refuse to support it. –  shufler Nov 29 '11 at 18:58

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