I have one site collection and it has grown to almost 500GB, i want to move one of our departments to a new site collection. It contains 5 sub-sites and in total about 200GB of content, so the end result is 2 content databases that are fairly manageable in terms of backups and restores.

What is the best way to get this done?


I recommend using the stsadm -o mergecontentdbs command. Todd Klindt has an excellent writeup of it at http://www.toddklindt.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=53. It saved me a ton of headaches.

As always, perform a full backup before making any changes!

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  • It must be noted that mergecontentdbs, or its powershell command (Move-SPSite), can only be used to move "site collections", so this does not answer the OP: how to move subsites from one site collection to another – djeeg Apr 13 '11 at 0:27
  • Create a new content database (preferably in a new web application)
  • Duplicate existing site collection (as its in a new content database, same internals guids/ids shouldn't clash)
    1. import/export
    2. backup/restore
    3. content deploy
  • Trim areas from each site collection that you dont want

If you create a new web application and have the new site collection at the same level (eg '/', rather than '/sites/hr'), you should be able to minimise the amount of broken links (depending on if you have used relative or absolute). People's browser favorities are probably going to be destroyed anyway.


Some links on the differcens between methods



And if you have more than 15GB you may need


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  • Thanks djeeg, do i need to duplicate?, means i need to have enough space for another 500GB db initially, is there no way i can use content deployment to just duplicate the sub-site/s and then trim them off the original site collection. i will probably have '/sites/new', i can change user links via a logon script. what will happen with user accounts and permissions? – Singa Apr 12 '11 at 1:56
  • stsadm export can do particular subsites if you need it to, but export/import is not as complete as backup/restore – djeeg Apr 12 '11 at 2:57
  • 3
    you should also remember to lock the site collection before backup / import – Anders Rask Apr 12 '11 at 6:51

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