We have a very small Sharepoint Foundation 2010 farm with a library and some workflows. We want to build this originally on one server using SQL Server Express 2008 R2.

However, there is a chance this could grow into something bigger in which obviously the design would have to change, but in the meantime...we are treading carefully with a small and cheap environment.

My question stems from Microsoft's article on moving databases: (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc512723.aspx#Alias)

It makes sense for the most part, except for the part where we configure the SQL alias to point to the new SQL database server. Is what Microsoft saying here is that we will always have a pointer which will redirect the system to the new database server? I'm surprised that once you have turned the pointer over to the new system, you cannot go into central admin and change the database servername.

2 Answers 2


Using an alias is best practice and makes it easier to maintain the system over time. It is not a requirement, but simplifies things quite a bit.


You could take your database server offline and configure the new SQL Server using the same name (assuming it is already on a separate machine). The alias involves less risk and allows for less downtime.

If both SharePoint and SQL Server are installed on the same machine and you aim to separate them, sometimes it is worth a look at moving the SharePoint WFE instead. So upgrade SQL Server from Express to Standard, for example, in place. Then create a fresh SharePoint WFE (remember to install Central Admin on it) and join it to the farm. Then remove the original SharePoint server (which also has SQL on it) from the farm.

A lot of this is going to depend on where things are installed currently, how they are named, and the hardware config of the existing machines.

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