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Design content deployment topology (SharePoint Server 2010)

Published: May 12, 2010

Content deployment is a feature of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 that you can use to deploy content from a source site collection to a destination site collection. This article describes elements of topologies designed for content deployment and illustrates typical content deployment topologies. For an overview of content deployment using SharePoint Server 2010, see Content deployment overview (SharePoint Server 2010). For information about planning to use content deployment with your solution, see Plan content deployment (SharePoint Server 2010).

In this article:

Elements of content deployment topologies

Most content deployment topologies include two or more server farms, to separate the authoring environment from the production environment. A server farm used in content deployment can have one of the following purposes:

  • Authoring   The authoring farm contains the site collection that is used by the team that creates the content.

  • Production   The production farm contains the site collection that presents the content to the intended audience. This farm usually has tightened security.

  • Staging   The staging farm contains a site collection that is a copy of the production site collection, so the content can be reviewed and tested before it is published.

On any farm that exports content, you must specify a single server that hosts the Central Administration Web site as the export server. Similarly, on any farm that imports content, you must specify a single server that hosts the Central Administration Web site as the import server. These are the servers that host the timer jobs that run the export and import operations, and that pack, transport, and unpack the .cab files that contain the content that is exported and imported as part of content deployment. The export and import servers must have sufficient disk space to hold these .cab files in addition to the uncompressed copies of the files before and after compression. For more information about the content deployment process, including a list of important considerations to be aware of when you use content deployment, see Content deployment overview (SharePoint Server 2010).

Typical content deployment topologies

This section illustrates common content deployment topologies.

Two-farm topology

The two-farm topology is a standard Internet site topology, and it is typical of topologies that are used to publish an Internet site, such as a corporation's Internet presence site or a news organization's online news site. It includes two server farms: one to host the authoring site collection along with other sites used by the authoring team, and the other to host the production site collection. For this topology, users of the production server farm belong to a separate Active Directory domain, and some production farm users might be anonymous. This topology is recommended for Internet-facing sites, and for extranet sites where users have read-only access to content.

The following figure shows a standard two-farm topology for content deployment:

Two-stage farm for content deployment

In the two-farm topology, the authoring server farm contains the site collection that is used to author the site's content. A front-end Web server in the authoring farm must be configured to export content from the authoring site collection to the production farm. One server that hosts the Central Administration Web server in the production farm must be configured to import content from the authoring farm.

Often in the two-farm topology, the production farm is hosted in a perimeter network that is protected by outer and inner firewalls to increase security.

Variations on this topology include the following:

  • Single authoring farm publishing to multiple production farms   In this variation, multiple farms are deployed in the perimeter network. Each production farm can have the same content, or sites can vary from farm to farm. This topology can be configured in multiple ways:

    • The authoring farm can deploy to all the production farms.

    • The authoring farm can deploy to one production farm; by using content deployment, that production farm can then deploy to the other production farms.

    note Note:

    Because a content deployment job is based on a path to a specific destination, deployments to multiple production farms are not synchronized. In this scenario, each production farm might have different content until all content deployment jobs have run.

  • Multiple authoring farms publishing to a single production farm   Different authoring teams, each working on their own authoring farm, can work on separate site collections that are published to separate site collections on a single production farm.

Three-stage topology

In some solutions, a three-stage topology is deployed and includes an authoring farm, a staging farm, and a production farm. The staging farm is used to test or review the content, in addition to custom Web Parts or code, before it is published to the production farm. Depending on the size of your SharePoint Server 2010 solution, the site collections for both authoring and staging can be located within the same farm, instead of two separate farms. This topology is recommended for the following situations:

  • Environments where a multistage approval process is a business requirement.

  • Validating content in an environment that more closely reflects the production environment before deploying it to production.

  • Testing the content with custom Web Parts and code before moving it to the production farm.

In a typical three-stage content deployment topology, the authoring farm deploys to both the staging farm and the production farm. A front-end Web server in the authoring farm must be configured to export content. A front-end Web server in both the staging farm and the production farm must be configured to import content.

The following figure shows a standard three-stage topology for content deployment, where the authoring farm deploys content to both the staging farm and the production farm:

Three-stage farm for content deployment

In a variation on the three-stage topology, the authoring farm deploys content to the staging farm, and the staging farm deploys content to the production farm. In this scenario, a server that hosts the Central Administration Web site in the staging farm must be configured to both import and export content.

Single-farm topology

Content deployment can be configured for use in a single server farm. In this topology, authors work in one site collection, and content is deployed to a duplicate publishing site collection on the same farm. The site collections used for authoring and production use separate content databases on the same database server. The site collections can be in the same Web application, or in separate Web applications. Security is managed by granting users permissions to the content rather than by using separate Active Directory domains. This topology is recommended for Intranet environments, external environments where verification of content or code in a staging environment is not a business requirement, and for segregating security settings and authentication between two locations when only one farm is available or necessary.

The following figure shows a single-farm topology, where a site collection in one Web application is deployed to a site collection in another Web application in the same farm:

Single publishing farm for content deployment
note Note:

Using content deployment with a single-farm topology might not be the best approach for your SharePoint Server 2010 solution. One alternative to using content deployment is to extend the Web application. This option lets you have a separate IIS Web site that uses a shared content database to expose the same content to a different set of users. This is typically used for extranet deployments in which different users access content by using different domains. For information about extending a Web application, see Extend a Web application (SharePoint Server 2010). For a list of alternatives to using content deployment, see Plan content deployment (SharePoint Server 2010).

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