In working with a few customers recently who are experiencing issues with Content Deployment (CD) in MOSS 2007, it appears CSS now has a huge QFE that addresses a ton of known issues (60+) specific to (CD). For now it looks like you can only get it via Microsoft Customer Support Services (CSS). Like other hotfixes, I bet this QFE pack will be included in a future MOSS update roll up but there are no details or confirmation on this at present.
The QFE pack helps address some of the most common issues with (CD), namely:
- Master page settings are not deployed correctly
- Seemingly random PRIMARY KEY errors (Cannot insert duplicate key in object...)
- Job timeouts for large site collections
- Various issues around replicating and modifying permissions
This pack is a huge step forward and goes a long way to resolving the pain points around (CD), demonstrating the commitment of the product group and sustained engineering teams to address the (CD) conundrum.
If you are affected by the issues above, you can obtain the pack by opening a support case with CSS detailing your issues and requesting the hotfixes 952698 (for WSS 3.0) and 952704 (for MOSS 2007). Before you jump and call CSS, make sure you read Spence's post on "good platform hygiene" first:
MOSS 2007 (CD) is built on top of the WSS 3.0 content migration API, known by many as PRIME. Many of the fixes in the QFE pack address issues rooted in the content migration API. In addition, the MOSS 2007 Publishing Variations capability leverages the content migration API to replicate content across sites. Therefore variations, just like anything else dependent on the content migration API, benefits from this QFE pack although to varying degrees dependent upon your specific scenario.
* It is important to note that the CD pack does not change the by design behavior where the parent Site Collection's content is deployed while a sub-site is being deployed.
Note that these QFEs do not add new functionality to (CD) in MOSS 2007! It is still a single master, one-way direction publish of changes in one environment to another and that target environment should be considered read-only. What to break your content? Try to do any of the three things I just mentioned which seem to be some of the most common issues I see people run into. And before you ask "If I did [it] how do I fix it?" my answer to you is to delete your target environment and schedule a full publish. Don't try to reconcile... please!
But I need MOSS to do those things (two-way sych or a good geo-replication solution)! Are there no options for me?
Now why would I tease you like that to say "no"? You bet there are options... in fact a fantastic option in my mind albeit you'll have to add some additional licensing costs to your budget. Syntergy's Replicator that does this for you! You install it on two of your servers and it keeps both environments in sync... just like it should. Unlike other products it snaps right into SharePoint and talks to the API, not to the database (note: there are other products out there that are similar to Replicator, but they talk directly to the SP database... a BIG no-no... don't do that! Make sure you ask before you buy another solution.) It's very fast as the two servers are not constantly talking to each other. Instead everything is event based and also leverages the Microsoft' BITS to transfer the data between the two servers... and it doesn't sync the entire contents of a file... only the changed bits. They recently added an optional add-on to Replicator called Presentation Publisher which has the capability to keep Web Part personalization and customizations included as part of the synchronization.