I was quite surprised when researching this topic that there is not a straight forward method of migrating information through Windows SharePoint Services administrative interface. I thought I would summarise my findings in a series of posts.
The content migration APIs provide a simple but flexible solution for migrating content between Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 web sites & web site collections. You can export the content related to a Windows SharePoint Services Web site, along with any dependencies (for example, security, roles, versioning, and other metadata), into single or multiple XML-formatted files called content migration packages. On import to the destination Web site, the packaged data is extracted and interpreted. You can also save the packages to a file server before migrating to a different server.
These APIs are not a replacement for a backup and restoration purposes.
There are three main ways to use the content migration APIs:
Using Stsadm.exe, you can use the import and export operations to migrate data. However, you are limited in scope to a Web site only. In addition, you do not have the option of retaining GUIDs, which can be necessary in certain scenarios.
You can use the ExportWeb and ImportWeb methods implemented in the Sites Web service to migrate data from a remote server. But, as is the case with Stsadm.exe, you are limited in scope to a Web site only. You also do not have the ability to retain GUIDs, which can be a requirement in certain scenarios.
- Content migration object model
The object model provides the most control over your data migration scenarios. Using the object model, you can migrate anything, from a Web site to an item in a list, or a single document in a library. You can choose whether to include information about security, versioning, user roles, and other metadata appropriate to the objects you are migrating. The content migration object model is implemented in the Microsoft.SharePoint.Deployment namespace.
Drop in later to read my following posts as I dive into each of these methods of using the content migration APIs.