Content Deployment Phases
The content deployment process is divided into several different phases which are partly performed on the source and partly on the target server.
This phase is unique to jobs that are started through the Central Admin UI. In this phase, the code in the UI of the exporting server creates the one time timer job that will perform the export.
This phase is performed on the exporting server of the source farm. It uses the WSS content deployment and migration API to export the relevant content for the specific content deployment job. The content will be exported into a flat file structure in a temporary directory on the exporting server.
This phase is performed on the exporting server of the source farm. It is done internally in the WSS content deployment and migration API and compresses the exported files into one or multiple cabinet files (cab files). These files will be stored again in a temporary folder on the exporting server.
This phase is performed by the exporting server on the source farm. It uses functionality provided by the content deployment feature coming with MOSS 2007. This phase transfers the cabinet files using http upload to the importing server on the target farm where it ends up in a temporary folder.
This phase is performed by the importing server on the target farm. It is done internally in the WSS content deployment and migration API and decompresses the cabinet files into a temporary folder on the importing server.
This phase is performed by the importing server on the target farm. The import is performed using the WSS content deployment and migration API which reads the content from the temporary directory where the decompressed files are located and generates the content in the target site collection.
Content Deployment Path and Job
Content Deployment is built on two underlying conceptual objects: content deployment path and job.
Content Deployment Path
Content Deployment allows the deployment of content from exactly one site collection on the source farm to exactly one site collection on the target farm.
The link between the source and target site collection is called a content deployment path. You can have multiple content deployment paths in your farm as long as you don't have multiple paths that reference the same source and target site collection.
A content deployment path is always defined on the source farm.
It is possible to have two content deployment paths linking one site collection on the source farm with two different site collections on the target farm.
It should be noted that the source and target site collection can reside in the same farm. So a path can point from one site collection to a second site collection in the same farm as long as the two site collections reside in different databases.
You cannot have source and target site collection in the same database. Performing a deployment along such a path would cause exceptions during import as it would cause items with the same ID to exist twice in the same database which is not supported by SharePoint.
For the same reason you also cannot have multiple target site collections which receive content from the same source site collection in the same database.
Content Deployment Job
It is possible to create one or more content deployment jobs for a single content deployment path. Each job can be of a different type (full, incremental or quick deployment) and can be configured with a different schedule.
For all jobs except quick deploy jobs it is possible to configure different content deployment jobs for the same path to deploy different parts of the source site collection. This is done by selecting specific sites that should be deployed with this specific job. Using this method it would be possible to deploy one part of the site daily and a second part which contains more frequently updated information hourly.
Quick Deploy jobs cannot be created manually. They will be created automatically when saving the content deployment path if the source site collection has the publishing feature enabled. There can only be one Quick Deploy job per path.
The content deployment job is always defined on the source farm. During the deployment to the target farm a "shadow" content deployment job will be created on the target farm to perform the import operation. This job will automatically be deleted after the import has been completed.
Also be aware that this "shadow" job will not show up in the content deployment paths and jobs page in the target farm as this job will not be bound to a content deployment path.