There are quite a number of databases generated during a Sharepoint install and depending on the "Farm" configuration there might be more or less. A lot of SQL DBA's get quite annoyed when all these databases suddenly appear in their system and they have no idea what each database does or why it is there.
I have therefore decided to explain what databases get created during a MOSS install and what the purpose is behind each. A WSS install generates less databases and therefore I decided to focus on a MOSS install as this generates the most.
Lets start by taking a look at a screen shots of the databases generated and then I will explain the purpose of each.
• Config Database for the Farm - Sharepoint_Config - stores configuration information about the servers deployed in the farm , their individual configurations settings and some security information. Without this database there is no Sharepoint.
• Content database for the Admin Console - Sharepoint_AdminContent_GUID - sharepoint uses its own technology to render the web based admin console for Sharepoint. Therefore it needs it's own content database to stored the configuration settings for the web parts used. The actual data configured using this console is stored in the config database for the farm. The name for this database is system generated and cannot be controlled during the installation process and therefore it ends with a GUID.
• Config database for the SSP (Shared Service Providers) - BPS_SharedServices_DB - during the configuration process a SPP is defined to configure all the Shared Services used by Sharepoint. All the Configuration settings for these services are stored in this database. The name of the database can be controlled during the creation process and should be descriptive of the purpose.
• Content database for the SSP Console - BPS_SSP_Content - just like the admin console the SSP also needs a web site to allow you to configure the shared services and these also use web parts and lists. Therefore the SSP also needs its own content database to store these settings.
• SSP Search database - BPS_SharedServices_Search_DB - this database is used by the Enterprise search service to store metadata about the information crawled including security information. This is typically used for information stored external from Sharepoint.
• WSS search database - WSS_Search_sps-dc1 - this database is used by the WSS core components to store metadata about content stored inside the Sharepoint web application content databases. This is created during the installation process.
• Web Application Content - Office_Content - this is the content database for the first user based web site in Sharepoint. Before the users can actually use Sharepoint a "Web Application", Site Collection and Site must be built. This database stores all the information generated within this web application.
• Additional content databases - Office_Content_2 - new content databases can be created to host additional "Site Collections" and "Web Applications" and there could be hundreds of these.
The other databases that are left over in the snapshot is used by other applications that do not have a direct influence on Sharepoint, but can be used in conjunction with the product.
• SQL Server system databases and sample databases
• Project Server 2007 databases
• Live Communication Server 2005 databases.
• Reporting Services databases.