As a SharePoint consultant I get to see a lot of things about SharePoint that bug people. This blog post is dedicated to one of those SharePoint annoyances, a GUID at the end of the Central Admin content database.
If you do a regular, wizard driven configuration of SharePoint Central Admin is created. This is the part after the bits are installed, but before SharePoint is configured. The Configuration Wizard runs and if it's a new farm it sets up the farm. Part of that setup is creating the Central Admin web app, and its content database. Web apps in SharePoint can have many content databases. When you add a content database to SharePoint it checks to see if the database exists. If it does, then SharePoint adds the existing database to your web app. If the database doesn't exist, SharePoint creates it, then adds it to the web app. This is important when the configuration wizard creates the Central Admin web app. If SharePoint used a well-known name for the Central Admin content database, like "Admin_Content" then if that database already existed, the existing one would get mounted. This could happen since a SQL instance can hold the databases for many SharePoint farms. To keep this from happening the configuration wizard throws a random GUID at the end of the database name. For some folks, having a GUID in a database name really cheeses them off. To prevent this, you can script the configuration of your farm with a daunting combination of psconfig.exe and stsadm.exe commands. It's not for the faint of heart. Until recently when a customer took exception to the GUIDed database names I was able to tell give them the explanation you just read, explain to them that no other databases will be GUIDed against their well, and we move on.
Recently a customer voiced that same concern, and we had the same talk. Unfortunately they had some 3rd party software that didn't like the GUID in the database name. All my sweet talking was no good. I was forced to find a solution. It took a couple of minutes, then it occurred to me, Central Admin is just a site collection, so I can handle it like any other site collection. I ended up creating a 2nd content database for Central Admin and giving it a more reasonable name. Then I used STSADM's mergecontentdbs operations to move the Central Admin site collection to the new content database. Then we were free to dismount the GUIDed database in Central Admin and delete it in SQL. That made for a happy customer. Below are the steps I took. There's not a man, woman or child alive that doesn't like screenshots. So I've added lots of them to show what I did.
Here's where we start:
Here's how it looks in Central Admin:
First step was to add a new content database to move the site collection to.
Here's the next step
Now we have two content databases:
Next is a screenshot of the next few things I did on the Command Prompt to move the site collection. The line outlined in red is the actual command that moves the site collection.
I used "stsadm –o mergecontentdbs" with the full move option.
Now I can go into Central Admin and delete the GUIDed database. Central Admin will look like this:
There is one final, satisfying step left:
(And the crowd goes wild!)
Hope that helps clean up some SQL instances.