Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Dan Holme's column this week about SharePoint governance and the importance of managing your content database.

The last few days, I was feeling a bit under the weather, which is unfortunate because the weather here in Hawaii has been unusually gorgeous the last few weeks. All I wanted to do was be outside watching surfers, snorkeling with seals and turtles, and whale watching—it’s been a great few weeks here to be sure. Instead, I was in my office having trouble focusing on anything and finding myself deluged with a mountain of digital garbage. My business hit the “tipping point” as several of our storage options—servers, NAS devices, and cloud-based storage—all managed to fill up at just about the same time. Most problematically, one of my SharePoint content databases was much bigger than I would want it to be for manageable backup and restore.

I also discovered that one of our web applications (actually our most important one) had managed to get three additional content databases attached to it without the correct settings, and so site collections had managed to get created in the wrong content DB. What I was reminded of was the importance of content promotion and demotion strategies for SharePoint and other digital information in an enterprise. Let me explain…

SharePoint makes it easy for users to generate and store content. That’s its beauty. But all that content goes into content databases in SQL Server, where it’s not exactly easy to manage. Of course, the object of interest in this discussion is the content database, which can store one or more site collections.

The content database is the object you should be managing carefully, because it’s the most straightforward level of backup and restore, database protection, etc. And when it comes to managing content storage—particularly “throwing out” the digital garbage—nothing is easier than simply decommissioning site collections that live in a content database and detaching or deleting that database.

That’s why it’s particularly important that you consider the mapping of your site collections (and therefore sites) to content databases. To read the rest of his column, visit the SharePointPro Connections website.