Category Archives: SharePoint

Old McDonald Had a SharePoint Farm E-I-E…IO – Part 2

As an unplanned follow up to my previous post I wanted to reply to some of the feedback I received and take another run at this little IO test. The feedback was generally around “what” I tested rather than the “why” and “how”. I had no doubt the “why” was super clear and I was not interested in debating the “how” because as I said before this is a very informal test so I am glad I did not receive either of those remarks. As for the “what” feedback it boiled down as:

  • You get what you pay for – at $9 a month for Azure and free for EC2 what did you expect?
  • Try testing on a more realistic platform, one that someone may actually expect decent IO.
  • How about a newer “Cloud Ready” OS bro?
  • Hey buddy, we are friends and I work for Rackspace, so why didn’t you include them in the mix?

All are fair comments – so lets take another stab at this and see what paying a bit more money can get us.

Rational

For those that did not read the previous post, the reason I am doing this testing is because the general feeling from a few of us using VMs running in the cloud is the IO seems or feels pretty slow. While Amazon, Windows Azure, and RS give you options when it comes to the number CPUs, network speed, disk space, and RAM it seems when it comes to disk IO you get what you get. While Amazon EC2 does give you designators such as “low” or “high” IO for some of their instances, there is no real indication of what that actually means or how it compares to other providers.

Continue reading Old McDonald Had a SharePoint Farm E-I-E…IO – Part 2

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Old McDonald Had a SharePoint Farm E-I-EIO?

Update: Check out Part 2.spusb

On an email distribution list yesterday someone commented on the disappointing IO performance they received while running a SharePoint Farm with VM roles in Windows Azure. As an Azure user I too had noticed the IO did feel a bit sluggish but with a super fast SSD in my laptop just about any VM these days feels that way. Just a few days earlier I was checking out Amazon’s EC2 pricing and it appears the cost to run a VM in EC2 vs. Azure appear to be about the same for about the same configuration. So naturally the next question is, of the two cloud services which offers better IO?

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Doing a SPRead

I get asked all the time about a good SharePoint reading list. I have always found the SharePoint MCM reading lists a really good start. Some of these items are blogs and papers with additional links which if the reader follows those will normally find it could take a good amount of time to traverse the entire list. There are quite a few SharePoint books out there too but these lists do not include any books. Here are the links to the SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2007 Pre-Reading List for the SharePoint MCM program.

SharePoint 2010 MCM Reading List

SharePoint 2007 MCM Reading List

So get your learn on and start a reading…

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Nothing in the ULS Logs

So have you ever heard this “There is Nothing in the ULS Logs” or better (worse) yet you have experienced it. Yea me too, it’s a real bummer and your next step is to typically crank up the ULS logging verbosity and crossing your fingers. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t – so where next? I have found myself attaching a debugger and looking at the managed exception messages that trail across the debugger window while I reproduce the problem and sometimes these are enough to either provide a line of investigation or possibly the answer to my issue.

Continue reading Nothing in the ULS Logs

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Troubleshooting SharePoint’s Page Output Caching

As a follow up to my previous post When Page Output Caching Does Not OutputI have recorded a video which actually walks you through the steps and issues which I documented in this previous post. So for those of you whom don’t like to read all that much you may watch this video and/or refer back to my previous post on the same subject.

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VMWhere VM Manager

I have a 16GB Lenovo laptop which I use in my daily work. It runs Windows 7 and while you can install SharePoint 2010 on Windows 7 I choose never to do that (you can read more here about why I don’t use Windows 7 as my SharePoint development platform). I am not a big fan of dual, triple, quad, (or whatever comes next) booting, because as soon as I boot into one OS I will likely need to send email or do something which is setup in another OS. I also don’t like running a server OS on my laptop because I use Bluetooth every once in a while and I like the hibernate and sleep functionality Windows 7 provides. So until Windows 8 hits mainstream with its virtualization platform I must resort to running a 3rd party virtualization solution so I chose VMWare Workstation and currently I am running their latest version 8.0.

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MS11-100 Puts the Breaks On Page Output Caching

UPDATE: The SharePoint Foundation 2010 April 2012 has a fix for this issue. Check out http://todd.in/spversions for more information.

Back in December Microsoft released a patch they called MS11-100 which addressed a vulnerability in the .Net Framework. In addition to correcting the original issue it introduced a regression which breaks SharePoint’s Page Output Caching. As mentioned in my previous post while SharePoint puts all the constructs in place for Page Output Caching its really ASP.Net which actually stores and manages the Page Output Cache on SharePoint’s behalf. As ASP.Net decides what to cache for SharePoint it looks at the HttpResponse’s Cookies collection and if any new cookies are being set/sent back to the client the page content will not be cached. As a result the next request for the same page which matches the varyby parameters set to SharePoint will result in a cache miss and the page processing again will occur.

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When Page Output Caching Does Not Output

SharePoint’s Page Output Caching can offer a massive performance boost to publishing sites but only when its working and working correctly. One of the problems I have seen is when some administrators turn on Page Output Caching they just assume it works. While this may be the desire and in most cases it may just work for you I would suggest you verify; and I don’t mean hit the site with the browser to see if it speeds up.

This post is about troubleshooting SharePoint’s Page Output Caching. Now if you don’t use Page Output Caching or yours is working just fine you are the “Master of your Page Output Caching” – as for the rest of us we will likely need to put on our troubleshooting hat and dig a bit deeper. I find troubleshooting anything is allot easier if you know a little about how the component you are troubleshooting operates and how it is suppose to work.

Continue reading When Page Output Caching Does Not Output

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SharePoint UserInfo Table Population Tool

In a previous post I spoke about how importance of pre-populating SharePoint’s Content Database’s UserInfo table with users for landing/root (and/or very popular) sites just before a large release of a new SharePoint web application. While I did mention the API you could call to make all this happen I did not provide any tooling. This post is about a small tool I wrote, which at this point has been used with a couple of customers, to pre-populate UserInfo tables.The tool itself comes in two flavors – one for MOSS 2007 and the other for SharePoint 2010 Server. Both flavors allow you to export users from the User Profile Store to a flat file which can then be imported in a manner which populates the UserInfo table. In addition, the SharePoint 2010 version supports both Windows and Claims users.

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Introduce Users Into the UserInfo Table

When an authenticated user, whom has never visited a site collection, first visits a site there are a number of tables within the Content database which must be updated. This activity can be expensive and performance can suffer when the site collection is the root of a web application which has just been announced or released for the first time into production. In fact, I have seen first hand this behavior take down a very large SQL server upon initial launch of a large intranet site to the point we had to roll back and I have teammates which have had the same experience (hence this post).

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Fabulous Support for the FAB40 on SharePoint 2010

As most of you will know the SharePoint Product Group (PG) released a set of templates for WSS 3.0, known as the FAB40, to assist in addressing common business scenarios. These templates for WSS 3.0 can be downloaded in a single package here. But for those of us running SharePoint 2010 Microsoft is not planning to release new versions of these templates for SharePoint Server 2010 or SharePoint Foundation 2010.

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We Got a Situation With The Federation

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Over the last week my team has received reports from customers running both MOSS 2007 and SharePoint 2010 that Federated Search Results are no longer working. The Federated location in question seems to be centered around Bing/live.com.

I setup a test this morning in my SP2010 lab and I can confirm the out of the box (OOB) “Internet Search Results” Federated location is no longer working. In fact when you add the Federated Web Part on a Search Results page and choose this location a very long delay will occur when attempting to render the search results page. Doing a sniff I can see the original request for search.live.com gets redirected to bing.com which has been typical in the past however the difference is that instead of being an RSS response, as specified in the format query string parameter, the response is sent back in HTML which injects a delay as the results are processed. Eventually the results cannot be processed and the Search Federated Results Web Part does not render any output.

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A Search SQL Index Issue

Ran into an issue the other day on SharePoint 2010 Search when configuring Managed Properties, specifically I was setting the MaxCharactersInPropertyStoreIndex value on a Managed Property. This is an integer value and is documented here. The maximum value for this property is 450 however if you set this value to its maximum value you will start seeing errors with your crawls and in our case the crawls never would complete. Taking a look at the application event log we can see the following error logged:

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The User Profile Service Heats up With a June CU Regression

Just in time for summer break here in the US the SharePoint product team has released a good number of fixes for SharePoint 2010. Service Pack 1 and the June Cumulative Update (CU) is now available for download. These are fairly substantial updates when you consider the number of bugs that have been fixed and in the case of SP1 the new improvements which have been made. To put it another way, SharePoint Server 2010 is about 1.47 GB and the Uber Package for the June CU (Foundation+Server) has a size of just about 1 GB.

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 4: Writing a Custom Usage Receiver

This is the 4th article and last article in a series where I have been discussing the extensibility offered with the SharePoint 2010 Usage and Health services. If you have read all the prior articles to this point then bravo for you! I really hope this last article was worth the wait. At this point I have provided an overview of the Health and Usage Service, discussed the development of a Custom Usage Provider and showed you how to create custom Health reports and host those within Central Administration. This last article covers my favorite Health and Usage extensibility; “Usage Receivers”. In fact, here is a little secret I will let you in on, to build its analytic reports the SharePoint Web Analytics Service application uses a Usage Receiver to grab all its data from the OOB Request Usage Provider. So take a look at the SharePoint 2010 Web Analytics with all its data and rich reporting and know that all came from a Usage Receiver. 

If you missed the prior articles the list below is for you, otherwise lets jump into the article…

  1. Feature and Capability Overview
  2. Writing a Custom Usage Provider
  3. Writing Custom Reports
  4. Writing a Custom Usage Receiver (this article)

Continue reading Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 4: Writing a Custom Usage Receiver

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 3: Writing Custom Reports

This is the third article of a 4 part series where I discuss the extensibility of the new Health and Usage Services built into SharePoint 2010. In the second article we created a custom Usage Provider which collected download information and stored it into the Usage Database. Now its time to take a look at the data which has been collected and report on it. We will do this by extending the Health Reports which currently only include reports for Slowest Pages and Top Active Users – we should have more and we will.. 

Other articles in this series are as follows:

Continue reading Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 3: Writing Custom Reports

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 2: Writing a Custom Usage Provider

blog-usage-image7This is the second article in a 4 part series were I discuss the new Health & Usage Services built into SharePoint 2010 and how they can be extended to build some very interesting solutions. In this article I will discuss the process around creating a custom usage provider, dive into some internals, and provide code examples which will pull it all together.

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Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 1: Feature and Capability Overview

This is the first article in a 4 part series were I discuss the Health & Usage Services built into SharePoint 2010 and how they can be extended to build some very interesting solutions. My hope is that after reading the series you find really cool ways to use the Usage Services and I hope to hear back on what you all have built.

The 4 part series breaks down as so with all parts will be published in quick succession so I won’t keep you waiting for the ending.

  1. Feature and Capability Overview (this article)
  2. Writing a Custom Usage Provider
  3. Writing Custom Reports
  4. Writing a Custom Usage Receiver

Continue reading Extending The SharePoint 2010 Health & Usage – Part 1: Feature and Capability Overview

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