Tuesday, March 24, 2009

PerformancePoint to be included with SharePoint 2007 Enterprise!

Microsoft’s vision for Business Intelligence has always been about pervasive access to information. Having more people access the right information enables smarter, timelier decisions, stronger collaboration on projects, facilitates accountability throughout the organization, and propels the company forward.

As part of this vision, PerformancePoint scorecarding and dashboarding capabilities will now become part of SharePoint Enterprise CAL and available to customers who are on SharePoint SA. This means that customers who want to deploy PerformancePoint can do so today at no additional cost.

In mid 2009, Microsoft will release PerformancePoint Server 2007 “service pack 3” which will include updates to the current product’s planning module. This change will enable customers to deploy a complete BI solution with existing investments in SharePoint Server, SQL Server, and Excel.

Whereas SharePoint is tremendously successful, Microsoft PerformancePoint never reached the BI for the masses stage. Not all organizations who license MOSS throw their non Microsoft BI solution overboard tomorrow, but many will consider replacing existing solutions overtime with PerformancePoint. At the same time there will be a huge boost in favor of Microsoft for new, to be developed solutions.

The downside of the move is that some essential parts of the BI Microsoft stack are eliminated. Ask every user who used the ProClarity Desktop Professional and he or she will tell you it is one of the best clients for the BI professional business user. Although Microsoft always had in mind to "kill" ProClarity's "fat" client, Excel is not the answer for many Enterprise BI solutions.

The desktop solution has been one an essential piece of the puzzle winning deals. If that functionality does not come back into Microsoft’s new BI roadmap, it opens the door for the competition to deliver BI in the Enterprise space.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

401.1 Errors with Reporting Services and CNAMES in Windows 2003 SP1

The first part of this is a republish from an earlier 401.1 post, but this also relates to Reporting Services with CNAMEs. So, rather than a lot of jumping around, I’ve decided to just post the duplicate to make this resolution easier. Keep in mind that I’ve added the step to reboot the server after each step. If you are doing all three, wait until the end to reboot and mitigate your downtime.

The first error is the 401.1 when you browse a Web site that uses Integrated Authentication and is hosted on IIS 5.1 or IIS 6. This pertains to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) which included a loopback check security feature designed to help prevent reflection attacks on your computer. Therefore, authentication fails if the FQDN or the custom host header that you use does not match the local computer name.

Resolution: Disable the loopback check
Follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
2. In Registry Editor, locate and then click the following registry key:
3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa
4. Right-click Lsa, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
5. Type DisableLoopbackCheck, and then press ENTER.
6. Right-click DisableLoopbackCheck, and then click Modify.
7. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
8. Quit Registry Editor, and then restart your computer


The next problem is when a client computer connects to a Microsoft Windows Server 2003-based computer by using an alias name, the client may receive additional 401.1 errors or something like:

System error 52 has occurred.
A duplicate name exists on the network.

This problem can occur when you try to connect to the server by using a CNAME alias that is created in the DNS zone. The server is not "listening" on the alias, and therefore is not accepting connections to that name.

Resolution: Disable Strict name Checking
Follow these steps:
1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
2. Locate and click the following key in the registry:
3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters
4. On the Edit menu, click Add Value, and then add the following registry value:
5. Value name: DisableStrictNameChecking
6. Data type: REG_DWORD
7. Radix: Decimal
8. Value: 1
9. Quit Registry Editor.
10. Restart your computer.

For Reporting Services using cname, you need to do these last steps:

Edit the RSWebApplication.config file to update the report server URL, that Report Manager uses to connect to the report server:

Delete the default entry in ReportServerVirtualDirectory
Type the new URL using host headers in ReportServerURL
The configuration should look like this:

http://myhostheader/reportserver


Edit the reportserver.config file to update the report server URL, that Report Server uses to connect:
Replace the URLRoot tag with the CNAME
The configuration should look like this:

http://myhostheader/reportserver

Friday, March 13, 2009

Resources Checked Out And Won't Sync

This is an oldie, but a goodie! Suppose you have an automated or manually initiated Active Directory Synchronization, either on your Groups or Resource Pool. During synchronization you get a failure on a resource. The next time you try to synchronize, you get more failures, similar to this one:

Standard Information:PSI Entry Point:
Project User: DOMAINNAME\username
Correlation Id: c79f3275-d271-4d4d-b052-b5e641003f5d
PWA Site URL: http://servername/projectserver
SSP Name: SharedServices1
PSError: Success (0)
Changes were detected for a resource during Project Server Active Directory Synchronization. However, the changes could not be applied because the resource could not be checked out. The checkout failed because the resource is checked out to another user. Resource GUID: 413baade-8372-493b-b271-c417c2852d53


What’s happened is that during the process, the system will (1) check-out, (2) modify and (3) check-in the resource. However, on the first failure, the resource never got checked in. You can go to the Force Enterprise Check In and notice that the resource in question isn’t in the list as you’d expect. Don’t Panic! Here’s what to do:

Note: You will need access to the SQL Server Management Studio and an account that can write to the database to do the following:

  1. Start a new Query
  2. Select ProjectServer_Published (or whatever you named the Published DB)
  3. In the query type in the following to check back in the resources:
UPDATE MSP_RESOURCES
SET RES_CHECKOUTBY = NULL
WHERE RES_UID in (
SELECT
RES_UID
FROM MSP_Resources
WHERE RES_CHECKOUTBY = ‘00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000′)

How To Reset A Zune

Zune?? Yes, they are still out there and in my opinion, they still rock! Seriously though, one of the problems that seems to keep coming up is that the player locks up and there's no escape. So when you get locked up, what do you do? There's the reset which is bacically holding the Back button (<-) at the same time as you press and hold the top of the Zune Pad. This would be the same as turning your Zune off and On (reboot). However, sometimes you need to just start over and resync all your data. There are two methods to do this listed below. Remember...if you use the methods below, it WILL erase your Zune...

Soft reset: (Erases all content)
Press and hold the Back button (<-) at the same time as you press and hold the top of the Zune Pad. When the Zune device begins to power up, release the buttons.

Now as soon as you release these buttons you must enter a second combination of buttons so immediately press and hold the Back button at the same time as you press both the right side of the Zune Pad and the Play/Pause button. Continue to hold these buttons until your Zune device restarts and "Please wait" appears on the screen.

Hard reset: (Erases all content & firmware)
Press and hold the Back button (<-) at the same time as you press and hold the top of the Zune Pad. When the Zune device begins to power up, release the buttons.

Now as soon as you release these buttons you must enter a second combination of buttons so immediately press and hold the Back button at the same time as you press both the left side of the Zune Pad and the Play/Pause button. Continue to hold these buttons until your Zune device restarts and "Please wait" appears on the screen.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How-to Rezise Virtual Hard Disk (VHD)

One of the problems that I face is dealing with Virtual Machines that were created with no expansion in mind. I’m talking, of course, about virtual hard drives that are incorrectly sized. Before we get started, let me just say, the best rule of thumb…make your hard drives much larger than you think you’ll need, but make them expand dynamically. Yeah, you will have a hit on disk performance as it expands, but it’s negligible and much easier than having to try to resize.

Having said that, let’s get started. You will need a couple of things to get this done. First you will need the VHD Resizer tool, located here:
http://vmtoolkit.com/files/default.aspx. You will need to register, but totally worth it for the tool. Second, make sure you have your Virtual Environment along with 1-1/2 times more space than your current VHDD. This is because you will need to have a temporary second drive to get through this process (it’ll make sense in a bit).

Creating unallocated space

  1. Once you download the VHD Resizer tool, unzip it and run the installer (.msi)
  2. You should find a folder called vmToolKit in your start menu, select the vhdResizer application to get it started
  3. You should be prompted to select the VHD to resize, navigate to and select your VHD
  4. You should now be at the main application page of the VHD Resizer
  5. On the Destination Vhd, select Save As
  6. You should be able to create a folder on the popup screen, create one and call it New VHD
  7. Navigate to the New VHD folder and type in a name for your new VHD and select, Save
  8. Now, make sure you select Dynamic next to Type. This will create a new VHD the same size as the one you have now, except, it will also provision the additional space you will request in the next step
  9. Type in the New Size for your new drive. Because you have selected Dynamic above, your new HDD will be the same size but have additional unallocated space available. We’ll reallocate that space later. Be sure to put in a large enough number, like 120GB or something
  10. Click Resize to start (this will take some time…go get caffeine)

Getting your new space

  1. Start your Virtual PC Console
  2. Select your old VPC and open the configuration Settings
  3. Select Hard Disk 2 and then browse to the New VHD folder where you made the new VHD
  4. Select the new VHD and then select Open and then OK to close the Settings. NOTE: Now you should have the old VHD still attached as the primary drive and the new VHD (created above) attached as the secondary. This means that your Virtual Machine will boot as the old VHD being the primary and the new VHD being the secondary. It’s important that your new VHD is your secondary and not the bootable drive
  5. Start your Virtual Machine and login
  6. Start the Disk Management tool (right-click on My Computer and select Manage)
  7. Select Disk Management. At this point, if you get an error “Unable to Logical Disk Manager Service”, you will need to go to your services and locate the Local Disk Manager Service. Make sure it’s startup type is Automatic and that the service is Started. You will have to restart your Disk Management tool in order for this to take effect
  8. You should see two disks on this screen, Disk 0 (the old VHD) and Disk 1 (the new VHD). Disk 1 will also display the new amount of unallocated space
  9. Right click the active space on the new VHD and select Change Drive Letter and Paths…
  10. Click Add and then Assign the following drive letter. In my case, I’m selecting E:
  11. Open a command prompt (click Start->Run->Type CMD->Click OK)
  12. In the command prompt, type diskpart. You should see the prompt display DISKPART>
  13. Type in List Volume and hit Enter.
  14. From the list locate your new VHD by the Ltr which you assigned it. In my case, E
  15. Select your VHD to modify by typing in the command: Select Note: Volume will be the volume number to the left of the Ltr for your new VHD. In my case, E is next to Volume 1, so my syntax will be Select Volume 1. You should see the response; Volume 1 is the selected volume.
  16. Once selected, type in the command: Extend. This should take a minute with the response, DiskPart successfully extended the volume
  17. Go back to the Disk Management and you will now notice that your new VHD has all of its disk space allocated
  18. Shutdown your Virtual Computer
  19. Go back to your Virtual PC Console and back to the Settings
  20. Select Hard Disk 2 and select None to dismount it
  21. Now select Hard Disk 1 and browse to the new VHD, the one in the New VHD folder and select it, then click Open and then OK to select it as your new drive
  22. Start your virtual machine with the new VHD, this will have to go to a reboot as the system has to account for the new space

At this point, you are done. You have a new resized VHD that will dynamically grow as you use it and you can (if you want) delete the old VHD

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

InfoPath 2007 Can't Publish to SharePoint Site

This is an interesting error that was a little difficult to resolve. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Make sure you are publishing to the root. For example, don't publish to http://servername/sites/, but to http://servername/.
  • Make sure you are not trying to publish to a Form Base Authentication Site. If you are using Form Based Authentication, then you probably have client integration disabled.
  • Make sure that you have a site at the root. When you create a publish site, this should happen, but if it doesn’t, you can do the following:
  1. Go to your Central Administration
  2. Then navigate to your Application Management
  3. Select Create Site Collection
  4. Select your Web Application

Next to the Specify Web Site Address, take out the managed path (i.e. change “/sites/” to “/”). If you don’t see the “/” root option, then your site is created and this isn’t your problem.

Select a team site and click create.

The error that we finally found was because this particular farm was slated to be a public facing web host. Therefore, it had a URL scan (urlscan.ini) enabled on the web-front ends. In this case under the [AllowVerbs] section of the URLSCAN, the OPTIONS and PUT were missing. By simply adding those two variables and rebooting the server, this resolved the problem.

The OPTIONS verb is a very simple verb that just asks the server to enumerate the other verbs its capable of, like GET, PUT, POST, etc. InfoPath uses this request to find out if the URL has SharePoint installed or not. That's why blocking this verb causes an error in InfoPath. Allowing OPTIONS through URLScan should have no security implications at all, since it is a general information request only.

Monday, March 2, 2009

SharePoint Administration Toolkit 3.0 Released

The new SharePoint Administration Toolkit is now available. The is quite a bit of really useful tools to help manage, monitor and diagnose your SharePoint Farm!

The Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit contains functionality to help manage Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0. This toolkit contains the ability to diagnose performance issues, perform bulk operations on site collections, an Stsadm operation to update alert e-mails after the URL for a Web application has been changed, and a User Profile Replication Engine tool.

Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit v3.0 x86
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=412a9ef1-3358-4420-b820-0ca3f4641651&displaylang=en

Microsoft SharePoint Administration Toolkit v3.0 x64
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=BE58D769-2516-43CB-9890-3F79304528FF&displaylang=en