Fresh SharePoint 2010 Content in 2011

A few new documents have been released from Microsoft for SharePoint Products and Technologies here in 2011, though they aren’t yet showing up in the TechCenter. I found this out only due to the fact that Isaac Stith (aka @mrisaac) made note of an updated Capacity Planning guide that wasn’t listed in the TechCenter feed.

These recently published documents this first week of January 2011 include:

1/3 – SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 Deployment Guide
1/4 – Capacity Planning for SharePoint Server 2010
1/4 – Planning for Sites and Solutions for SharePoint Server, Part 1
1/4 – Planning for Sites and Solutions for SharePoint Server, Part 2
1/4 – Planning for Server Farms for SharePoint Server 2010

Also something that was snuck in at the end of the year that may be helpful for all the IT Pro Individuals out there – Microsoft has released a Help File doc that contains all SharePoint Server 2010 content on TechNet through 12/17/2010 here:

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 IT Pro Content – CHM

There’s also a SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 document available here:

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 IT Pro Content – CHM

Happy reading!

SharePoint Practices Poll Results

During the Holiday break I threw a quickly developed poll up on Survey Monkey to see what folks perceptions were of their favorite SharePoint Practice in the Washington, DC area.  The results were eye-opening. Okay, not really. The results were non-scientific backing, further lacking turnout and non-repudiation controls.  One major control that was lacking was the ability to limit individuals to a single vote (I have a hunch some individuals may have double voted). Further with only a small subset of the SharePoint community voting, the results were incomplete and only took into account the perceptions of those voting.  What this poll did show was that there were indeed individuals near their computing devices that had the stamina to click on a link and then make a selection followed by clicking on a submit button – well played friends.

Nonetheless, there were 34 practices that were entered into the poll and the top ten practices that were selected in order of popularity in this very non-scientific poll:

Ranking Practice
1 ActionNet
2 Summit 7 Systems
3 Booz Allen Hamilton
WinSmarts
5 Microsoft
6 Innovative-e
Portal Solutions
Planet Technologies
9 MetroStar Systems
InfoReliance

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So what does all of this mean? Not much, except that folks were able to click through a poll.

I’m sure that the raw data could be spun in some manner or fashion, but due to the non-scientific collection means and lack of controls in place, I figured it would be more interesting to make note of the practices that did show up in the top ten. Each of these practices do great work in the DC area, Nationally and Internationally.  All of the practices listed likewise  have great people working for them, that in turn have excellent results.

So what’s next?  Speaking with my friend and caped crusader, Joel Ward, we’ve tossed around ideas of how to better poll the community but from a different angle. Perhaps rather than just voting on the best practice to work for, we take an inside look with practice members and managers to find out more about their methods, their approaches and what their expertise is.  Call it reporting and showcasing SharePoint excellence throughout the community.

Practices in original non-scientific poll – ActioNet, Applied Information Sciences, Aquilent, Inc., BlackBlade Associates, Booz Allen Hamilton, Bravo Consulting Group, CACI, CDW, ComSys, Deloitte, Digicon Corporation, HP, i3 Solutions, InfoReliance, Information Strategies, Innovative-e, JHC Technology, Juniper Strategy, LLC, Lockheed Martin, MetroStar Systems, MicroLink, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Planet Technologies, Portal Solutions, Perficient, RDA, Satory Global, Smartronix, Inc., Sogeti, Summit 7 Systems, Watkins IT, WinSmarts

Microsoft Office 365–A Closed Cloud

A few months ago on 19 October 2010, there was a news media event announcing Microsoft Office 365, the revolutionary service from Microsoft that would provide small business and enterprises to move to a services hosted infrastructure in what is loosely termed, “The Cloud.” In fact it was so fast moving, the DNS registration hadn’t hit and was still redirecting to a company that Microsoft had bought the domain name from. For anyone that was searching for the Office 365 site on Microsoft though, they quickly found that it was being hammered quite hard for information by news organizations, business leaders and information technology specialists, all trying to get a little more information on what was spun as a revolutionary service.

Fast forward to the present and we still see news stories like this, “Microsoft Office 365 beta – a suite of business-focused, cloud-based applications” being spun by news organizations such as “topnews.us”.

Maybe I’ve hit the threshold of information overload or just have an acumen for picking up on spin, but I have to say that I’m frustrated with the marketing blitz that’s going on for a closed system.

So what’s Office 365? From everything I’ve gathered through whitepapers, marketing briefs, blog posts, twitter announcements, and print articles, it’s the upgraded version of Microsoft Online Services (aka BPOS Standard).

For starters, what is Microsoft Online Services? It’s a cloud based service known as BPOS (Business Productivity Online Services) Standard which consists of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Standard, and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 for a low price with a requirement of five seats.

So wait, what’s Office 365 again? It’s a rebranded offering of MS Online / BPOS Standard with a new name with upgraded versions of the Microsoft Office Online services to include Microsoft SharePoint Standard 2010, Microsoft Exchange 2010, Microsoft Lync 2010 [formerly OCS 2007], and Microsoft Office Web Apps with the addition of a Microsoft Office 2010 Professional license. Why the addition of the Office 2010 Professional license you might inquire? It’s to allow end users to be licensed appropriately to use Microsoft Office Web Apps (while they’re housed in Microsoft SharePoint 2010, they’re still licensed by Office 2010 Professional, go figure). There is a caveat though that’s mentioned in the Press Release – only one seat is required for Office 365 services (no longer are five seats required).

That’s right, if you’re an entrepreneur or a sole proprietor and you don’t feel like having a co-lo system setup somewhere that you’re the Exchange administrator or having to pay for services from two companies (typically one that provides Exchange and Lync and another that does SharePoint) then you’re in luck, you can buy in and use the managed service with ease.

But wait, it sounds pretty cool, how do I get my organization onboard? Well about that… it’s a closed beta at the moment which according to the registration page supposedly sends an e-mail to you after you register. To this date I’ve registered with three different e-mail addresses and received a nice message stating I would receive a response that day. Zero responses received as of yet.

So is it really a closed cloud? At the moment I’d say yes, the cloud is only available to those that are chosen or were given access as certified partners. Anyone else, best of luck making your way into the cloud, you may need a parachute and stealth maneuvers.

So why this post? I guess mostly to remind Microsoft that it would be great for individuals that are used to being early adopters having the option of getting in on the beta to actually provide real feedback. I realize that would increase the information coming back to the product group which may or may not be welcome, but hey, I’d be happy to volunteer my time in providing feedback and troubleshooting to make it a solid platform for the future.

Are you listening Microsoft Online? Let us in Smile

PanTech UML 290 LTE–First Thoughts

So I bit the bullet and bought the PanTech UML 290 from Verizon Wireless, flat out. Works like a champ… when it works. The above speed test was taken from my house.  I noticed that after about ten minutes, the card would stop transmitting traffic.  At first I thought, “alright, maybe there’s a hardware issue.”

Oddly enough though I would run an NSLookup and get a valid response. I would try to ping Google.com and it would ping. So I was left scratching my head wondering why I wasn’t able to transmit and receive anything other than just a DNS record or an ICMP. So what did I do? I called Verizon’s tech support.

uml290So I disconnected and then reconnected and all was back to normal with super fast network connectivity that scared me (yes, scared me thinking to myself that just a few years ago these speeds in a wired environment were usually only in corporate data networks or academic environments).  Then about ten to fifteen minutes later, boom, disconnect.  Third times a charm I figured, and gave it another reconnect request, this time the session was flawless and had no issues, lasted 45 minutes long and then I disconnected manually and left for dinner with a few friends.  When I got back, I opened a ticket with Verizon support – they called back pretty quickly and left a message since I wasn’t available.  Rather than shy away from the issue I went ahead and gave them a call to further discuss.

After talking with a gent about what was going on, it was confirmed from my network traffic that there were “at cause” issues where the modem would attempt to talk to a specific node of the LTE cell and be disconnected from transmitting at that level and cease data traffic altogether. Because it’s the network side an official ticket was opened and network engineering team will investigate the network hardware and routing to correct the issue.

So first thoughts, LTE is blazing fast.  LTE is expensive in that Verizon wireless is capping at 5 GB for $50, 10 GB for $80.  I’d like to see VZW man up and do what MetroPCS is doing with unlimited usage for $60

Nevertheless, according to VZW, they should have the issue resolved in 5 to 7 business days, I’m interested to see it get fixed and will report back then.

December 2010 Cumulative Updates for SharePoint

This one goes out to my friend and SharePoint colleague, Mark Rackley, also known to many of you as @MRackley. Gotta help my Dev friends that wonder at times why the underlying infrastructure doesn’t work properly – hopefully these bits will help.

Seem like you just got the good bits for the October 2010 Cumulative Update for SharePoint 2010? Just like that *snap* the December 2010 Cumulative Update is available.

The cumulative updates contain several fixes that go across the entirety of the platform from REST to Search to e-mail notifications that should be sent to task assignee’s.

Information Articles for December 2010 Cumulative Updates:

SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459108
SharePoint Server 2010 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459257
Project Server 2010 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459258

Windows SharePoint Services v3 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2458606
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2458605

Full server downloads from the automated hotfix system available at:

SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 (x64 – 50.5 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2459125
SharePoint Server 2010 (x64 – 325 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2459257
Project Server 2010 (x64 – 330 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2459258

Windows SharePoint Services v3 (x86 – 29.5 MB, x64 – 33.4 MB) – http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2458606
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010 (x86 – 63.7 MB, x64 – 60.5 MB) http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=2458605

Please be aware that there are some known issues with the SharePoint 2010 Cumulative Updates which may incur issues with some functionality, namely this:

Important notes about the cumulative update package

  • The Microsoft Office 2010 hotfixes are now multilingual. This cumulative update package contains updates for all languages.
  • This cumulative update package includes all the server component packages. Additionally, this cumulative update package updates only those components that are installed on the system.

Known issue 1
Consider the following scenario:

  • You install the Cumulative Update in this KB article on a SharePoint 2010 server.
  • You restart the server as it prompts you at the end of the installation.
  • You run the Psconfig.exe tool after the server restarts.

In this scenario, you see an error page when you access the Manage User Profile page in Central Administration.

Workaround

To work around this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Central Administration page.
  2. Click Manage Services on the Server link.
  3. Find the User Profile Synchronization service, and then restart the service on the Server.aspx page.
  4. Perform iisreset after the service restarts successfully.

Known issue 2

2490381 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2490381/ ) You cannot create an AD DS synchronization connection that has multiple domains selected after you install the Cumulative Update in either KB 2459257 or KB 2459258

(Reference: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2459257)

As always, be sure to install cumulative updates in a testing environment prior to implementation on a production system.

Lastly remember that for SharePoint 2010, you only need to download the patch for the product you’re working with whereas with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 you’ll need both the WSS v3 patch and the MOSS 2007 patch.