SharePoint MVP Experts AMA

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s an Ask Me Anything SharePoint MVPs Expert Chat taking place on October 29th at 1 PM EST. The panel consists of SharePoint MVPs across the spectrum (and the world for that matter).

So what’s that mean? If you’re curious about SharePoint 2010 or 2013 or perhaps SharePoint Online or the greater Office 365 platform, come on over and ask a question. You’ll just need to have a Reddit account before hand so that you can be ready to ask questions. More information on the location will be available on the 29th in the SharePoint subreddit – /r/sharepoint

Who all will be there you ask?
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Patch Tuesday – January 2014

A few quick bits of information for today that might be of interest to those of you working with the Microsoft Stack.

If you dig into the KB2916605, it’s labelled as important, not critical but probably something you’ll still want to address. This impacts impacts Microsoft Word across several versions as well as the Word Automation Services and Office Web Apps of SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

Also new today, Power BI is now available for purchase for your Office 365 SharePoint Online tenants. If you have an E3/E4 subscription you’ll see a heft discount.

This past weekend I mentioned during a presentation on getting started with Office 365 that there are service updates that are pushed regularly. To get more information as to what’s being pushed each month, check out the Services Updates for Office 365 for enterprises, mid-size businesses and Education (English) here:

And if you’re interested in learning more pertaining to the Office 365 Service Upgrades that are ongoing for the Enterprise, more information is available here:

Looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to new content for SharePoint 2013?

Nothing really of note, the last update was back on 16 December 2013 with:

  • Deactivated controls in SharePoint Designer 2013 (new)
  • The building blocks of SharePoint hybrid (new)
  • Set-SPAuthenticationRealm (updated)

If you’re looking for updates for MSDN related SharePoint articles, you can find that content here – New and updated content for SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2013 and Windows Server 2012

I’m curious but what is the deal with Microsoft requiring that you contact PSS to get one of the software requirements for running SharePoint 2013 on Windows Server 2012.

If you notice, in the Hardware and Software Requirements document on TechNet for SharePoint 2013 (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485.aspx) you’ll notice that there’s a hot fix required for a Race Condition issue for SharePoint 2013 on Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012.

RaceCondition

Funny enough, if you go to the KB article link referenced, you get (2765317), you’ll notice the following text:

Hotfix Information

A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft. However, it is intended to correct only the problem that this article describes. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

To resolve this problem, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services to obtain the hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Support Services telephone numbers and information about support costs, go to the following Microsoft website:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support

So if I’m Microsoft, and I’m looking to get more and more market share moved over to Windows Server 2012, why in the world would I not make this pre-requisite available?

Oddly enough though, the same fix for Windows Server 2008 / 2008 R2 (2759112) lists the exact same text.

So I guess we have to call PSS to get the fix before we can start experimenting with SharePoint 2013 in a non-Microsoft hosted environment (I’m guessing that the Azure pre-baked bits already have this but haven’t double checked).

Bottom line, not cool that there’s an extra call involved.

Visual Studio 2010 Exam Retirement Dates

So you’re still catching up on getting certified on Microsoft technologies that your clients and customers are using … may want to consider either switching over to ludicrous speed or just skipping ahead to the next iteration of Visual Studio exams.

Why praytell? Well Microsoft is retiring the exams on 31 July 2013. They (Microsoft) may consider pushing the exam retirement date, but for now that’s when they’re going bye bye.

So what exams does this apply to?

  • 70-511: TS: Windows Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-513: TS: Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-516: TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-518: Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • 70-519: Pro: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4

For more information on this topic, check out the Born to Learn blog yonder at: Update on Visual Studio 2010 Exam Retirement Dates

Office 365 Dedicated – Content Migration

Interestingly enough, but if you’re using SharePoint Online in Office 365 in a dedicated environment there are opportunities for content migration from onPrem to the cloud by providing copies of content databases to Microsoft. Or at least you used to have that option as described in this document:

SharePoint Online Content Migration Policy – Office 365 Dedicated Plans – January 2013 – http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/4/0/04054360-DC5E-4AB8-B3AB-6BF01BB3946C/SharePoint%20Online%20Content%20Migration%20Policy_Office%20365%20Dedicated%20Plans_Jan%202013.docx

If you’re looking to have a backup copy of your data perhaps or looking to move off of Office 365 Dedicated, the cut off for having content databases pushed out of Microsoft’s system is 15 April 2013 as stated in the documentation:

Starting April 15, 2013, Microsoft will no longer process outbound migrations for SharePoint Online dedicated plan customers. Outbound migrations will instead be accomplished by third-party independent software vendor (ISV) solutions, just like Inbound migrations are today.

Microsoft states that they are doing this for a number of reasons to include:

ISVs provide an effective solution for migrating content out of your SharePoint Online farm, just like for inbound migrations. Using an ISV solution has the following benefits:

  • Reduces technical requirements and complexity involved in successfully attaching the data to an on-premises SharePoint farm.
  • Frees up customer change windows for deployment of configuration changes and custom solutions.
  • Removes the risk and inconvenience of a USB drive shipment.

For information about using ISV solutions for content migration, see the SharePoint Online Content Migration by Third-Party Solutions Policy document, available to customers on the Customer Extranet site.

Overall the document is an interesting read regarding the SharePoint Online 2010 Dedicated service offering that is a component of Office 365 and outbound data migrations. Just remember however that you do have an impending deadline in April if you wish to utilize Microsoft’s outbound data migration service.

Automation of Password Updates…

Recently I stumbled upon a SharePoint 2010 environment setup a long time ago where the managed accounts and accounts in general were setup a little funny… in particular the issue was that the profile service stopped syncing. I asked the administrator what the issue was and they stated that they’d setup the system to use a managed account for the farm service account and other service application service accounts to automatically change the password in the background. That’s all fine and dandy for the most part, ‘cept that there are caveats with the Farm Account. And low and behold, I checked and sure enough the system’s Farm account was setup now as a Managed Account in our trusty, friendly SharePoint 2010 instance.

Issue – the profile synchronization service runs as this service account. Caveat, profile sync requires that you enter the account information and credentials since you may not necessarily be sync’ing with the Active Directory resource forest that your SharePoint system leverages as its Windows Networking Infrastructure platform.

So how did we attempt to remedy this… not knowing the Farm password, it was updated in Active Directory and then using Set-SPManagedAccount with the -UseExistingPassword argument, the password was properly updated. It was then synchronized across the farm with Repair-SPManagedAccountDeployment.

So SharePoint should now be up and operational with the managed account password updated, but we also have to go and update the synchronization connection with the new password. All should be working and fine, crisis averted, just have to go in Central Admin and make the update there… But, what I thought would be a five minute fix… well, yeah, not so much.

Hello 503 error.

Oddly, after all of the troubleshooting it ended up being the bitness setting for the Application Pool that operates SharePoint was modified to operate in x86 emulation mode. This comes in handy when you need to run two different compilations of a DLL through IIS, but with our native 64 bit SharePoint application, this doesn’t work so well. Why does this happen though? Not certain but it would seem that several folks seem to have this problem when they’ve been running their SharePoint system with managed accounts automatically updating and then reverting back to an “unmanaged mode” so to speak where the metabase becomes corrupt and suddenly the fitness for x86 emulation is set to true.

More on running in both x86 and x64 mode is available here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rakkimk/archive/2007/11/03/iis7-running-32-bit-and-64-bit-asp-net-versions-at-the-same-time-on-different-worker-processes.aspx

Please only modify this if you’re running into this problem – definitely make a backup copy before making any changes!!!

So if I want to avert this, I can force the Application Pool to start in 64bit mode by adding a “bitness64” flag… this is done in the ApplicationHost.config located in

%windir%system32inetsrvconfig

Within the Global Modules section of the ApplicationHost.config, you should search for the SharePoint14Module which should look something like this:

<add name=”SharePoint14Module” image=”C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions14isapiowssvr.dll” preCondition=”appPoolName=SharePoint Central Administration v4″ />

If you want to force your App Pool to always start without x86 emulation… then you’ll want to add the following argument of “bitness64” so that you end up with something like this:

<add name=”SharePoint14Module” image=”C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions14isapiowssvr.dll” preCondition=”appPoolName=SharePoint Central Administration v4,bitness64″ />

Note you’ll have to do this for each of the Web Applications that are registered – if you choose to make this modification.

And just like that… I start the application pool and all is well. Went and updated the synchronization connection and our UPS started syncing again. Qed.

More on ApplicationHost.config available here: http://learn.iis.net/page.aspx/124/introduction-to-applicationhostconfig/