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Thursday, April 10, 2014

#Project, #ProjectServer and #SharePoint Server 2013/2010 April 2014 CU available #ps2013 #sp2013

This is to announce that April 2014 CU of Project, Project Server and SharePoint Server 2013/2010 is out now. The important point to note that April 2014 CU of Project Server 2013 includes the fixes of SP1 as well. Since SP1 is deactivated until further announcement from Microsoft, Apr 2014 CU can do the job for now.

Also Project Server 2013 CU is not a roll-up package, which means it doesn't includes SharePoint server fixes.

Test the CU in your test environment first prior to apply to production.

Project Server 2013 individual Apr 2014 CU: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2863881
Project 2013 Apr 2014 CU: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2878276
SharePoint Server 2013 Apr 2014 CU: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2768332

Project Server 2010 individual Apr 2014 CU:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2878259
Project 2010 Apr 2014 CU: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2878263

For more details please see: http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectsupport/archive/2014/04/09/microsoft-project-server-2010-and-2013-april-2014-cu-announcement.aspx



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

#SharePoint Product Configuration Wizard Error: Unable to create a Service Connection Point in AD #SP2010 #PS2010

While updating one of my Project Server 2010 environment with language pack, the configuration wizard has thrown following error in the end at step 9:


An exception of type Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.PostSetupConfig
urationTaskException was thrown.  Additional exception information: The upgrade
command is invalid or a failure has been encountered.
Failed to upgrade SharePoint Products.

ULS logs digging helped me found a substantial clue and reminded me that i did come across to similar issue long time back as well. The issue is related to configuration to track any SharePoint production installation to farm of your organization, and tracking requires container in AD with appropriate user permissions to allow installation. If the account does not have permission to write to this container, the following warning will appear in the log file for the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard and Wizard will fail at the last step:



Failed to add the service connection point for this farm
Unable to create a Service Connection Point in the current Active Directory domain. Verify that the SharePoint container exists in the current domain and that you have rights to write to it.”
To resolve this follow these steps:
  1. On the domain controller, click Start, point to Administrative Tools, and then click ADSI Edit, or use a remote administration tool to connect to ADSI Edit from another computer.
  2. On the Action menu, click Connect to, and connect to the domain that you want to use.
  3. In the console tree, expand the connection, expand the domain name, and then click CN=System.
  4. In the details pane, right-click in the white area, click New, and then click Object.
  5. In the Create Object dialog box, in the Select a class box, click container and then click Next.
  6. In the Value box, type Microsoft SharePoint Products as the container name, and then click Next.
  7. Click Finish.
    The container is created.
  8. Right click the container (CN=Microsoft SharePoint Products), and then click Properties.
  9. On the Security tab, click Add.
  10. In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts, or Groups box, add the users that you want to write to this container, and then click OK.
    Note that if a user who cannot write to this container installs SharePoint Server 2010, no new entry will be created. Consider giving all Authenticated Users the permission so that you can track all the objects.
  11. In the Group or user names box, select the names that you previously added, and then under the Permissions box, clickAdvanced.
  12. In the Permission entries box, select the names that you previously added, and then click Edit.
  13. In the Permission Entry for Microsoft SharePoint Products dialog box, in the Permissions box, select the Allow check box forCreate serviceConnectionPoint objects, and then click OK.
Now re-run the wizard and hopefully this time it will go through successfully.
The whole process, with powershell comands as well, can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff730261.aspx
Happy updating SharePoint farm :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

#ProjectServer and #SharePoint 2013 #SP1 download deactviated

This is to spread the word that due to recently discovered issue, Microsoft Project Server and SharePoint Server 2013 SP1 have been temporarily unavailable for downloading.

“We have recently uncovered an issue with this Service Pack 1 package that may prevent customers who have Service Pack 1 from deploying future public or cumulative updates. As a precautionary measure, we have deactivated the download page until a new package is published.”

Download pages for Project Server and SharePoint are also updated with above reason.

For more details, check Brian Smith post: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brismith/archive/2014/04/03/project-server-2013-and-sharepoint-2013-sp1-download-deactivated.aspx



Sunday, March 2, 2014

#SharePoint 2013 SP1 on the way ... #SP2013 #Office2013

Thought of spreading this thrilling announcement recently published that SP1 for 2013 product is on its way and expecting to be released early next year.

Service Pack 1 (SP1) for the 2013 set of products including Office, SharePoint and Exchange.  SP1 will deliver performance enhancements, feature updates and improve compatibility with Windows 8.1. 


This will be applicable to both on-premises and online versions, and more details are expecting soon. Also i am trying finding any news related to Project Server, if SP1 is applicable to Project Server 2013 as well, and will update through my blog once i find something.

Update: 2nd March 2014
Service Pack 1 is released, and you can find the details here in this Blog Post.




Say hello to #Project and #ProjectServer 2013 Service Pack 1 #sp2013 #ps2013 #office2013

A quick note to spread the news that Service Pack 1 for SharePoint/Project Server 2013 and other 2013 office products is out now.

For Project Server 2013, you can download from below:

For Project 2013 client, 32bit or 64bit, you can download from below:

For SharePoint 2013 server, you can download from below:

Few important things to note here, that unlike previous versions, this time SP1 is not a roll-up version. Which means that Project Server SP1 doesn't include SharePoint side of update, and vice verse.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectsupport/archive/2014/02/25/project-2013-and-project-server-2013-service-pack-1.aspx

Also another important point, is that as part of lost resource fix if you have updated the required sproc, then you may need to update them again as SP1 will re-write those sprocs during installation/setup.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2933444

Also read the Project Client versioning details in Brians's post (same link as above).

And in the end as always, try all the updates in test environment prior to apply to production.

Happy patching.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#SharePoint 2010 setup error: Cannot connect to database master at #sp2010 #ps2010 #sp2013

Lately i got a chance to help my customer with standard deployment of Project Server 2010, and as they say "you learn new things each day", i also learnt about an issue which could be seen as basic activity but could lead you to pull your hairs while troubleshooting.

The issue occurred while running SharePoint 2010 setup, after installing pre-requisites, and following first few initial screens of setup wizard. Once reached to the point where you can enter SharePoint database server name, and credentials which can be used to talk to database server. You may see this error:

Cannot connect to database master at SQL Server at <server_name>. The database might not exist, or the current user does not have permission to connect to it.

Now if you have followed the recommended technet article to setup service accounts and permission, this error might be little misleading at the start. But root cause of the issue is completely valid.

There is already a very detailed and helpful blog is available for you to follow to start troubleshooting:
http://blogs.technet.com/b/tothesharepoint/archive/2011/01/12/troubleshooting-sharepoint-configuration-error-cannot-connect-to-database-master-at-server-name.aspx

The possible causes of that error are as follows, first 2 are available in this blog, and the 3rd is the one i found and is the reason of this post:

  1. Permissions of the account used to configure has correct permission within SQL based on technet article.
  2. SQL Server in windows firewall required port, by default its 1433, is allowed to receive traffic from SharePoint application server.
  3. Verify that user through which you are running setup has got permissions to login to SQL Server. Yes, its very common in production or customer environments that you use different credentials to login to server than to the one you use to for deployment. Now either allow that user login permission to SQL Server by going to SQL Server and adding that user under logins within security of SQL Server. Or, run the setup as an administrator. In fact a good practice, is to always run the setup as an administrator to avoid such glitches.


Have a good day at work.




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year 2013 Passed, A new to come..

At the start of new year 2014, when i turn back and see 2013, it seems like it passed with the speed of light. But then this is how it meant to be, as they says "time flies" ....

For me the year starts with some big fireworks display, as Dubai has plan to create a world record of biggest fireworks at new year. It was fun to witness such historic moment, at the same time a little guilt that this enormous amount of money could be used to something more useful.


On a personal side of my Year 2013, i have had a great time with my family. My son turned 2, and i now can understand exactly the meaning of terrible 2 :) He is occupying most of my time, and i love every minute spending with him, no matter how much frustrated i could be due to worldly matters, he brings smile to my face and my source to stay motivated.

Year 2013 was good for me in terms of learning, as Project 2013, online and on-premises versions, was released in this year, and i have got lot of new dimensions of a product to learn. 

Working as PPM/EPM specialist is my passion, and i got a chance to work with different aspects of PPM as a tool to help lay down project management methodology for organization. For some reason, i have got more chance to work on reporting part of a product, and i explored in detail the database level of a product. And here i learnt that how rite use of Top-Down and Bottom-Up approaches of reporting can help organizations to see their desired results.

Despite of being occupied with work and personal stuff, i have tried to be on my mark when its about gaining knowledge or information about the world of SharePoint/Project Server. And for this i found twitter as my best friend :) i am following some great people from around the world to learn about fact paced technology evolution. Also with the passage of time technology is really coming to palms of our hands now, and i am relying more on my mobile device to stay connected instead of laptop. 

During year 2013, i have also tried to be active through my blog and forums as well. My blog stats reached near to 100,000, and i have got 150+ visitors each day from around the world. So thank you everyone for visiting my blog, and i try to share more during the coming year.

Lets stay connected, keep visiting my blog, leave your comments, and have a great new Year 2014.



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#ProjectServer 2013/2010 Dec CU is available #sp2013 #ps2013

Little late though, but before the years end would like to share that Dec 2013 CU for Project Server 2013/2010 is available.

You can find the details of Project Server 2013/2010 installation package here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectsupport/archive/2013/12/12/microsoft-project-server-2010-and-2013-december-cu-announcement.aspx


Note, as usual, that this should be applied to test environment first prior to production. Also Mar 2013 CU is been set as baseline for all Project Sever 2013 CUs, so install Mar 2013 CU first.

Dec CU includes fix to one of the commonly encountered issue:

  • Assume that you change values for fields such as Project Owner and Name on a Project Detail Page (PDP) in Project Web App. When you save and refresh the page, the values are reverted to what they were before the change.
Also at last, try this PowerShell script to install CU for reduced installation time.

And if its works for you, please do not forget to rate :) 


Happy patching and Happy New Year to everyone .... 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bulk Import tool - (401) Unauthorized error #ProjectServer #PS2010 #SP2010

A quick note to share the Bulk Import tool issue i came across while working in NLB environment.

Before i proceed, please note that Bulk Import tool was released along with the release of Project Server 2010 and to be used with Project Server 2010. Till date, i am not sure, if Bulk Import tool without modification will work with Project Server 2013. This issue, and its resolution, is for Project Server 2010 environment.

Some time back Andrew Lavinsky had discuss Bulk Import tool feature in great detail through his blog, a blog worth every minute of your time. Please go through these blog posts if you are interested to use Bulk Import tool:

My post is to highlight the following issue you may come across while trying validating Site URL:

The remote server returned a error: (401) Unauthorized.



Now if you are in NLB environment, and you are accessing your PWA using NLB URL, you will come across an error as mentioned above. 

Resolution is quite simple, though it took me a while to figure it out, you need to use your original PWA URL to access your PWA. Open Bulk Import tool now, ensure that you URL you are entering in also based on original PWA URL, click validate - and this time it work.

Hopefully this will help to some out there - happy importing new projects for analysis as a new year is not far away :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Improvise #ProjectServer 2013 #CU installation time #SP2013 #PS2013 #CU

With the release of Project Server 2013 and then release of periodic Cumulative Updates, one evident factor i have experienced is the size of cumulative updates of project server, and the time they requires to be installed.

Just before this blog, a normal time i have experienced to install any CU on Project Server 2013 servers, were some where between 4-5 hrs and some time more than that as well :( and this duration is for 1 CU only, imagine if you have to install more than 1 CU which is common as March CU is a pre-requiste for any new CUs to be installed.

Which means, that either you plan to start the installation at day end, so that next day when you will resume work you only have to wait for configuration wizard to be finished
OR
you can sit idle and stare at that progress bar on your screen, moving as slowly as any slowest turtle exist on planet earth, and curse yourself that why have you started the installation at this time.

I have been look for ways to improvise the duration of installation of CU, and the good news is that there is a way to install the same CU with the duration time of between 30-45 mins ... yea you are reading it rite, its mins NOT hrs :)

Credit for this goes to Russ Maxwell, who brought this solution forward. And i am re-posting this good to spread to Project server community, because its equally painful for us as well :)

From the start the suspect in this whole case, i.e. why CU takes so long, are the SharePoint services running on the server such as App fabric/search etc. As they consume most part of CPU, and push windows installer to a lower priority to consume CPU time.

So here is a Power-Shell script to automate and speed up the installation process by disabling SharePoint server services gracefully. The scirpts performs the following steps:

  1. Disable the IISAdmin and SPTimerV4 service
  2. Shut down IIS Admin and Timer Services if they are running                                                                                                          
  3. Give you the option to Pause the Search Service Application (see search notes below)                                                                                      
  4. Stop Search Services (see search notes below)                                                                                                                                                     
  5. Install the patch in passive mode (No user interaction required but will witness the patch install in the UI). Note:  Power Shell should remain open in the background while patch is running.
  6. Upon completion of the patch, the Power Shell script, services in step 1 are set to Automatic                                                                          
  7. Starts up IIS Admin and Timer Services                                                                                                                                              
  8. Starts up Search Services                                                                                                                                                                                      
  9. Resume the Search Service Application if it was paused                                                                                                                       
  10. Finally, the script will display the Start Time and End Time for patch install

The script can be downloaded from the script gallery below:
http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Server-2013-automate-and-833aeb0b

A walkthrough using the script is below:

Copy the script and CU in the same folder, note that only one CU should be placed in the folder and file extension should be .exe.

Open the power shell and run the script, i recommend to pause search service application here by choosing 1. The screen shots below are of Project Server 2013 JUN CU installation on my server:




Notice the installation time of JUN CU, 35 mins, voila :)

Happy patching.

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