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3Jul/150

Tips n Tricks – Reducing the SharePoint Config Log file size

Posted by Joy

Today we came across with a situation where we keep getting a runtime error when we try to perform our normal day-today operations in our SharePoint 2013 based solution. It started throwing a runtime error with a error code - HRESULT: 0x80131904 and it failed to save data into the SharePoint database.

The reason was the SharePoint Configuration database LOG file has grown to 91 GB and there was not enough free space in the physical disk. Because of this, SharePoint was unable to commit database changes and there was a huge performance impact. The solution we found was:

  1. Change the recovery model for the Database from Full to Simple
  2. Shrink the database

I executed the following SQL command and it brought the database log file from 91GB to 1 MB which solved my issues.

USE [master]
Go

ALTER DATABASE[SharePoint_Config] SET RECOVERY SIMPLE WITH NO_WAIT
Go

USE [SharePoint_Config]
Go

DBCC SHRINKFILE ('SharePoint_Config_Log')
Go

8Jul/140

Article – SharePoint Search Capabilities Comparison

Posted by Joy

Search is one of the important workloads of SharePoint Products and Technologies. Microsoft’s Enterprise Search offerings have evolved very fast over the last few years and have gone through number of changes.

SharePoint 2010 release introduced the most powerful Search platform by combing the power of FAST ESP with SharePoint platform. However, customers were confused when selecting the right Search platform since there were so many Search offerings.

Following are the different Search offerings we had around SharePoint 2010:

  • SharePoint Foundation 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites
  • Search Server 2010 Express
  • Search Server 2010
  • FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
  • FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Internet Sites
  • FAST Search Server 2010 for Internet Sites
  • FAST Search Server 2010 Internal Applications

Wow, big list of Search offerings…

With the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft made it very simple and easy to pick the right Search offering. We now don’t have FAST product line and it’s only SharePoint Search. However, SharePoint 2013 has many forms including both on-premise and cloud and Search will vary based on the selection of the SharePoint model.

Following is a very high-level feature comparison of Search based on the SharePoint deployment model:

Capability Foundation Standard Enterprise Online
Advanced Content Processing Yes Yes Yes No
Content Processing Enrichment No No Yes No
Content Search Web Part No No Yes No
Continues crawl Yes Yes Yes No
Custom entity extraction No No Yes No
Deep links No Yes Yes Yes
Event-based relevancy No Yes Yes Yes
Expertise Search Yes Yes Yes Yes
Graphical refiners No Yes Yes Yes
Hybrid search Yes Yes Yes Yes
Managed navigation No Yes Yes Yes
Phonetic name matching Yes Yes Yes Yes
Query rules – add promoted results No Yes Yes Yes
Query rules – advanced actions No No Yes Yes
Query spelling correction Yes Yes Yes Yes
Query suggestions No Yes Yes Yes
Query throttling No Yes Yes Yes
Quick preview Yes Yes Yes Yes
Recommendations No Yes Yes Yes
Refiners Yes Yes Yes No
Query Object Model/ RESTful Query API Yes Yes Yes Yes
Result sources Yes Yes Yes Yes
Search connector framework No No Yes No
Search results sorting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Search vertical – Conversations No Yes Yes Yes
Search vertical – People No Yes Yes Yes
Search vertical – Video No No Yes Yes
Tunable relevancy No No Yes No
5Jan/140

Article – Enabling Developer Dashboard in SharePoint 2013

Posted by Joy

The Developer Dashboard was introduced in SharePoint 2010. Objective was to show performance and tracing information for a SharePoint page. It was introduced as a control on the page itself (rather MasterPage). In SharePoint 2013, the Developer Dashboard has been improved a lot. Now it opens up in a separate dedicated window and no longer a control on the page (MasterPage). It also no longer just contains information about the last request but contains information about several requests. In this version of the Developer Dashboard, we can compare multiple page requests information.

This version of the Developer Dashboard is a lot more detailed than it was in SharePoint 2010. It gives a tabify output with lot more information related to the page request. Apart from the information we got in SharePoint 2010 Developer Dashboard, SharePoint 2013 Developer Dashboard will show:

  • Service calls
  • All ULS log entries that are related to the request
  • SQL requests and the time it took to process them
  • The different scopes and execution times

By default, the Developer Dashboard is disabled. You can enable it by using Windows PowerShell. The Windows PowerShell cmdlet only supports "On" and "Off" parameters. The "OnDemand" parameter has been deprecated. However, "On" parameter now pretty much acts the way "OnDemand" did in SharePoint 2010. Just like in SharePoint 2010, it displays an icon in the upper-right corner that allows you to open up the Developer Dashboard as when needed.

Following Windows PowerShell command shows how to enable SharePoint 2013 Developer Dashbiard:

Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell -ErrorAction "SilentlyContinue"

$DevDashboardSettings = [Microsoft.SharePoint.Administration.SPWebService]:: ContentService.DeveloperDashboardSettings

$DevDashboardSettings.DisplayLevel = 'On'

$DevDashboardsettings.Update()

12Dec/130

Article – Host-named Site Collections

Posted by Joy

Host header or Host-named?

I know for most of us, at the beginning, these 02 terms, what they are and difference between these 02 are very confusing. I'm writing this to help you understand it very easily.

Prior to SharePoint 2013

With the early releases of SharePoint, when we wanted to create a new Site Collection, we had 2 options to define their URLs:

  1. Rely on physical server name and port combination
  2. Rely on host header paths

Physical server name and port combination

This was the case we used to rely on almost all the developer environments. We ended up having web application URLs attached to the physical server name and port combination, similar to:

Site Collections we created using this approach ended up having URLs similar to:

Host header path

As an alternate, this approach helps us to address some of the issues we faced in the previous approach. With this approach we will create a Web Application by assigning a user-friendly host header such as http://contoso.com. We depend on either local hosts file (in case of development environments) or DNS (in case of staging and production environments) for mapping host header to the server IP and port. With this approach, we can have URLs similar to:

With this approach, we will be able to overcome the main issues we faced with the physical server name and port combination URLs approach. However, what if we want to create site collections with following URLs:

With any of the above 02 approaches, to implement URLs like shown above, we need to create multiple web applications each pointing to above host headers as their starting URL. Because, host headers are assigned for Web Applications and we cannot assign multiple host headers for the same Web Application. Having to creating multiple Web Applications to implement above URLs schema is not going to be a practical solution since:

  • There is a limitation of no of Web Applications which can be hosted in farm
  • Creating lot of Web Applications will introduce additional processing overhead to the farm

With SharePoint 2013

With SharePoint 2013, we can solve the above problem with an approach called Host-named Site Collections. With Host-named Site Collections approach, we can create Site Collections with user-friendly URLs with different domain names within the same Web Application. With Host-named Site Collections approach we can create following Site Collections within the same Web Application:

Now we can have just 01 Web Application, with multiple user-friendly URLs, with different domain names in them as the starting point for Site Collection URLs.

Note: though, it's a very useful approach, creating Host-names Site Collections is little tricky since it can be created only by using Windows PowerShell and cannot be created using SharePoint Central Administration web site.

11Nov/130

Article – Service Applications in SharePoint 2013

Posted by Joy

Looking at the feature set offered by SharePoint 2013, we can categorize into 4 different offerings at very high-level, and they are:

  • SharePoint Foundation 2013
  • SharePoint Server 2013 Standard
  • SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise
  • SharePoint Online

To help you understand which service applications are available in each variation of the SharePoint 2013 platform, I have gathered information from Microsoft TechNet and created the following table for your easy access:

Service Application Name Foundation Standard Enterprise Online
Access Services X X
Access Services 2010 X X X
App Management Service
Business Data Connectivity Service
Excel Services Application X X
Machine Translation Service X X
PerformancePoint Service Application X X X
PowerPoint Automation Services X
Managed Metadata Service Application X
Search Service Application
Secure Store Service X
Site Subscription Settings Service
State Service
User and Health Data Collection Service
User Profile Service Application X
Visio Graphics Service X X
Word Automation Service X
Work Management Service Application X
Workflow Service Application
29Oct/130

Tips n Tricks – SharePoint 2013 support for Windows Server 2012 R2

Posted by Joy

I'm blogging this quickly to make sure that you guys won't waste time like me trying to install SharePoint 2013 on a Windows Server 2012 R2 machine.

I was trying to setup a new virtual machine and as usual I went and downloaded all the latest software through my MSDN Subscription. I installed and configured Windows Server 2012 R2 and installed Active Directory and SQL Server as usual and when it comes to installing SharePoint 2013, I lost my patience. I tried installing Prerequisites installer and it just gave me the following error:

Application Server Role, Web Server (IIS) Role: configuration error

It didn't allow me to proceed and I went searching Bing and Google and found number of posts suggesting me to try following:

None of the above workarounds didn't make my life better and it just gave me the same error and stopped Prerequisites installer giving me the above error.

Finally, I decided to do another search and here is what I found from Bill Baer's blog - http://blogs.technet.com/b/wbaer/archive/2013/09/22/sharepoint-2013-support-for-windows-server-2012-r2.aspx :

Summary

Currently, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 is not supported for installation on computers running the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system.   Installing SharePoint Server 2013 on a computer that is running Windows Server 2012 R2 could lead to unexpected behavior, therefore, Microsoft does not support SharePoint Server 2013 in Windows Server 2012 R2.

SharePoint Server 2013 with Service Pack 1 and SharePoint Foundation 2013 with Service Pack 1 will offer support for Windows Server 2012 R2. The release date for Service Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Foundation 2013 is to be determined. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

I found the answer to my problem and it doesn't support Windows Server 2012 R2. I'm going to start from the scratch with Windows Server 2012 and I believe Bill Bear's blog will give you more information about this issue.