Monday, March 25, 2013

Cannot create a file when that file already exists

This has been quite the headache for me today...
A customer of ours had used an asset library for storing pictures. In theory that is no problem, except that Asset Libraries don't do thumbnails and folders very well in one view.
So I decided to use Picture Libraries instead and built a new range of picture libraries to hold the pictures. How to best copy them over? I thought using the Content And Structure tool to move the files would be a good idea. That way the metadata would be preserved.
All worked well until....
I tried to find an image in the search.
No luck.
Quick look into the Crawl Log showed "Cannot create a file when that file already exists." for every list view on the new libraries.
Further investigation revealed that the move operation from sharepoint added the Image Content type to the picture library and maintained the content type in the move. In theory a good thing. But for some reason it is not compatible with the existing picture library views when being indexed...
So I re-created the libraries and moved the pictures using windows explorer view and voilla, they all were indexed properly.

And the whole point is?
Do Not Move images from an Asset Library to a Picture Library using the Content And Structure interface!

Friday, March 22, 2013

SharePoint 70-331 exam prep

Hey folks,
Today I sat and passed 70-331 and I was shocked. This is the first time that a SharePoint exam tests your abilities to the core. the 2003 and 2007 exams were glorified sales questions. All you needed to do was do some online courses and reading up about the basic feature set and you had a very good chance of passing. Much to the detriment of companies employing self confessed SharePoint experts. brrrr....
The 2010 exams were a bit tougher and you could not just pass them after sitting the course. It took some practice in the real world to be confident to pass those. Or a good chunk of dedication.  Lots of hands on 2007 experience helped though
But the 2013 exam. Wow. Unless you have several years of hands-on 2010 experience under your belt you have a slim chance of passing that baby.
First off, the MCSA Windows 2012 is now a pre-requisite for the MCSE SharePoint. This kind of pre-requisite has long been overdue and I think MS is on a great path here. So make sure you learn, practice, prep and pass that certificate (either via sitting 3 Windows 2012 exams or upgrading an existing recognised Cert via the whopper upgrade exam 417)
The knowledge tested in that exam will most surely assist you with some of the curve balls that they throw at you during 331


My next tip is to get your hands dirty before sitting the exam. really dirty.
Make sure you have done following things before attempting the exam:

Deployed a full ADFS 2.0 infrastructure
Deployed multiple SharePoint farms in a single forest which talk to each other and share services
Deployed Office 365 tenants using Single Sign On
Installed SharePoint via GUI and Powershell, online and offline
FULLY Configured all components of SharePoint 2013 via the GUI and Powershell
Played heaps with Search configuration and optimisation
Configured a SharePoint farm to run in any of the available authentication methods
Configured multiple SharePoint topologies across multiple servers using a variety of load balancing techniques
Optimised SharePoint Servers, Services and SQL performance
Troubleshooted SharePoint on admin and developer level
Designed highly available farms with several disaster recovery scenarios
Preferrably... got your MCITP SQL Admin under your belt. (does help with some curve balls)

Sorry to bear the bad news here, but this exam rocks the boat! Unless you know your stuff you'll be baffled, confused and dazed. And even if you know your stuff, you'll be under pressure!

final tip: manage your time during the exam wisely...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Accessing SP2013 Central Admin remotely

One thing to keep in mind when accessing Central Admin on SharePoint 2013 (or 2010 for that matter) remotely is that the default URL for Central Admin does not use a FQDN. It uses the server name only. This means that when accessing remotely using the FQDN you will bump into all kind of issues. Especially when Forms Based Authentication is active on a web app in your farm. One of those was the people picker not working no more from the FQDN.
Easy fix! simply add the FQDN to the Alternate Access Mappings for the Central Admin web app and people picker will behave again.

Symptoms:
People Picker won't find any people when accessing with the fully qualified domain name instead of the server name.
Existing names are red-underlined although they exist
Error with Event ID 8307 shows up in your Event Logs, mentioning an exception occurred in Forms claim provider when calling SPClaimProvider.FillResolve().

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Enabling Intel RAID on Windows Server 2012 Laptops

So you installed Windows Server 2012 x64 onto your Intel chipset Laptop using either a dual boot option or a boot to VHD scenario and the damn thing won't boot up properly?
Keeps on rebooting without any useful error message?
Gives you a BSOD on boot up?
And let me guess, you did all the right things. Inserted the usb key with the Intel RAID drivers on them when you did the install. (because otherwise you could not see the drives in the first place to install to)! All installs well, and when you boot into the machine nothing wants to work?

Resetting the BIOS back to AHCI mode seems to solve the problem. Or does it? I think that only solves the symptom. not the problem. Especially if you have a dual boot scenario where your Windows 8 is expecting the RAID configuration and crashes in AHCI mode. Looks like you'll have to enter the bios and switch modes each time you wish to boot into a different image? Get out of here!!!

A possible solution:

For whatever crazy reason, Windows Server will think it is in AHCI mode, even if you give it the right RAID drivers on install. There is a simple fix for this if you aren't afraid of mucking around in the registry a bit.

Step 1) install the OS while in RAID or AHCI mode. Load the drivers. complete the install. wait until the reboot hangs (if in RAID mode)
Step 2) go into bios and chance to AHCI mode (temporarily)
Step 3) boot into the windows image to complete install
Step 4) download and install the latest Rapid Store Drivers from Intel and install (will expect a reboot)
Step 4) open regedit (if you don't know how to open regedit, stop reading and keep your bios on AHCI mode)
Step 4) look for following entries in your registry
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\msahci (sometimes not there depending on how you installed WS2012)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStorV
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStor
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStorIntelManagementEngine
One or more of those keys will have the Start Value set to 2 or 3. change the value for the Start Entry to 0 for each one.
Step 5) shut down, boot up, enter BIOS, change to RAID mode, Save&Exit

Done. next time the system boots it will pick the correct driver depending on your BIOS setting and will not crash and burn.

Monday, March 4, 2013

SharePoint 2013 Shredded Storage Quota Woes

First the good news! Shredded Storage works like a charm on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1. I had a 7GB content db with an average of 2 versions per document (scanned pdf), which shrank right down to 4GB after being migrated to SP 2013. Yay!

Now the bad news...

SharePoint Storage Metrics and Site Quotas do not take this into consideration at all. They still count each version as a unique copy and when adding up the total tally they will give you a number multiple times greater than what is actually being used on disk. Although this is not necessarily a huge issue, it does make "managing by quota" a much harder task as the difference between the quota and the actual space used will get bigger and bigger as time progresses.

So be warned! When you site collection complains at you for maxing out on your pre-configured 50GB storage limit, don't go panicking about your DB space right away. Good chance you're still sitting happily below your warning level with tens of gigs to spare on disk.