Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Update Center for Microsoft SQL Server

The Microsoft Update Center for SQL Server provides you with the latest Service Packs and CU's for your deployment. Stay updated!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

SharePoint 2013: Standalone installation with local accounts

If u try to install SharePoint without a Domain, u might face the Problem, that SharePoint Products and Configuration Wizard stops with the following error after passing database Access account:

"The specified user MACHINENAME\Username" is a local account. Local accounts should only be used in stand alone mode."

Are we unable to install SharePoint 2013 with local accounts for real? I mean in production this would def. make no sense, but for a development or test Environment it can make sense in certain cases.

The trick here is to precreate the SharePoint_Config database with Power Shell. Use the following command:

> New-SPConfigurationDatabase

This creates all necessary databases and u can run Configuration Manager after with the option “Connect to existing farm”, sure u can successfully setup SharePoint then with local accounts on a single machine.

As this is one of the most time consuming parts of the Setup, u can go for a coffe now. it will take some time...

Windows Server 2012: Akamai Download Manager

If you have a new Installation of Windows Server 2012 and you want to download stuff to install from Microsoft Download Center, u might experience Problems with Akamai Download Manager.

Akamai Download Manager is activated as ActiveX in IE, but first needs to be downloaded. The download is linked to an Akamai Url, without trusting this Url, your unable to download Binaries.

Add the following Url to trusted site and your happy again without using Chrome or FF, or any other strange Browser:


Windows Azure: Trial - VM's deleted after expiration

Today I wanted to reactivate an expired Trial of a Windows Azure hosted VM. As I’m motivated to pay for this Service, I thought I can just go to the account Management, add my credit Card data and would be ready to reactivate my SharePoint Installation.

I checked my available Services and discovered, that my VM was deleted somehow. I checked then if my Image is still in the Gallery, by luck it was. I decided to set up a new VM and attach the existing disk. I was able to create the new VM and attach existing disk. While provisioning the following error appeared:

 “A lease conflict occurred with the blob <blob url>” 

It seems that in the service configuration, my machine is still registered and based on the naming convections my VM could not be recreated. So how to recreate a new machine with the same disk?

There is a Manual how to redeploy a deleted machine, but it didn’t help in my Case.

I found another article which involves power shell to delete the existing lease, unfortunately this didn’t work for me also.

The error I received after running this script was, that my storage account is not properly linked to my account.

If all of the above steps didn’t help, only Microsoft Azure Support can help u. But remember, u need to buy the technical support option. The billing guys won’t help you… welcome in the cloud ;-)
Summary: Add payment Details before your Trial expires, or u might loose ur work.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Microsoft SQL Server 2012: Overview of AlwaysOn Technologies

MS SQL Server 2012 is released since quite a while now and first customers projects are running. If you are involved in building HA/DR solutions, the new release will be your best friend for the next years.

From my perspective one of the top new concepts in the MS SQL Release 2012 is AlwaysOn. Shortly said, AlwaysOn combines the best things of MS SQL clustering, mirroring and replication to provide better high availability solutions for mission critical systems spawned about different data centers and geographical locations.

Now we have the ability to provide multiple secondary online copies of a database and use them for failover or work offloading scenarios. It allows offloading of resource intensive workloads like backup and maintenance or reporting to other servers than the production. It provides a single connection entry point node for all applications. This concept was used in clustering before and allowed the client to connection to a single virtual node, which provided access to the clustered service.

Another important new feature is Availablility groups which provide much better failover capabilities. An availability group supports a failover environment for a set of databases, known as availability databases, that fail over together. An availability group supports a set of primary databases and one to four sets of corresponding secondary databases. This concept is somehow similar to Oracle resource groups. More information:

The guys from provide some introduction movies which provide a great overview of the new concepts in two parts:

Part 1 : Overview
Part 2: Configuration
Another great introduction viedeo was posted by the uk dpe Team and demonstrates an example configuration:

Friday, January 25, 2013

SharePoint Online: Restore deleted Site Collection - Power Shell

Accidentialy deleted site collections are keept in SharePoint Online recycle bin. The following procedure allows a restore of the complete site collection:

1. Download and Install SharePoint Online Management Shell

2. Connect  to SharePoint online

Connect-SPOService [-Url] <UrlCmdletPipeBind> [[-Credential] <CredentialCmdletPipeBind>]

3. Restore the site collection

Restore-SPODeletedSite [-Identity] <SpoSitePipeBind> [-NoWait <SwitchParameter>]

There are more usefull commands to manage site collections in SharePoint online:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

SharePoint 2010: Export and Archive Audit Logs

If you ever work with customers with a high demand on compliance and audit reporting, you will think about using SharePoint Audit Reporting. I want to share some of my experiences about this topic.

Recently one of my customers was searching for an easy configurable and maintainable solution to monitor events in some specific site collections including sensitive data. I implemented the standard SharePoint audit logging. By default you can export and view the audit data then as Excel pivot table. I implemented the following configuration parameters:
  • Capture all document and item events: all flags
  • Capture all lists, libraries, sites: all flags
  • Audit log trimming: No

With this initial configuration I wanted to make sure, that the audit logs are not deleted automatically. But in fact 30 days later all my audit logs were deleted by SharePoint. I did some research and detected, that a time job called "SITECOLLECTION Audit Log Trimming" deleted all the audit logs.

Even if you configured no audit log trimming, this job will delete your logs after 30 days. If you disable the job, then logs won’t be deleted anymore.

Ok, now I thought I’m cool. But then the next issue bumped up. The content database of the audit enabled site collection grew heavily. MS SQL table size report detected, that the audit data table contains 12mio records and uses about 5 GB of disk space and this were just the audit logs of 1.5 months. You can minimize the logged data amount when you don’t log all actions. For example it is mostly not necessary to log the view and file open events because this is logged in web analytics also and there is no relevant document change in this case.

These are the attributes which are logged with each audit log record:

Based on compliance regulations, my customer needs to keep all data for 10 years. If the database grows that fast, it will grow too large and impact the performance of SharePoint and later will become unusable one day, because of it’s size. So i decided to offload the audit log table from time to time with SSIS to another database server and archive it there.

Based on the above table structure, you can see that there’s no primary key logged in this table. So there’s no unique identifier to match the production and archive data from time to time without data loss.
There were two options to solve the issue. First option was a custom development to synchronize production and archive database, based on a web service or a sql trigger. The web service option was time and cost intensive and a sql trigger should not be inserted in the SharePoint database, because you‘ll lose Microsoft product support.

Finally I started search for a 3rd party solution to cover this issue and discovered Idera Audit Management which provides the following features:

· Easily identifies and alerts on security issues
· Helps with SharePoint governance and regulatory compliance
· Adds new events not available in SharePoint’s native auditing
· Safeguards SharePoint performance with an external reporting database
· Find out what’s going on in detail with out-of-the-box reports

This was exactly was I was searching for. I installed a trial version and configured the necessary things. After some days of production use the customer licensed the product and was happy with the solution provided. I'm not paid to write this article, I'm just happy to have the ability to provide real audit logging including offloading and archiving of audit databases to my customers.

Some from the ISV about Idera Audit Management:

Idera SharePoint audit is a comprehensive SharePoint auditing solution that captures permission changes as well as log on events, views, inserts, updates, deletes, and changes, all the way to the field level. SharePoint audit gives you a complete view of who is doing what and where in your SharePoint environment. It enables you to automatically turn on auditing for new SharePoint sites, configure specialized auditing at the web application or site collection level, and monitor the level of auditing across your farm. It collects the data you need in order to comply with regulations and data security requirements, such as Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) and HIPAA.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My SharePoint Knowledge Sources

An unordered selection of web links, with relevant resources for my daily business. As SharePoint Search is not available on Blogger, Ctrl+F provides also fantastic search results.

Office 365 / SharePoint Online

Manage SharePoint Online (2013) with PowerShell:
SharePoint On Premise


SharePoint Variations – The complete Guide:

Idera - SharePoint Audit:

Audit Logging:

MS SQL Server

Maintenance Plans - Best Practices:

Data File Shrink:

High Availybility/AlwaysOn:

Availability Groups: