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European SharePoint Conference Day 1

After a goodnight sleep and almost an hour of traffic we arrived at the Estrel Hotel. We were ready to attend sessions hole day and soak up information. The opening session from Bjorn Olstad gave us a refreshing view on the meaning of SharePoint as a platform and how most delegates agreed on that. At 10.00 we kicked-off with John Kleemans session on “Measuring Social Learning in SharePoint with Assessments”. His interactive presentation was a good start of the day. Especially his view on learning and forgetting curves and the 70:20:10 Framework by Charles Jennings. After John it was up to Jan Tielens’ session on Office 365. His perspective on the presentation was based uppon busting the ITPRO myths. Topics like management, public sites, enterprise features, user profile synchronization, Exchange and Lync past the review. Where most administrators or ITPRO’s stay on premise because of management, administration, off-premise storage and so on is out of their hands, light was shed on all topic and Jan tried to convince them otherwise. Also the possibilities and limits of custom code, PowerShell and sandboxing were addressed. The possibility to connect the Office 365 cloud with your own Active Directory for a full user import really lifted some weight of my shoulders. Not having to create every user again, but the ability for each user to logon with their own domain account in the cloud is a great feature. With all this together I think working in the cloud is ‘a thing’ for the small and medium sized companies. A full-size corporation would most likely still want to keep their data and application on premise. I’m glad Jan Tielens mentioned that as well. Before lunch I attended Rafal Lukawiecki’s presentation on BI, or as he called it PI. He planned on putting 90 minutes of content in 45 minutes time. So from the start till the end it was a rapid flow of information. All methods of BI came to pass. From the most popular Excel to the yet to be released PowerView. The PowerPivot review with his endless (over 100 milion rows) Excelsheet gave a excellent view on the possibilities and performance. Even with those amounts of data his virtual machines had to trouble generating calculations and filtered views in a matter of a second. The PivotViewer review got the crowd pretty worked up due the awesome animations of the pictures he showed. For Centric that is a everyday thing of course. Wait till they see our ‘Faceboek’! Other ways to gather and filter data where based upon the Bing Maps data connector and the SQL Reporting Services Report builder. His graphical demos were a good example on the possibilities of these tools. In the afternoon it was up to the best practices for SharePoint Enterprise Search by Agnes Molnar. The session was pretty straight forward and the shown options and points of attention were basic information. A few points on federated search are up for further research, but all other were pretty much known information. In the for last session of day 1 I went for Peter Viellefont’s session on templates. I expected some more on planning and structure on the basic business templates, but it turned out to be a sales pitch. So not much learned there. Last but not least we attended Matthew Hughes’ demo on “SharePoint branding from start to finish”. His demonstration on changing the look and feel on a site by using SharePoint designer made it look easy enough! He gave a few ins and outs on how to change headers, footers, the ribbon, menu’s and logo’s by using a custom masterpage and a style sheet. If he can do it in about 30 minutes I could at least put in an hour or 2 of effort to give it a try myself! Ending his session with the quote “I’m not an expert but I can do stuff” gave a nice touch to his demo. Day 1 is done and 2 more yet to come. See you tomorrow!

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SharePoint distributed cache issues

Posted by andre | Posted in Distributed Cache, Installation & Configuration, SharePoint 2013 | Posted on 07-06-2013

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Cache host info is null”  ”FeedCacheService.GetPublishedFeed: Object reference not set to an instance of an object” “The operation failed because the server could not access the distributed cache. Internal type name: Microsoft.Office.Server.Microfeed.MicrofeedException. Internal error code: 55

Have you installed SharePoint 2013 and have you seen any of the above notifications? Well good news, you are not the only one!

I’ve done numerous SharePoint installations for customers in the past months and every multiple-server configuration came with the same errors and none showed anything at the newsfeed.

After reading all the blogs about it I contacted Microsoft and we came to the following conclusions:

Don’t mix your distributed cache instance with your search services

Search can take up a lot of memory. Especially the memory distributed cache would like to use. If those two get into a fight about who’s going to use available memory cache might lose the fight and won’t be able to store the data. This way a wrongful entry could be made into the database and corruption is what follows.

Don’t fiddle with the AppFabric configuration

AppFabric is a Windows feature, distributed cache is a SharePoint cache layer based on top of AppFabric. Changing the AppFabric configuration, starting / stopping the service or changing the hosts in the cluster is not something a SharePoint admin should do. Adding or removing cache hosts should only be done with Remove- SPDistributedCacheServiceInstance and Add-SPDistributedCacheServiceInstance.
When all hope seems lost, start over!

After you’ve seen all the errors and reset all clusters and hosts, you’ll probably still get the same error. By recommendation from Microsoft: start over! Disconnect your servers from the farm and remove your databases.

How to configure

In a multiple server configuration you always start with setting up your main application server. In a basic set-up this server will host your Search, User Profile, etc. This is where the key to a successful configuration lies. After installing the SharePoint software and applying the March PU (KB767999) you want to configure your host without registering as a cachehost. Use the following PowerShell command to do so:

      New-SPConfigurationDatabase -DatabaseName [name] -DatabaseServer [server] -AdministrationContentDatabaseName [name] -Passphrase [passphrase] -

SkipRegisterAsDistributedCacheHost

    -FarmCredentials [credentials]

The parameter “SkipRegisterAsDistributedCacheHost” prevents the server from becoming a distributed cache host.

After you complete your application server you connect your web front-end servers. By running the wizard your server automatically becomes a distributed cache host. In case you want to use dedicated cache hosts you can use the “SkipRegisterAsDistributedCacheHost” parameter when using the “Connect-SPConfigurationDatabase” command.

Configuring the User Profile Service

Now that your farm is ready you create a web application as your MySite host and you add a new User Profile Service service application.

Either you use an existing application pool or you create a new one, the account which is running your application pool needs to have “full control” connection permissions at the User Profile Service application.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow this blog to get this step done:
http://blogs.microsoft.nl/blogs/mpriem/archive/2012/08/20/sharepoint-2013-newsfeeds-showing-nothing.aspx

If all things are set correctly your newsfeed will now show the proper items!

At the servers configured as a cache host you can check the AppFabric configurion by running the following 2 commands in PowerShell:

    Use-CacheCluster followed by Get-CacheHost

Getting the status of your SharePoint Distributed Cache hosts is done by running

    Get-SPServiceInstance | where{$_.typename -like “*distributed*”}

The status on your DistributedCacheCluster is checked with:

    $SPFarm = Get-SPFarm
    $cacheClusterName = “SPDistributedCacheCluster_” + $SPFarm.Id.ToString()
    $cacheClusterManager = [Microsoft.SharePoint.DistributedCaching.Utilities.SPDistributedCacheClusterInfoManager]::Local
    $cacheClusterInfo = $cacheClusterManager.GetSPDistributedCacheClusterInfo($cacheClusterName);
    $cacheClusterInfo | fl *

 

Adding a cache host

If you want to add a SharePoint server as a cache host you run nothing else then:

    Add-SPDistributedCacheServiceInstance

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