(Post courtesy Partner Technical Consultant specializing on Dynamics CRM)
Partners would like to increase the availability of Dynamics CRM data to customers worldwide or in different locations, thereby achieving redundancy.
They are asking about the possibility of using SQL Server Log Shipping / SQL Server Database Mirroring / SQL Server replication towards this goal. What is the Microsoft-supported synchronization mechanism to achieve some form of load-balancing?
Dynamics CRM 2011 offers a scale-out concept that includes front-end roles, back-end roles and deployment administration roles. With Network Load-Balancing and SSL Offloader we can achieve load-balancing of client side requests. For further details please see the diagram below.
SQL Server for Dynamics CRM is designed as a central data store and cannot be used simultaneously in two locations to distribute the load and have data synchronized bi-directionally.
For performance and data integrity reasons we recommend using SQL Server in a central location and have clients connect over the WAN using technologies such as via Remote Desktop Services.
Log Shipping and Database Mirroring cannot be used for two-way replication. Log Shipping and Database Mirroring can serve as components in a disaster recovery concept and provide a standby environment, which however does not allow for concurrent write access by users. Both technologies have certain requirements on available bandwidth, even though log files allow for high compression.
Log Shipping serves as a mechanism to have a stand-by server restoring the transaction log on a separate copy of the database at certain intervals, which can be configured. The database can be made accessible as read-only – with the exception of the restore times when a log backup gets applied - or for database backup purposes thereby alleviating the production system from that type of workload.
Synchronous Database mirroring is supported with Dynamics CRM. Database Mirroring with automatic failover is a high-availability mechanism which in the current version of SQL Server 2008 R2 operates on a per-database-level. The Dynamics CRM 2011 Implementation Guide provides details how to set up synchronous database mirroring for Dynamics CRM. Note that since Dynamics CRM uses multiple databases, you have to take extra precaution and manually ensure for example that objects in system databases are always in sync.
Only the Enterprise, Developer and Datacenter Edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 support asynchronous database mirroring to cope with large distances or varying bandwidth. Since Dynamics CRM has dependencies on the application tier, there is no documentation available how you would switch to a remote database while maintaining existing frontend and backend servers and Microsoft has not tested this scenario. A high-availability concept needs to consider all layers of the environment (network, switches, role servers, Active Directory, etc). Also note that asynchronous database mirroring can lead to possible data loss and consequently database inconsistencies.
SQL Server replication is not supported with Dynamics CRM 2011 since it causes changes on the database schema, for example by introducing triggers.
Replication solutions for products like Dynamics CRM 2011 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 are typically provided by partners since they depend on a consulting engagement and will be supported by the partner, not Microsoft. You can search for Microsoft partner solutions at http://pinpoint.microsoft.com.
- Access the CRM system remotely by way of an Internet-Facing Deployment (IFD) and Claims authentication or allow controlled access via Forefront UAG for the web client. Note that UAG is not supported with the Outlook client at this time http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh490315.aspx.
- Using a different CRM organization in each location and set up a common reporting across tenants. Or use custom programming via CRM API's to asynchronously replicate defined fields or records via client-side events. Note, however, that this should only be a solution for a very limited synchronization scope.
- Use CRM Online to overcome some of the limitations of an on-premise solution and achieve better accessibility from remote locations. For performance considerations with regards to the geo-location of the CRM Online datacenter please see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crminthefield/archive/2011/10/31/crm-online-performance-troubleshooting-ideas.aspx.
(Post courtesy Rohit Kochher)
System Center Operations Manager 2012 has significant changes in setup from Operations Manager 2007. Setup of 2012 has become simpler and installation has become easier.
If you want to follow along on a test server, you can download Beta version of SCOM 2012 from here.
Note: The Root Management Server (RMS) concept which from Operations Manager 2007 R2 has been removed from Operations Manager 2012. All Operations Manager 2012 servers are management servers. However we do have an RMS emulator to support those management packs which target RMS. Architecturally, servers in Operations Manager 2012 have a peer-to-peer relationship and not a parent-child relationship like Operations Manager 2007 R2.
In this blog we will discuss the setup of Operations Manager 2012 with some screenshots of the installation wizard. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP1 or 2008 R2 should be installed prior running SCOM 2012 Setup. You can get more information on SCOM 2012 supported configurations here.
Now, once we run setup.exe we will see the following screen:
You can click on Install for setup of Management server, Management Console, Web server and Reporting Server. Under Optional installations you can choose to install Local agent, Audit Collection Services, Gateway management server, and ACS for Unix/Linux.
Once you click on Install you will get the screen to accept the agreement. Once you accept that you will get below screen
You can select the component that you want to install. Clicking on the arrow pointing down in front of each role will give brief information about that role. There is no explicit option to install OPS DB and data warehouse, as they are integrated. Selecting given features, you will get screen for location of program files. The default location is C:\Program Files\System Center Operations Manager 2012.
The next step will show you prerequisite failures (if any). You will get information for failures along with download links to install any missing prerequisites.
Next you get screen to input information about management server. You can specify if it is first management server in new management group or an additional management server in an existing management group.
You can specify the name of the management group here. You will also get the screen to specify operations database. We need to install both operations database and data warehouse in Operations Manager 2012. Installing Data warehouse is mandatory in 2012 (a change compared with Operations Manager 2007). The data warehouse is needed for things like dashboards etc. If this is second management server you can click on Add a management server to existing management group option.
After specifying the required information about Operations database and clicking on next, you will get similar screen for Operations manager data warehouse.
The next screen allows you to configure Operations Manager service accounts.
You can specify the required accounts on this screen and click on next to complete the setup. This setup will automatically assign local administrators group on server to the Operations Manager admin role. Once you enter account information here, it will be automatically verified in the background. In case the account cannot be verified (or the password is incorrect), you will get a red warning as the above picture illustrates.
After this, you will get the option to participate in the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) and Error reporting. Finally, you will also get the option for configuring Microsoft Updates.
The last screen will provide you with an installation summary. Clicking on Install will start the Installation. Once finished, you are all set to monitor your infrastructure! Some of the great features in Operations Manager 2012 are the new dashboards, network monitoring , and application monitoring; which will be covered in future posts.
You can check the deployment guide for Operations Manager 2012 here.
System Center Operations Manager 2012 Beta resources
(Post courtesy Anil Malekani)
Recently I tried configuring Software Update Management in Configuration Manager 2012. After installing WSUS on the Configuration Manager 2012 box, I tried to install Software Update Point as a site role.
The Software Update Point role successfully installed, as per the SUPSetup.log file (under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\Logs)
However, my updates still did not appear on the console. After checking the Site Component status for SMS_WSUS_SYNC_MANAGER and SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER I noticed errors as below
SMS_WSUS_SYNC_MANAGER: Message ID 6600
SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER: Message ID 6600
I checked under WCM.log (under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\Logs), and found the following proxy error
SCF change notification triggered. SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
This SCCM2012.CORP80.COM system is the Top Site where WSUS Server is configured to Sync from Microsoft Update (WU/MU) OR do not Sync. SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
Found WSUS Admin dll of assembly version Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration, Version=3.0.6000.273, Major Version = 0x30000, Minor Version = 0x17700111 SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
Found WSUS Admin dll of assembly version Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration, Version=3.1.6001.1, Major Version = 0x30001, Minor Version = 0x17710001 SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
The installed WSUS build has the valid and supported WSUS Administration DLL assembly version (3.1.7600.226) SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
System.Net.WebException: The request failed with HTTP status 502: Proxy Error ( The host was not found. ).~~ at Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration.AdminProxy.CreateUpdateServer(Object args)~~ at Microsoft.UpdateServices.Administration.AdminProxy.GetUpdateServer(String serverName, Boolean useSecureConnection, Int32 portNumber)~~ at Microsoft.SystemsManagementServer.WSUS.WSUSServer.ConnectToWSUSServer(String ServerName, Boolean UseSSL, Int32 PortNumber) SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
Remote configuration failed on WSUS Server. SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
STATMSG: ID=6600 SEV=E LEV=M SOURCE="SMS Server" COMP="SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER" SYS=SCCM2012.corp80.com SITE=CM1 PID=2424 TID=5408 GMTDATE=Fri Oct 14 00:20:03.092 2011 ISTR0="SCCM2012.corp80.com" ISTR1="" ISTR2="" ISTR3="" ISTR4="" ISTR5="" ISTR6="" ISTR7="" ISTR8="" ISTR9="" NUMATTRS=0 SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
Waiting for changes for 46 minutes SMS_WSUS_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER 1/1/1601 12:00:00 AM 5408 (0x1520)
I validated that the proxy had been configured correctly and my browser settings also contained the same settings.
Resolution: After spending some time I found that Configuration Manager 2012 uses the system account proxy settings, which were set to Automatically detect settings.
(Post courtesy Bonoshri Sarkar)
Hi everyone, this is Bonoshri Sarkar here. I have worked for Microsoft as Partner Technical Consultant specializing in Directory Services for the past two years; providing end to end consulting to enable partners to design, position, sell and deploy Microsoft Platforms for their customers. In my earlier role, I worked for more than 4 years on the Microsoft Support team focusing on Microsoft Directory Services.
Since I have a great affinity for Directory Services, I thought it would be a great idea to pen down my thoughts and experience on ensuring a smooth Active Directory Upgrade.
For any kind of Upgrade/ Migration / Transition to go smooth, and later on to have an healthy environment, it is required to spend a fair amount of time in planning and making sure that the source or the present environment is in a healthy state. Two driving factors for any upgrade or transition include the need to utilize the new features that the new version of the product has to offer, and the other being to ease the complexities and the issues of the current environment. However, most IT Pros do not take adequate steps to check the health of their existing Active Directory environment. In this post, I would like to address some of the key steps that an AD Administrator must perform prior to an upgrade or transition.
In my experience of assisting customers and partners in different transitions, most of the issues pertain to the source domain or the source domain controllers, so I will discuss few important things which should be considered as mandatory before going for any kind of Upgrade / Migration / Transition.
The health check should be done in 2 phases.
1. Planning Phase
2. Deploy Phase (just before implementing the upgrade, transition or migration)
In the first phase we should identify what all services and roles are running on the machine that we are planning to upgrade, and rule out things that we do not want to move to our new box.
Putting emphasis on diagnosing AD issues, we can use dcdiag to ensure a healthier Active Directory, I know we have been using dcdiag for many years, and we look for failure messages in the output, but apart from the failure messages, we can also consider issues such as those highlighted in yellow below:
If you notice the first part of dcdiag says “failed test replication”, which implies that there are issues with Active Directory replication with this Domain Controller.
The second message tells us that there are issues with netlogon and sysvol which are default logon shares, both the errors can be interdependent or could be because of completely different reasons.
In this scenario we need to fix AD replication first or dig into it more to find what is causing these errors. Now you can use few more commands to check the AD replication like repadmin /syncall /eAP. In case of a huge enterprise, you can also use Replmon (2003).
The third message tells us that the important services are running. We need to be sure that the above services are started to ensure a smooth transition.
If we don’t get enough details from the dcdiag results, check the event viewer, and if you do not see anything restart the FRS service and then check the event viewer for Event ID 13516.
Apart from dcdiag you can also use Netdiag to check the network status and get detailed information.
In addition to this, make sure the NIC card drivers are updated on the old server.
Instead of disabling the hardware or software based firewall between on the servers (old &new), ensure that you make the appropriate exceptions and port configurations to ensure proper communication between the directory servers (see Active Directory and Active Directory Domain Services Port Requirements).
Any third party legacy application(s) should be tested in lab environment to make sure that they are compatible with new version of server OS and Active Directory.
We also have different versions of Exchange BPA (Best Practice Analyzer) tools depending on the version of Exchange to check Exchange integrity and Exchange specific permission (You can select Permission check to gather that information).
Last but not the least read the migration or transition documents (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc731188(WS.10).aspx) to make sure server has all the minimum requirements.
Once we are sure that the servers are in healthy state do not forget to take a full and a system state backup using a supported backup system as documented in the TechNet article below
All these stitches in time would definitely save you nine hours’ worth of troubleshooting. It’s up to you to decide, would you like to troubleshoot or enjoy your Fries with Coke?
A few days back, I configured OS deployment in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Beta 2 to deploy a Windows 7 Image, which I had captured using Configuration Manager 2007. It was all in a Hyper-V environment so no drivers were to be included in this scenario. I wanted to share an illustrated walkthrough of the process.
A high level overview of the steps taken in Configuration Manager 2012
Step 1 : Add a WDS Role
The Windows Deployment Services role is required on the server where we'll have a distribution point with PXE service enabled.
Step 2: Add a DHCP scope in the network segment where you plan to deploy OS images using network boot.
Step 3: Enable PXE service point on the distribution point
a. Under Administration workspace, go to properties of Distribution Point Role
b. Go to PXE tab and enable PXE service point (circled in picture below)
Step 4: Enable Unknown Computer support
Step 5: Distribute Boot images to the Distribution Point
a. Under Software Library workspace, go to Operating Systems and click on Boot Images
b. Right click on a boot image and select Distribute Content option
c. Click Next on the first page of the wizard
d. On the Content Destination page, click on Add button and select either Distribution Point or Distribution Point Group
e. Select the Distribution Point group or Distribution Point and follow the rest of the wizard
f. Follow the same process for the other boot image as well.
Step 6: Set boot image properties
a. Right click on the boot image and select Properties.
b. Go to Data Source tab and select "Deploy this boot image from the PXE service point"
c. Click OK and follow the same process for the other boot image as well.
Step 7: Added an OS Image and distributed it to the distribution point
a. Under Software Library workspace, go to Operating Systems and right click on Operating System Images
b. Select "Add Operating System Image
c. Locate the OS image file ( .wim extension) on the network and follow the rest of the Wizard providing name and other information
Step 8: Create a Task Sequence
a. Under Software Library > Operating System, right click on Task Sequences and select 'Create Task Sequence' option
b. Select the option to include existing image package and follow the wizard which is similar as in Configuration Manager 2007.
Step 9: Assigned the task sequence to a Collection, under device collections
a. Right click on the desired Task Sequence and select Deploy
b. Select the collection where you need to target the image deployment. For fresh machines you can either choose Unknown computers, OR if you have imported computer information in a separate collection, you can target that.