Thursday, 25 July 2013

Identifying page load times using Fiddler

Problem:  I have poor performing pges and I need to see which pages are causing my issues, I have the Developer dashboard or web testing in Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate but a nice quick way to identify the issue is to use fiddler with a slight customisation.

Resolution: There are 2 options in Fiddler to monitor performance:
1.> Highlight the requests and click the Timeline tab
2.> Customise Fiddler to show request times for each request as shown below.

Process to Customise Fiddler:
Create a TTL column in fiddler to see how long each request is taking.  In Fiddler press Ctrl + R, this opens the editor CustomRules.js.  Edit as shown below.

In my scenario the page is taking 6 seconds to load as shown in yellow highlight.  My SQL database hosting my SP Config database could not grow.  Once I correct this, my TTL is under 0.1 seconds on a blank default publishing page.

More Info:
See other related Fiddler posts
Enable the developer dashboard post.

Monday, 22 July 2013

SharePoint 2013 Search Overview

Overview:  This post explains how SharePoint 2013 Search works.  SharePoint 2013 search is the latest search within the SP product and replaces SP and Fast search that was used with SP 2010.

6 Components:
  1. Query
  2. Index
  3. Analytics
  4. Content Processing
  5. Crawl
  6. Admin
Tip:  Group Query & Index roles on the same server.  Then group Analytics & Content processing.  Group Crawl & Admin (you can also add content processing to these servers).

Installing search on SP 2013 creates 4 database (all db's by default use the 'Simple' recovery model):
  1. Search Admin,
  2. Search analytics Reporting,
  3. Search Crawl, and
  4. Search Links.
A guideline from Microsoft is: "Add one index partition for every 10 million items in the search index."  This depends on how you are using search, so if you have more documents per index but have few queries or can live with longer response times or your kit can deal more queries this can be increase or decreased.
Index partitions are splitting the data vertically, so if you have 25 million search items and want less than 10 million per partition, you will need 3 index partitions on the 3 index servers.  You do not have redundancy, so if any index goes down your search is broken.  Index replicas as the name suggests is a copy.  I think of this as horizontal scaling.  So if you want HA on your 25 million item search farm, you need another 3 index (Replica) partitions.  You have 6 index servers.  Using index replicas will improve query results speed.

Search Architectures for SharePoint 2013 - From MS (Kavindra Palaraja out of his oit2013-model-sharepoint-search-architecture.pdf document).  This is not my diagram but it explains the components nicely.
Search Components in SharePoint 2013
Replicas and Index partitions explained are refereed to as Rows and Columns. 
Add a new Index partition when the number of documents in the index exceeds 30 million.

SharePoint 2013 supports 3 types of Crawls:
  1. Full (SP2010) 
  2. Incremental (SP2010) and
  3. Continuous.
  • The continuous crawl on works on SP2013 content and shall display content in the crawl results as soon as data has been crawled and run thru the content processing component (CPC) (it doesn't wait for the crawl to complete).  Note: security changes are only picked up after incremental search is run.  There are no crawl logs for continuous crawls, so for troubleshooting go to SQL Search Service DB for the table MSSMiniCrawls (verify).
  • "multiple continuous crawls can run at the same time. Therefore, even if one continuous crawl is processing a large content update, another continuous crawl can start at the predefined time interval and crawl other updates. Continuous crawls of a particular content repository can also occur while a full or incremental crawl is in progress for the same repository."  Technet 
  • It is a good idea to run incremental crawls as they index more data than just SP2013 data and continuous crawl does not process or retry items that return errors and the incremental crawl shall clean theses items up.
Tip: Results can also be security trimmed at Query time, this is FTC (Full Trust Code) that must be deployed on the query role search server on-prem.

More Info:
Capacity management and sizing overview for SharePoint Server 2013
SP2013 Stretch Farms
SP2013 Database types and desc

Design Goal - Index partitions and Index replicas.

Partitions marked in Red.

Note: 2016/11/16 - Adding email messages e.g. msg to SharePoint has always crawled the data however in MOSS and SP2010, the attachments do not get crawled.  SP2013 (it may be since SP1) and Office 365 will also index the attachments of messages saved in SharePoint.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Understanding SharePoint 2013 On-Premise Licencing

Overview:  SharePoint licencing is pretty confusing in SP2010 and MOSS.  MS have changed how licencing works and in this post I try simply how licencing works.

SharePoint 2013 uses the Server/Client Access License (CAL) licensing model. 

Server Licences:
Unlike SP2010 in SP2013 there is only 1 model for a server licence (Internet Site server licences no longer exist).  Your only choice in the paid versions on the Server licencing is: Standard or Enterprise.  Full list price according to the site Directions on Microsoft states "US$6,798" for the SharePoint Server licence.

  • CALs are based on per user or per device. 
  • CALs come in 2 favours: Standard or Enterprise.  You can mix these together on the same farm/servers being accessed.  So if you have 100 internal users using Enterprise functionality and 900 using Standard functionality you pay for 100 enterprise licences and 900 standard licences (pretty obvious however in SP2010 if didn't work like this).
  • Internet users are external users and normally access the servers using anonymous access - they do not need CALs.
  • External Users* that access the Intranet/internal sites don't need CALs.  This is the trickiest 1 to define for me.  "External Users: Users who are not the licensee’s or its affiliates’ employees or on-site agents or contractors."  MSDN 2012.
Disclaimer:  I am not a licencing expert - speak to you licencing rep for your scenario.
 * External Users - are people that don't work for your company/organisation (it has noting to do with location from where you access the SP farm).

  • FAST is not used in SP2013 so there is no licencing requirement on a SP2013 farm.
  • Office Web Apps (OWA) cals are licenced against the Office client licences.  You don't need licences for using OWA in read only mode but to edit the end users needs either the Standard Office or Professional Office licence.  I don't believe you pay for OWA server licences.
  • SP2013 version comparison chart from Dave Coleman.
  • SQL Server and Windows licencing is outside the scope of this post - you will need them.

More Info:

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Importing an SSRS report and displaying it on a new environment

This is a 3 Series Post on SSRS 2012 for SharePoint 2010

Part 2 - (This Post) Importing an SSRS report and displaying it on a new environment

Overview:  This post looks at moving your SQL Server Report Services Report into a new farm (e.g. production).  I use the UI in this step-by-step guide.  I am using SQL 2012 for SSRS and SP 2010 as created in this post.

  1. SP 2010 WFE's
  2. SQL 2012 SP1 is the database server
  3. Report (.rdl) is already created and uses a .rsds file to specify the connection string. 
Steps to migrate and deploy an existing SSRS report:
1. CA > Application Management > Manage Service Applications.
2. New > SQL Server Reporting Services Service Application > Fill in as shown below:

3. Verify the Service Application is running.

4. Once Completed.  Open a Web Application that has the SSRS Service Application associated to it so we can test it out.  Login to a site collection and create a new library based on the "Reports Library" template.

5. Upload a report (.rdl) and the Connection (.rsds) file int he new "Report library". Then click the dataset/connection (.rsds) file, and test it is working.

6. Edit the binding of the rdl to it rsds as shown below:

7. Ensure you have the SP, scheme ect on the database server to perform the query logic.
8. Click on the report (rdl) file to see it working.
Tip: The install is fragile in that if the order, versions or settings are not right it doesn't work without giving error often.  Make sure SQL Servsions on all machines are the same!  I got caught by not having the same SQL version on 1 WFE as the backend SQL SSRS server.
This is a 3 Series Post on SSRS 2012 for SharePoint 2010

Part 2 - (This Post) Importing an SSRS report and displaying it on a new environment
Also I have an updated post on using SP2013 to us SSRS in SharePoint mode here.
Update: 24 Jan 2014 - PS to upload rdl's and data sources into a reporting library
$spWeb = Get-SPWeb ""
$spList = $spWeb.Lists["SSRS"]
$file = [io.file]::ReadAllBytes('C:\test.rdl')
# This code finds the SSRS reporting library called "SSRS" and takes a rdl file off the local drive and adds it to the library.

Installing SSRS 2012 in SharePoint Mode on SP2010

This is a 2 Series Post on SSRS 2012 for SharePoint 2010.  Note: SP2013 steps are the same.

Part 1 - (This Post) Installing SSRS 2012 in SharePoint Mode on SharePoint 2010
Part 3 Update - Installing SSRS 2012 SP1 onto a SP2013 Farm
Overview:  Install SSRS 2012 onto an existing SP 2010 farm.  The image below shows a 4 server SP2010 farm.  2 of the web server roles (WFE) have the "SQL Server Reporting Services Service" running.  The 2 images below show the setup we are aiming for. 
Goal: SSRS working on a SP2010 farm using SQL 2012 / SSRS 2012
Another way of displaying what I am trying to achieve is document below:
There are essentially 2 parts:
1) Install SSRS on the database server (this does not need to be the same as the SharePoint database server/s) that will support SSRS in SharePoint mode mode.  This relies on SQL Server 2012 Enterprise edition (I used SQL Server 2012 SP1). 
2) Install minimal SQL Server 2012 with the 2 features mention: "Reporting Services - SharePoint" and "Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Products" on each WFE that will run the SSRS role.

The image below shows the SQL Server 2012 installation required for the two roles:
1) For the SSRS server click/select all features as shown below:
2) For the SQL/SSRS role on the WFE's install the 2 features marked in red (ignore the checks on the other features). 

If you have an existing SQL Server instance you can verify which features are installed as shown below:
You can do this on the SQL Server and the WFE's to check the correct versions and features are being used.
Tip: Ensure the SQL Server Server 2012 versions are identical on the datbase server and the WFE/App servers.

These are the 2 SQL Server 2012 features to needed for SSRS (SharePoint Mode) on the SharePoint App/WFE servers that will run the SSRS Service (Features if you automate the SQL installs -FEATURES=RS_SHP,RS_SHPWFE):
RS_SHPReporting Services – SharePoint (Installed on the SharePoint WFE where the Reporting Service Application will\ be run).
RS_SHPWFEReporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Products (Installed on the SharePoint WFE where the Reporting Service Application will\ be run).

Provision the SSRS Service on the Farm using PowerShell:

Get-SPServiceInstance -all | where {$_.TypeName -like "SQL Server Reporting*"}| Start-SPServiceInstance

Validate the installation:
  • CA > Manage Servers in the farm > Verify the Service "SQL Server Reporting Services Service"is on the WFE/App server.
  • CA > Manage Services on Server > Select the Server where the SSRS-add-in has been installed and > Verify the "SQL Server Reporting Services Service" service is "Started".
  • Using the Discovery Reports discussed above verify that the SQL Server with SSRS (SP mode is the same SQL version as the web/app servers in the farm (all my servers are version 11.1.3000.0 - SQL 2012 SP1). 
More Info:

Errors to Lookout for:

Problem: Install SSRS on my SP2010 farm - I get the following error:
Exception calling "Provision" with "0" argument(s): "Installation Error: Could not find SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\110 registry key.

Initial Hypothesis:  Originally I thought I could overcome the issue by updating the folder layout and registry on each WFE that would run the reporting role.  I could not get this to work.

Resolution:  Don't use the rsSharePoint.msi file (even the SQL 2012 SP1 version).  You need to install the 2 features (1)Reporting Services – SharePoint and 2)Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Products.) during/using a SQL installation.

This is a 2 Series Post on SSRS 2012 for SharePoint 2010
Part 1 - (This Post) Installing SSRS 2012 in SharePoint Mode on SharePoint 2010