Monday, February 28, 2011

CIAOPS SharePoint bootcamp

Announcing the CIAOPS SharePoint Bootcamp

The aim of this hands on course is to provide you with the technical and business skills to confidently sell and support a variety of SharePoint installations

 

All attendees receive:

1. A subscription to the CIAOPS Operations Guide (www.wssops.com) that includes documentation, videos and more. Existing subscribers will have their subscription extended by the equivalent amount. (valued up to $300)

2. A hard disk containing virtual machine images to be used for hands on training on the day which can be used for further training after the event (valued up to $ 100 ex).

3. Course notes, white papers, documentation etc.

4. Meals (morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea as appropriate to the attended sessions)

 

Each day will be composed of 2 sessions:

Part 1 - Technical (9am - 12.30pm)

This session will show you how to install, manage, maintain and migrate SharePoint. You'll also learn how to enable additional features with SharePoint to greatly improve its functionality. You also gain deep insight into SQL Database management as well as how to troubleshoot common SharePoint issues.

Part 2 - Business integration (1.30pm - 5pm)

This session will focus on the business applications of SharePoint and how it can improve business processes. You'll learn about integration with Office products such as Word, OneNote and InfoPath. You learn how to build automated business solutions and template them for use in other SharePoint sites.

Costs

Single session - $ 299 ex GST (including a 6 month subscription to CIAOPS SharePoint Guide).

Both sessions = $ 399 ex GST(including a 12 month subscription to CIAOPS SharePoint Guide)

Registration

 

For more information and to book please visit – www.ciaops.com/bootcamp

 

I expect these sessions to fill quickly given the total limit of 20 attendees. There are currently 2 dates confirmed for Sydney with some tentative dates in Brisbane and Melbourne (depending on numbers and venue arrangements). Please visit www.ciaops.com/bootcamp for more information about these dates.

Early Bird

As an early bird bonus if you sign and pay before May you’ll receive immediate access to the CIAOPS SharePoint Guide (www.wssops.com) but your subscription will commence in May 2011.

Any questions please let me know (director@ciaops.com).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Need to Know Podcast – Episode 16

The latest episode features Matt Makowicz from the Ambition Mission speaking about breaking through revenue barriers in business and building a sales team.

 

You can access the podcast directly from:

 

http://ciaops.podbean.com/2011/02/22/episode-16-matt-makowicz/

 

as well as view all previous episodes at:

 

http://ciaops.podbean.com

 

where you can not only subscribe via mediums such as iTunes but also leave comments and ratings on each episode.

 

If you are interested in, or know a business that is, sponsoring the show please contact me directly (director@ciaops.com). Also if you would like to appear as a guest or would like to hear from someone specifically again contact me (director@ciaops.com). Finally, if you think the show has provided you with value I'd appreciate any donation you'd care to make. All donations go to helping me improve what is offered (http://www.ciaops.com/donation).

Monday, February 21, 2011

YouTube milestone

image_2_565E8726

 

Just over 4 years ago I started to upload videos to YouTube. About 2 years later I open a new YouTube account and continued to upload videos there. Since that time I have not uploaded any new videos to the original account. Now over 2 years later that original account has reached over 500,000 views and 582 subscribers! Amazing.

 

I still continue to get plenty of feedback, comments and subscribers to something that I haven’t basically changed in over 2 years.

 

image_4_416D04B3

 

The video with the highest views (shown above) has over 63,000 in total.

 

I would have never imagined that any video I created would ever garner this many views. To me it demonstrates the growing influence of video and the power of sites like YouTube. I continue to develop and release videos and upload them to YouTube (here’s the latest):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4aKSQVPerA

 

Each video incorporates subtle changes that help me understand what works best for video production on the web. Sometimes I’m looking to understand audio, others its about resolution but each video is a another test in an effort to find the best methods of production.

 

All of this testing allows me to typically improve what I provide to subscribers of my SharePoint Guide as I have found that people are far more receptive to short video tutorials as an adjunct to the printed material in the Guide. My aim is provide at least one video tutorial to subscribers to allow them to quickly get up to speed on SharePoint.

 

Many question the value of YouTube but I see it as one of the main marketing methods available to me to reach a potential world wide audience. Creating videos these days is so easy that there should be no excuse why you aren’t doing so if you are in business. In most cases it is not creating the video that is problem but what to create videos on. Smart businesses will learn to understand how they can use video to reach more customers and generate business. Others dismiss it as a waste of time. My response to that is fine, but for me the results speak for themselves.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No Office Web Apps on SBS 2011 Standard


One of the really great features of SharePoint 2010 is the fact that it can used as a platform for Office Web Apps. Office Web Apps allows the ability to work with Office documents using only a web browser. You can see this for yourself if you have a Skydrive account.

SBS 2011 Standard has SharePoint Foundation 2010 included and many were looking forward to the opportunity of running Office Web Apps on their SBS 2011 Standard installation. In a small business environment, Office Web Apps makes a lot of sense since it provides greater flexibility for the business, especially in conjunction with remote access. The problem is that Microsoft has now said it won’t support Office Web Apps on SBS 2011 Standard.

The following was recently posted by Michael Leworthy in the Microsoft Connect forum:

Unfortunately after exhausting all avenues, I have to confirm that Office Web Apps will not be supported on the SBS 2011 Standard Server install. Office Web Apps is not supported on domain controllers, and we could not develop a supported workaround that we felt was in-line
with our commitment to security and reliability for the Windows Server platform.


Office Web Apps is fully supported on SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 running on the SBS 2011 Premium Add-on, or a non DC member server, and you can integrate this back into your SBS 2011 environment using these steps http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg616007.aspx. However,you will still require VL licensing for Office 2010 to utilize Office Web Apps.

I appreciate your patience while we working our way through this – unfortunately I could not succeed in your asks around this product,
or the licensing.


thanks
Michael


Some have raised the point as to how running Office Web Apps on a domain controller is any different from running Exchange, SharePoint and ISA on a domain controller which are also not ‘supposed’ to be run there. Different versions of SBS have done this for years, that is just the way SBS is. The current version of SBS also allows remote access via web folders, so how are any of these really any different to Office Web Apps in the security context mentioned?

At the moment, when you install Office Web Apps on SBS 2011 Standard, it will break things. There is no doubt that ‘work arounds’ will become available, however as it currently stands there is no supported method of installing Office Web Apps on SBS 2011 Standard (except on a second server) and that my friends is a damm shame, a damm shame.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SharePoint Foundation BLOB storage


If you download and install SharePoint Foundation 2010 from the Microsoft web site and use it with the default options you’ll end up storing the content on SQL Server 2008 Express which is limited to 4GB database sizes. if you work with SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2011 you’ll end up storing the content on SQL Server 2008 Express R2 which allows databases up to 10GB in size. One of the options beyond that is Binary Large Object Storage or BLOB storage.

So what’s BLOB storage? Many SharePoint sites are full of things like pictures, documents and the like which can vary in size from a few kilobytes up to many megabytes. The larger these ‘binary objects’ become the more size they chew up in the SQL database in which they are stored. SQL databases are typically not the best places for storing large binary data. In order to reduce the size of the SQL databases and improve their performance you can enable BLOB storage which basically allows this large data to be stored on the file system rather than in the database, yet still take advantage of many of the features that databases provide.

Sounds good eh? Well yes and no (and I think more so no for SharePoint). The good thing is that it reduces the total size of your SharePoint database and allows it to break the 10GB limit. However, I see plenty of downsides:

- BLOB storage adds complexity to SharePoint. How do you backup and restore BLOBs? How do you configure and enable it? What happens when you need to migrate data?

- If you work with a lot of files and BLOB storage you are going to end up with lots of orphaned BLOB stores which will require tidy up.

- You cannot assume that your current implementation using the present version of the software will be compatible with future versions of Microsoft Office or SharePoint Foundation (this straight from the Microsoft technical document).

- No utility is available for moving BLOB data from an existing content database into the external BLOB store. After you enable BLOB storage on SQL server on new BLOB data will end up in the BLOB storage location.

- Some backup and restore functions in SharePoint Foundation operate on the content databases but not on the external BLOB store. You must handle the backup and restore of external BLOB data differently to standard SharePoint.

- Microsoft recommends that if the content databases become larger than 16GB you upgrade to the full version of SQL Server that provides for unlimited database sizes.

- Remote BLOB storage is most useful for large file storage, typically in environments that require archiving.

- Once you enable remote BLOB storage all BLOB data ends up there. This means that if you have lots of small BLOB files accesses regularly you may experience latency.

- SQL BLOB Storage using FILESTREAM with SharePoint Foundation can only be to the local drives and does not support snapshot backups.

On balance then I think that if you are approaching the 10GB limit with the free version of SQL Server 2008 Express R2 it’s time to think about upgrading to a full version of SQL rather than implementing BLOB storage. Too me, from what I see, there is just too much downside.

You have been warned.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Need to Know Podcast – Episode 15

 

The latest episode features Todd Colbeck from the Colbeck Coaching Group speaking about referral systems. We cover 12 systems that you can quickly and easily implement in your business to generate more leads.

 

You can access the podcast directly from:

 

http://ciaops.podbean.com/2011/02/08/episode-15-todd-colbeck/

 

as well as view all previous episodes at:

 

http://ciaops.podbean.com

 

where you can not only subscribe via mediums such as iTunes but also leave comments and ratings on each episode.

 

If you are interested in, or know a business that is, sponsoring the show please contact me directly (director@ciaops.com). Also if you would like to appear as a guest or would like to hear from someone specifically again contact me (director@ciaops.com). Finally, if you think the show has provided you with value I'd appreciate any donation you'd care to make. All donations go to helping me improve what is offered (http://www.ciaops.com/donation).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gouged

After the Christmas / New Year break many traditional retailers started to mount a campaign to lobby the Australian Government and people that a greater duty should be imposed on goods purchased overseas on the Internet. Their reasoning? These overseas purchases where not being charged the Goods and Services Tax (GST = 10% on top of price). They claimed this to be grossly unfair and made them uncompetitive.

Initially Gerry Harvey, owner of Harvey Norman department stores took the lead role but was resoundingly shouted down by social media. You can read about that here. Well Gerry, let me share with you my own experience and why you are living in the past.

I was after some SharePoint 2010 books. I keep my reading list at www.goodreads.com (you can connect with me there if you want and view my lists and reviews. Just use director@ciaops.com to connect) so I did a look up of the book I was interested in on Amazon.



I like Amazon for many reasons but one is the reviews. I checked out the reviews and ratings, then judged the book to be a good investment. However, instead of buying it through Amazon I usually try and support an Australian business. So I looked up the same book there.



Ah…the same book is over TWICE as expensive from an Australian business. SAY WHAT?? (the clean version of my initial reaction). Ok, maybe that’s an anomaly. Here’s my second choice, firstly on Amazon



then locally



this time almost THREE times as much! Again – SAY WHAT??

Look, I appreciate that there are different publishing laws, sellers, shipping etc involved here, however at a current exchange rate of about one Australian Dollar to one US dollar, guess what? As the customer I DON’T CARE. I’m prepared to wear a small mark up to support an Australian business, but really TWO and THREE times as much? I’m afraid not.

Amazon will probably deliver just as fast, provide better customer service, reward my loyalty and even give me the option to download it electronically on to just about every device I own. You local resellers just don’t get it do you? How can you afford to be so much out of whack with international offerings that are geared to World market? You are putting yourselves out of business at these rates and I honestly say good riddance. If you are going to be THAT uncompetitive you don’t deserve to be in business because somewhere along the line SOMEONE is ripping me off and as a customer I DON’T CARE! You think that I’m not smart enough to use my computer and make a few comparison eh? Well I ain’t too stupid to waste my money on what is essentially an identical article at a 200% and 300% mark-up.

If you still don’t understand why I’ll be taking my business elsewhere (roll on Amazon) and unlikely to return I’d suggest you read



but make sure you get it from Amazon (above)



because locally it is still 2.5 times more expensive!

Facebook https

When you do your Internet banking you (hopefully) do so over a secure encrypted connection. Amoungst other things, this ensures that no one else can see what you are doing. Unfortunately, other sites don’t usually do any encryption.

 

Enter Firesheep. This is a free utility anyone can download, install on their wifi enabled machine and basically take over your Facebook connection if you use it an open wifi hotspot like a coffee shop. Have a look at this article for more information on what is possible.

 

One way to thwart such attacks is to use a https (i.e. http with security) when using a service. Problem is most common social networking services don’t support a connection at their end. However, now Facebook does.

 

To enable this go into your Facebook account settings and select Account Security

 

image_2_2A2D3C03

 

Save the setting and then reconnect to Facebook. You should now see that you are connecting via https (i.e. securely).

 

image_4_2A2D3C03

 

Clicking on the security lock (i.e. certificate) shows:

 

image_6_2A2D3C03

 

This means all information sent from your browser to Facebook and back is encrypted and secure.

 

Hopefully it won’t be long before all the other majority sites also go secure. In reality there is no real technical reason why every site can’t be https. However, there are people out there who still really want to see where you browse and they have a fair amount of clout. Don’t forget that you still need to ENABLE this, so do it NOW and you’ll be much safer when you access facebook.

 

Hopefully the first steps to a fully https world!

SBS 2003 Companyweb migration – Part 7

This is Part 7 (and the last) in a series of migrating SharePoint from SBS 2003 to SBS 2011.

 

Previous posts are:

 

Introduction – Overview

Part 1 – Caveats and Considerations

Part 2 – Preparation steps on v2

Part 3 – Upgrading v2 database to WSS v3

Part 4 – Attaching upgraded database to WSS v3

Part 5 – Check WSSv3 for migration to Foundation 2010

Part 6 – Move database to SBS 2011

Part 7 – Post migration steps and considerations

 

In this part we’ll cover some post migration steps and considerations. After the last post you should have a SharePoint site on you SBS 2011 that looks something like it did on SBS 2003. The next step is to import the Fax Centre library.

 

The first step is to import the file you save in Step 6 into the List template library. To do this go into Site Settings then into the List templates under Galleries.

 

image_2_1D833AA6

 

Uploading the file into the library allows us to create a new library based on this template that also includes the data (which is why we selected to save list content when we created the template).

 

To re-create the Fax Center Select Site actions again and then More Options. In the list here you should see Fax Center. Select that template, Set the name of the library also to Fax Center, press OK and you’re done.

 

image_4_1D833AA6

 

You can see Fax Center here under the Tracking heading in the bottom right.

 

I’d go back into the List templates and delete the Fax Center template as it is unlikely you are ever going to need it again.

 

So now in theory you’re all done? Yes but here’s some additional things you should consider or configure in my opinion.

 

- You may need to configure a new site administrator if you have migrated from a different domain. You can do that simply by once again going into Site Settings and selecting Site Collection administrators from under the Users and Permissions heading.

 

image_6_1D833AA6

 

- You may also need to add the SBS 2011 SharePoint security groups into the appropriate groups in SharePoint to permit you users access. You can do this by going into site settings and selecting People and groups from under the Users and Permissions section. Then click on the hyperlink Groups.

 

You’ll a list of all the SharePoint groups, click into each and ensure the following AD groups appear the listed SharePoint groups:

 

Companyweb visitors = <DOMAIN>\windows sbs sharepoint_visitorsgroup

Companyweb members = <DOMAIN>\windows sbs sharepoint_membersgroup

Companyweb owners = <DOMAIN>\windows sbs sharepoint_ownersgroup

 

- Not all of us live in Seattle so you probably need to check the regional settings and time zone of your site. You can do this by going into Site Settings then selecting Regional settings under the Site Administration section.

 

image_8_1D833AA6

 

- If you have set complex SharePoint securities these may need to be re-established.

 

- Configure a scheduled command line backup. Using the STSADM or equivalent Powershell operation (see step 6) that runs everyday to create a single data file of your SharePoint site. As I have said before it is much easier in a DR situation to recreate a clean SharePoint environment and then restore the data into it. It also make it easier to bring up a replacement SharePoint server in case of extended downtime.

 

- Configure a scheduled command line export. Using the STSADM or equivalent Powershell operation (see step 6) that runs everyday and creates an export file of your SharePoint site. In contrast to a backup an export allows you to extract and merge the information present to another SharePoint site. You need to consider the size of your SharePoint site when doing backups and export but of you want maximum flexibility I’d do both.

 

- SQL Server memory trimming. Generally all SQL versions install on SharePoint are done so in a standard configuration. This means they have effectively no limit set on the maximum amount of RAM they can utilize. This can mean they end up hogging a large portion solely for their own purposes even if they don’t use it. I’d recommend you go in and trim the amount of RAM each SQL instances uses to something reasonable for that application. SharePoint really shouldn’t need more than 1GB but that is dependent on the size of your SharePoint site.

 

- Set SharePoint farm password. As I have detailed before in this post, on SBS 2011 the SharePoint farm password is set to a random value. This means that in the case of a DR and you needing to repair the SBS 2011 SharePoint installation you are potentially going to need to know the SharePoint farm password to connect to the existing installation. If you don’t then it is an uninstall/reinstall of SharePoint Foundation on SBs 2011, which not something you want to do if it can be avoided. Thus, use the Powershell commands in the post to set the password to something you KNOW.

 

- SQL instance is now <SBS_SERVER>\Sharepoint. If you need to look at the SQL databases in the management studio you will need to connect to <SBS_SERVER>\Sharepoint. The reason for this is the SQL version on SBS is now SQL Server 2008 Express R2 not SQL Embedded Edition 2005.

 

- Content size limited to 10GB by default. Since SharePoint on SBS 2011 is using SQL Express 2008 R2 the maximum database size supported by this version by default is 10GB. If the information in SharePoint is growing beyond this then the best option is to migrate SharePoint to a full version of SQL Server that has no database size limitation.

 

- Configure BLOB storage. If you have a SharePoint site that has lots of documents then it is probably a good idea to consider BLOB storage. This basically moves binary large objects (i.e. files) out of SQL but still controlled by SQL. To this you basically need to install and configure a free addon for SQL Server. Once complete then large binary objects will reside outside the SQL database allowing your SQL database to contain more than the ‘default’ 10GB. the recommendation is that you shouldn’t exceed 16-20GB using this method but information on what is required to enable is can be found here. It is my understanding that only AFTER you configure BLOB storage will files end up outside your SQL database, so perhaps you want to that before any migration. I really don’t know enough BLOB storage yet to give any hard and fast recommendations.

 

- Configuring PDF document actions. As detailed in this previous post, when you click on a PDF file saved in SharePoint Foundation 2010 you are only going to get the option to save not to open. if you want the browser to open PDF documents directly then you’ll need to follow the instructions in the post to enable this.

 

It seems this post is becoming pretty long so let me summarize what else you need to look at and cover it in more detail in future posts. You should also:

 

- Set the recycle bin handling

- Ensure indexing and search is operational

- Run a full index of all your content

- Add/Remove and restricted file types

- Configure analysis reporting

- Configure diagnostic reporting

 

Phew, far more here than I thought at first eh? I’ll keep posting information but do it independently of this series.

 

Of course, all of this information is found in my SharePoint Guide (www.wssops.com), updated monthly and in full detail for subscribers.