Jack of all that is Microsoft, Master of None

November 15, 2007

Andrew Connell – SharePoint MVP & MGM Lion Tamer

Filed under: Blogs, MOSS 2007, SharePoint, SharePoint 2007 — cregan @ 4:32 pm

I was looking through some pictures today that were taken at SharePoint Connections, and I noticed something… Andrew Connell, SharePoint MVP, is also a lion tamer at the MGM Grand hotel. I must say, I’m impressed (in case you don’t know what AC looks like – here… check out his blog).  Note: to see the full picture, click on the image in this post.



October 28, 2007

SharePoint Connections 2007 – Here We Come!

Filed under: MOSS 2007, SharePoint, SharePoint 2007 — cregan @ 9:46 pm

Well it’s that time of year again – time to attend SharePoint & Dev Connection in Las Vegas!  I will be flying in Sunday, November 4th with the rest of the B&R Business Solutions Team – Jason Medero, Bob Fox, Michael Lotter, Josh Carlisle, Nick Gallo, our newest member of the team – Nas Ali, and our good friend Srinu T.  I’m looking forward to some of the sessions that are lined up, meeting some new folks, catching up with old friends, and enjoying the parties every night 🙂 

 If you would like to get together with our team, let me know, and we can set something up!  And the first drink is on me.

See you there,

September 12, 2007

MOSS 2007 Licensing Decoded

Filed under: Licensing, Microsoft, MOSS 2007, SharePoint, SharePoint 2007 — cregan @ 11:47 pm

Lately, I’ve been working on a large number of MOSS 2007 consulting projects, and I am always asked the question as to how MOSS is licensed.  So I have decided to write this up and post it for everyone to use as a reference.  Please note that I always recommend that you speak with your local Microsoft Account Rep, as licensing can change very quickly…

If you are not going to use any of the following enterprise features (to name a few):

  • Business Data Catalog
  • InfoPath Forms Services
  • Excel Services
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Reports Center 

Then you will need the following licenses to start:

  • SQL Server License for each SQL server (typically one server – but if you are running a cluster, obviously more).  If you are going to have more than a couple hundred users, I would recommend that you look into licensing SQL server on a per-processor basis, which allows an unlimited number of SQL users per processor.  You also need to decide if you are going to run Standard or Enterprise Edition…To determine which edition will suit you best, take a look at the following: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/prodinfo/features/compare-features.mspx.
  • 1 SQL Server Client Access License for every MOSS user.  The number of these licenses purchased is usually equal to the number of MOSS CALs purchased.  If you purchase the per-processor version of SQL server then you will not need to purchase individual SQL CALs.
  • MOSS Server License for every server that MOSS will be installed on.  This would include servers that will just have one role on them – such as dedicated Index and Search servers.  Note that this license is not differentiated between standard & enterprise.  It’s just a single SKU.
  • 1 MOSS Standard Edition Client Access License for every MOSS user.  Standard Edition will get you all of the basic collaboration features, search & indexing, document collaboration & Office integration.   Note that if you are unsure of whether you need to utilize the Enterprise Edition, visit this site for more of a comparison of the versions: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/HA101978031033.aspx 

Now if you do want to use the Enterprise features, in addition to the licenses mentioned above, you will need to purchase 1 MOSS Enterprise Edition Client Access License for every MOSS user.  This is an additive license – meaning that you must purchase both the Standard and Enterprise CALS per user.  I.e., You can’t just buy all enterprise edition CALs… you need the underlying Standard Edition CALs first.

Now… note that there is also a ‘SharePoint 2007 for Internet Sites’ license – this is specifically for internet-facing sites only.  Essentially, all of the site content, information & applications must be made available to non-employees.  You do, however, have all of the enterprise edition features with this license.  There are some caveats and gray areas with this – so if you think you may need it (btw, it costs about $40k per server), you will definitely want to speak with your Microsoft representative.

Any questions – let me know.  I’ll do my best to answer them for you.


August 20, 2007

B&R Business Solutions is Hiring a Junior to Mid-Level Solutions Developer

Filed under: Uncategorized — cregan @ 1:28 pm

Preface to this post – B&R has been expanding rapidly, and we’re really excited to be able to bring additional team members on.  We’re now hiring a junior to mid-level developer… if you are interested in joining a great organization, please apply! 


COLTS NECK, NJ – B&R Business Solutions, a Microsoft Certified Partner that specializes in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server-based solutions, is hiring a Junior to Mid-level solutions developer to support and work alongside its growing team of professionals.  The developer should have experience with the following:

§  Microsoft .NET Framework

§  Visual Studio 2005

§  C#

§  ASP.net

§  Microsoft SQL Server 2005

§  Windows Server 2003

Any experience with the following is a strong plus:

§  Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

§  Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services v3

§  Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007

§  Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003

§  Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services v2

§  Development of web services

§  Development of web parts

The solutions developer will be responsible for developing solutions using SharePoint 2007 as the platform.  Guidance and training will be provided to the individual selected.  Candidates should be willing to travel and work on-site at client locations approximately 50% of the time.  The individual will have the ability to work with SharePoint MVPs, authors and senior-level experts.  B&R Business Solutions offers competitive salaries and benefits packages.  Become part of a small organization that is growing at a rapid pace and delivering cutting-edge solutions to its customers.

Send your resume with salary requirements & availability to: jobs@bandrsolutions.com.

B&R Business Solutions, LLC is an equal opportunity employer.

July 25, 2007

I’m Back!

Filed under: Uncategorized — cregan @ 2:06 pm

Hi everyone,

 Well I’m finally back to my blog.  It’s been a while, but I needed to get back to blogging because I have so much to write about!  Just to do a quick update – I’m really happy to announce that Bob Fox – SharePoint MVP, Michael Lotter – SharePoint Architect & Developer Extraordinaire and Nick Gallo – Our new finance manager, have joined the B&R Team.  We’ve come a long way since we started, and we will hopefully continue to grow and be able to continue to provide organizations with the highest caliber of SharePoint Consulting Services anywhere!

 Look out for some new posts very soon…


December 8, 2006

MOSS Setup / Service Accounts

Filed under: MOSS 2007, MOSS 2007 Beta 2, MOSS 2007 Beta 2 TR, SharePoint 2007 — cregan @ 1:15 pm

I’ve been working on a number of MOSS implementations lately, and I always get a lot of questions about what service accounts are needed to get the implementation rolling.  Microsoft has a really nice, but very long article on the accounts (http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/f07768d4-ca37-447a-a056-1a67d93ef5401033.mspx?mfr=true), but most of my clients do not have the time or want to read that article.  So I put together some basic guidelines on MOSS service accounts…

The following covers the most common service accounts that need to be setup and their typical permissions in order for MOSS to function properly.  Note that each deployment is different, so these accounts may differ based upon individual requirements.  There are some additional accounts that you may need for other optional services, but they are not mentioned here.

Running MOSS Setup

On every server where MOSS is to be installed, the account you run setup with must belong to the local administrators group. In addition, this account must be a Domain User and be a member of the following SQL server security roles: Logins, Securityadmin & Dbcreator. This account is going to be doing a lot – creating new databases, and also creating new IIS sites – so make sure you have enough permissions! Typically, an account such as the domain administrator is used to run the installation, which addresses all of the security requirements.

SQL Server (SQL_Service)

This account is specified when a new SQL server is being brought online or a new instance installed. It typically is used for running both the SQL Server & SQL Server Agent, however, each can have their own account. For our purposes, we will utilize one account for both SQL Server & the Agent. The account only needs to be a basic Domain Account with no specific permissions set. When SQL Server is installed, all of the other appropriate permissions will be granted to the account.

Database Access Account / Farm Account (Farm_Service)

This account serves a few roles. The first is that it is used by MOSS to access the databases… it acts as the account by which the server(s) MOSS is installed on communicates back and forth to SQL with (read/write). Additionally, it is used as the identity for the Central Administration application pool & the WSS Timer service. This account needs to be a Domain Account – but note that it is believed to have to be a local admin on every MOSS box – this is not true, as Spence points out very eloquently.

Shared Service Provider (SSP#_Service)

Each shared service provider can run under its own account, therefore, it is desirable to name the account using a number. This way, if your MOSS farm ends up having a large number of SSPs, you can map the SSPs back to their specific service accounts easily. This account is used for the SSP web services & the SSP timer jobs. The account only needs to be a basic Domain Account with no specific permissions set.

Office SharePoint Server Search (Search_Service)

This account is utilized by all of the Shared Service Provider to crawl local & remote content. This account should be a Domain Account & have local administrator permissions on each MOSS server.

Default Content Access Account (SSP#ContentAccess_Service)

When a shared service provider crawls content, this is the default account used if a specific account (see below) is not specified for the content source being crawled. This account is specific for each individual SSP. This account should be a Domain Account & have read access to the content sources it needs to crawl.

Content Access Account (XXXXContent_Service)

If you have specific content sources that need to be crawled, and you do not want to allow the default content access account to crawl them, then you specify an individual content access account (specified at the time a Crawl Rule is setup). This account is a Domain Account with read permissions specifically on the content source it crawls.

Windows SharePoint Services Search Account (WSSSearch_Service)

The WSS Services Search is used only to provide search capabilities within the Help content. If this search feature is desired, then this account should be configured as a Domain Account with no specific permissions.

Application Pool Process Account (XXXXPool_Service)

When each application pool is setup, you must specify an account that will be used for that specific application pool’s identity. This account will be used to access the content databases associated with the web application. It is recommended that a new service account is created for each application pool. This should be a Domain Account with no specific permissions. When the account is specified & SharePoint creates the application pool, it automatically grants the account additional needed permissions.

October 20, 2006

MOSS 2007: SharedServiceProvider & ‘Cannot Complete this Action’ Error

Filed under: MOSS 2007, MOSS 2007 Beta 2, SharePoint, SharePoint 2007 — cregan @ 4:19 am

Hi everyone,

I’ve been working on this large-scale MOSS implementation for some time now, and I’ve been able to experience the best (and worst) of MOSS so far.  One issue that has been bugging me and the users is that anytime they hit the sites on the server (single server implementation for development purposes), they would get the ‘Cannot complete this action’ error.  They would then click on ‘Go to site’ or refresh the page and the error would go away.  It was just one of those annoying errors that you don’t like to see, and makes users question MOSS’s stability.  In addition, on the Central Admin side of things, if I clicked on the name of the Shared Service Provider to access it’s admin web site, nothing would ever happen – no errors – just wouldn’t load.  But since the SSP wasn’t important to me in this dev implementation, I didnt’ think much about this issue.

So I had always thought that upgrading from Beta 2 -> Beta 2 TR would do the trick… I figured it was just an issue with Beta 2.  So after rigorous testing in our dev-dev environment, we then upgraded the single server development environment – successfully!  But guess what – ‘Cannot complete this action’ came right back… argh… very aggravating.

So I was digging through Central Admin when it hit me that maybe the SSP does have something to do with this error.  So I ended up creating  a new SSP, and I was able to access this SSP’s admin web site… but still couldn’t access the old one’s site.  I then changed the web application associations to the new SSP, made the new SSP the default, and then deleted the old one.  I then performed an IIS reset… because I knew this would always, like clockwork, cause the error when hitting the site.

And then the moment of truth – I hit all of the sites on the box.. and NO ERROR!  They all loaded, including Central Admin, and didn’t complain one bit.  So… the lesson learned here – check your SSP if you are constantly getting the dreaded ‘Cannot complete this action’ error on MOSS 2007 site load!

Good luck,

October 15, 2006

MOSS 2007 Backups – Find Your Databases

I was working on a Beta 2 -> TR upgrade the other day and came across a little tidbit that could come in handy one day, so here I am writing about it.   Basically, whenever I do anything that could lead to potential data loss in MOSS, I perform a couple of different backups just to make sure I’ve completely covered by rear:

  1. Run the MOSS Backup & Restore from Central Admin
  2. Backup all of the MOSS-related SQL Databases through the SQL Management Console
  3. Backup the IIS Metabase
  4. Backup the 12 directory

In 2003, my methodology was exactly the same, only for #1, I would run the SPS Backup Utility and for #4, I would backup the 60 hive.

Now, if you have a lot of databases to backup in SQL (my step #2), it can be a real pain to go in and manually backup each of them individually.  What I have found is that when you perform the MOSS Central-Admin based backup, yes, obviously it does backup the databases, and it backs each one up as an individual file… the only problem is that the filenames aren’t exactly the most informative (00000022.bak, 0000001A.bak, etc.), so you need to perform some simple work to determine what filename = what database. The reason I am writing about this is that once you know what filename = what database, you really no longer need to perform Step #2 and backup each database manually, thus saving you time.  You may be saying “Well then I dont have two backups of the databases,” but you can very quickly (and much more easily) have two!  So there are a few ways to figure out what database is what file after MOSS performs a backup and then get your extra copy:

 Method #1 – Log Files (Text way)

  1. Browse to the folder where you specified your MOSS backup should be saved to, and then open up the folder for the most recent backup (hint – look at the folder creation date).  If this is your first MOSS backup, the folder will be named spbr0000.
  2. In the folder, look for and then open the file spbackup.log.
  3. Browse through this file – you will want to find the first occurence of a line that looks very similiar to the following:Verbose: [SharePoint_Config] SQL Server Command: BACKUP DATABASE [SharePoint_Config] TO DISK=@db_loc WITH NAME=@db_name, STATS=5, NOINIT, NOSKIP, NOFORMAT, NOREWIND
     @db_name=SharePoint_Config, @db_loc=c:\mossbackup\spbr00000000022.bak
  4. Do you see what I see?  In the brackets [XXXXX] is the name of the database, along with right after @db_name – and then the last piece – @db_loc=  — this is what filename the database was stored as. 
  5. So now that you know the name of the file that correlates to your database, you can take a copy of that file and store it offsite, thus making life easier.

Note:  If you have any non-MOSS databases that are associated with applications within your MOSS deployment, you will still need to back these files up via SQL Management Console. 

Method #2 – via SQL Management Console (Visual Way)

I don’t have a copy of SQL 2000 installed on my MOSS server, so I don’t know if this method applies to SQL 2000-based installs.  But, for MOSS installed and using SQL 2005:

  1. Perform your MOSS backup through Central Administration.
  2. Open up the SQL Management Console.
  3. Right Click on a database whose backup filename you need.  Select All Tasks -> Backup.
  4. Within the window that appears, you will see the MOSS backup filename listed.  See the screen shot below… now you’ve got that filename!


Have a good one,

SharePoint Connections

I just wanted to let everyone know that B&R will be attending SharePoint Connections this year in Las Vegas, from November 6-9th (We will be arriving on the 5th – extra day to take in everything!).  Jason Medero & I will be there, and we are very excited, as this is going to be one heck of a SharePoint gathering!  If anyone is interested in getting together for dinner or drinks, please contact me via the Blog – and let’s set something up.

October 1, 2006

Congratulations, Jay!

Earlier today, I received notification that Jason Medero, a good friend, B&R Team Member & SharePoint Guru, was awared Microsoft MVP Status.  This is a huge accomplishment for Jay, as he has worked very hard over the past 2+ years becoming extremely knowledgable with all of the SharePoint products & technologies, and it is well deserved.  On behalf of the entire B&R Team, I want to congratulate Jay and I invite you to check out some of Jay’s work:

‘SharePointing Into Collaboration’ – Blog

MSD2D.com – Visit the SharePoint Administration & WSS Admin Forums


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