Follow the Money

Or shall I say, in my world, follow the Information!

It has been said many times that SharePoint is what connects People, Process, and Information. It’s true. Yet, things change a bit. Over time, something else might pick up the game and run with it. Say Yammer. So instead of going with the Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Web, let’s go with the Social Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the “Web”.

People with the need to collaborate, share and organize information, tend to gravitate towards technologies like SharePoint. So we all put stuff in SharePoint. We then managed that stuff. We organized it. We acted upon it. We collaborated on it. We still do. Then, one day, I get this question: How can I organize my Yammer content? I started laughing. Crazy laughs. Not small lol, but major LOL. It’s a light bulb moment, an Aha moment. Well, well, well kind of a moment. Are you getting the point? It’s a circle! The problems we solved in SharePoint, we now need to solve them in Yammer.

Today, we use Facebook, Yammer, Twitter,  LinkedIn, and bunch of other things, to share our knowledge, our work, our excitement or lack thereof. What if next, we want to act on that information, start a task or a workflow, analyze and do a search right through the tool and into our ERP system, call a notification service in Azure, and so on. Getting any closer? You got it!

So to summarize, follow the information super highway and ask yourself, what else can I do with this information?

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Posted in Enterprise Content Management, SharePointology, Yammer | Tagged

Notes on TechEd 2013 North America

I attended my first ever TechEd conference last week, and what a deal that was. Definitely, an awesome place to be at. A ton of people, I heard close to 10K, but cannot confirm. The place was New Orleans, LA at the convention center.

I think to summarize my experience there, and looking ahead, I could say

    • A great conference to attend for sure. Your time will not be wasted and it is worth every penny you spend on it
    • Great content with a wide array of topics and choices for the IT Pro and Developer types who are looking to grow and expand their skillsets beyond what they do everyday
    • The speakers are awesome and well known in their respective industries
    • Interesting set of vendors. I saw few that appear at the SharePoint Conferences, but also a ton of vendors I never heard of
    • The closing party was really cool, with Tina Tuner showing up and Drew Brees throwing footballs to attendees
    • And yes, we all got a couple of Surface devices. Each attendee had a choice to buy one or both: a Surface Pro and/or Surface RT at a discounted price
    • I loved the Birds of Feather sessions or should I say BOF sessions
    • I got to see some of my friends from the SharePoint community, which was all awesomeness
    • There were some really cool announcements on Azure pricing, such as: not paying for stopped services / instances. In the past, we would shut down a service and we would have had to delete it. Now, we can just leave it out there in a Stopped state.

Check out the Keynote for more http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013/Key01#fbid=B2JfTpWjgos

Now, from a messaging and content standpoint, the following key topics were addressed in a lot of different ways

  • Cloud First Architecture and what that means
  • Hybrid models with Office 365, Azure, SharePoint
  • System Center and Private Cloud
  • Self Service BI along with Big Data Analytics
  • A ton of developer content on
    • SharePoint Apps + Hosting models
    • Windows Phone and Windows 8

Anyways, overall, what a great conference. I hope to be able to make it to one again.

Till next time, take it easy

#SharePoint #CharPoint #TTC

Links and Resources

Official TechEd site http://northamerica.msteched.com

Channel9 event site http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013

Posted in Conferences | Tagged

Connecting People, Process and Information

Does it sound familiar? The message, the vision, the strategy, the goal of becoming a company fully deployed on SharePoint. SharePoint, The Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Web can simply become and adapt to you, as a person, as an organization.

SharePoint, The organizational Operating System. It connects, it informs, it processes, it stores, it manages, and it socializes.

Think about it.

@sppoet

Posted in SharePointology

Event ID: 8085 – Business Data Connectivity Service Application is not accessible

Hey all, it has been a while since I last blogged about something. I’ve been pretty busy lately. Most of us, SharePoint guys and gals, are I think. Fun stuff though. I visited my family in Lebanon this summer. It has been since 2004 last time I saw them. It was good. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been also trying to find my niche in the next version of SharePoint (2013=15=v5) and I think I did Smile.

Anyways, today was a good reminder for me that everyday in the World of SharePoint is a new day. Be a student. Stay a student. Most of us by now have been touched by the STS and its magnificent powers in SharePoint. All cool with it, until I tried to configure my BDC Service Application.

The Story

Few days ago, I uninstalled SharePoint Server 2010 Standard from my Windows 7 machine and installed Foundation 2010 using Single/Standalone mode. I love Foundation. Lean. Mean. Powerful machine. Next task for me was to go ahead and configure my BDC service application. I created the service app and the proxy. Now, when I went to click on the Manage button in the Ribbon (see figure below) I ran into a nasty error. I’m going OK, I’ve seen this before, but I can’t remember. It’s not like this is my first time configuring the BDC, but hey, an old man like myself, yeah, I tend to forget things. Anyways, I couldn’t remember the solution. So I started digging…

image

The Digging

So I looked into many places, I opened the ULS Viewer, I got my Windows Event Log up, Fiddler is happy, SharePoint 2010 Management Shell is all cute, I am BINGING the deal (432,000,000 results), I got some green tea (I thought this would help digest this) … anyways, moving on.

 The Errors

At the end of the day, I thought, I have to write this down. What I found were these five consecutive error messages. Nothing you’ve never seen before. It’s more like I needed to get a blog post out soon before the end of the world Smile

#1

An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: An error occurred while receiving the HTTP response to http://localhost:32843/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc/actas. This could be due to the service endpoint binding not using the HTTP protocol. This could also be due to an HTTP request context being aborted by the server (possibly due to the service shutting down). See server logs for more details..

#2

An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: An error occurred while receiving the HTTP response to http://localhost:32843/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc/actas. This could be due to the service endpoint binding not using the HTTP protocol. This could also be due to an HTTP request context being aborted by the server (possibly due to the service shutting down). See server logs for more details..

#3

The BDC Service application Business Data Connectivity Service Application is not accessible. The full exception text is: An error occurred while receiving the HTTP response to http://localhost:32843/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc/actas. This could be due to the service endpoint binding not using the HTTP protocol. This could also be due to an HTTP request context being aborted by the server (possibly due to the service shutting down). See server logs for more details.

#4

An exception occurred when trying to issue security token: An error occurred while receiving the HTTP response to http://localhost:32843/SecurityTokenServiceApplication/securitytoken.svc. This could be due to the service endpoint binding not using the HTTP protocol. This could also be due to an HTTP request context being aborted by the server (possibly due to the service shutting down). See server logs for more details..

#5

The SharePoint Health Analyzer detected a condition requiring your attention.  The Security Token Service is not available.
The Security Token Service is not issuing tokens. The service could be malfunctioning or in a bad state.
Administrator should try to restart the Security Token Service on the boxes where it is not issuing tokens. If problem persists, further troubleshooting may be available in the KB article. For more information about this rule, see “http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=160531&#8243;.

The Troubleshooting

Well, I figured I’d look into few things. Firewall, IIS, STS Web.Config file and checkout the bindings, the Application Pool identity, .NET version, WCF fix, SSL certificates, ACLs, I don’t remember touching any of this. This should work I thought. Should I be on the domain? Should I VPN in and try it again? May be the SSL cert required for the STS is corrupt. I don’t know. I don’t remember. So I moved on to BING and boom boom pow.

The Answer

KB Article 249352 – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2493524

Everything checked out except for the unexpected; The authentication methods that were allowed on the SecureTokenServiceApplication IIS web application were not correct. I don’t remember touching those. How the heck did they change? I learned something or should I say re-learned something; “The authentication settings page should only have Windows and Anonymous access enable for the security token service to issue tokens properly (and for claims authentication to work properly)”, the KB article says Smile

image

I was too tired to go after this and figure out the “why” and “what” behind all of this. I made the changes recommended by the article and I was done. I made sure all authentication methods except for Anonymous and Windows are Disabled. See figure below.

image

At the end, problem is solved and I can move on.

Take it easy,

Posted in SharePoint Administration

Are you still doing SharePoint?

A good friend of mine once said, don’t ever follow a product, always follow the platform. This observation still reminds me today of what I need to think about and prepare for every single year. It makes me think and strategize.

So let’s expand on the concept of this platform thing. The platform on which SharePoint resides represents a lot of technologies. To plan for, deploy and implement a successful SharePoint solution across the enterprise, you got to have expertise in the following areas:

  • IIS
  • ASP.NET
  • Web Services (ASMX, WCF)
  • SQL Server
  • Active Directory
  • Firewalls
  • DNS
  • Load balancing
  • Certificates and Encryption
  • Authentication protocols
  • Security and Protection
  • The Windows Server System
  • Microsoft Office
  • Globalization and Localization
  • Virtualization
  • Monitoring and Management
  • …. we can stop here. This is enough. You get the point

Nothing new here. There is just so much to think about. Most of the stuff listed above have changed immensely. Do you think you can keep up? May be.

As you see, SharePoint touches everything around us. It delivered on its vision. Kudos to Microsoft ® SharePoint is serving us all very well. We’re living comfortably. Put SharePoint on your resume and you’re hot.

So what’s next? Well, from my perspective, I’ve seen SharePoint grow over 4 versions and I think it is time to focus in on key feature sets and not to get consumed with all of it anymore. Focus more on the underlying infrastructure and less on the fancy new stuff. Got to find a new niche.

There is still lots to do on SharePoint from a front end perspective. Don’t take me wrong. We’ll be busy for another round or two. But, like this good old saying from one of my favorite poets, Al-Mutanabbi 

“If you see the teeth of the lion, do not think that the lion is smiling at you” [Quote taken from Wikipedia® on January 31th 2012]

SharePoint is smiling. Come on in it says. Lots of people are doing it now and you should too. If you hear this voice, it is time to get out my friend. “Stay thirsty, my friends” like those Dos Equis commercial says Smile

So what is it for you? What are you thinking about? What’s your focus this year?

Take it easy.

Posted in SharePointology

To the SharePoint® Conference we go

The SharePoint® Conference 2011 in Anaheim, California marks my third major SharePoint® conference I’ve attended over the years. It is very exciting to see how the product has progressed over these years and how Microsoft® stood behind it to get it to where it is today. With over a 100 million licenses sold, it is truly an amazing story.

And here we go again, around the circle we travel. We travel with partners, clients, colleagues, x-coworkers, and friends. We bring excitement wherever we go. We boost the economy and overload the inter-webs with social and blogging traffic. I heard that Microsoft® is expecting over seven thousand in attendance this year. That’s pretty cool.

As far as sessions, there are plenty of everything. I am personally looking forward to attending Cloud and Office 365 related sessions. I am going to focus in on the 400’s and 300’s level sessions this year with few 200’s here and there.

Sessions that I will attend include the following:

Title Speaker #
Out of the Sandbox and into the cloud: Build your next SharePoint… Andrew Connell SPC410
How Microsoft Builds, Deploys and Runs SharePoint Online: A Peek … Roberto Taboada, Doron Bar-Caspi SPC352
Deep Dive on Developing Custom Service Applications Todd Bleeker SPC401
Advanced SharePoint Data Access with Silverlight Robert German, Ryan Sockalosky SPC400
Identity in SharePoint Online Phil Wicklund SPC259
SharePoint, Azure and Claims Integration for Developers Steve Peschka, James Petrosky SPC412
Deep Dive: Implementing Kerberos for your BI Applications Tom Wisnowski SPC404
Building Business Applications on Azure using Office365 and Windows … Tony Meleg, Jesus Rodriguez SPC320
Cloud Packing: Preparing for the Move into SharePoint Online James Petrosky, Kimmo Forss SPC327
Branding SharePoint Online Sites Randy Drisgill, John Ross SPC205
Exploring the Office Developer Story in Microsoft Office 365 Tanuj Bansal, Devinder Singh SPC346

Now, last time, Microsoft® did setup a purchasing system where you could buy the conference material if you didn’t get to attend it. I would think they’ll have something like that again this year.

References

Till next time, stay thirsty my friends.

Posted in Conferences | Tagged

To The Cloud, a brief look at Cloud-related matters

What do you want to know about the Cloud? Lots to read and learn, and lots more to experience. If you are not lost in the clouds about the Cloud, you haven’t been around lately. It is crazy out there. It is the new hype and you need to get on the bus. It’s actually a Ferrari and its going fast. Gartner says by 2012, one out of five businesses will own no IT assets; that’s 20% people. Few of us are already late and need to catch up, while others have been taking a nap from traveling too much up and down the cloudy highway.

Cloud-related services are offered today by a slew of known and reputable companies, such as: Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Novell, IBM, VMware, and Oracle.  Take a look and see for yourself what each of these companies are offering. Few questions come to mind when trying to decide which is better than which

  • What kinds of guarantees do each offer?
  • What types of Cloud computing power do they offer in terms of performance, scalability, availability and reliability?
  • What options do you have in regards to migration?
  • Can you mix and match and coexist?
  • How about administration and methods and processes used to operationalize your Cloud service?
  • What type of software and applications can you host or serve from the Cloud?
  • Licensing and plans? How much and how often?
  • Upgrade plans?
  • Support plans?
  • And how about data and ability to synchronize back and forth?

The Trend

Well, how much of this Cloud thing is the real deal and how much of it is fake? I don’t know much, but I know one thing from being around for 11 years. We tend to centralize, then decentralize, then centralize again, then decentralize again, … well, you catch my drift. This time around, it is centralization PLUS here’s all the hardware, we don’t need it anymore. We’ve got Microsoft’s triple nines guarantee. And not just that, we get paid back for lost time. Dude this is amazing. Things are changing. IT needs to wake up and the Business needs to start thinking about the ways they’ve done business.

Pains and Gains

There are pains and there are gains in moving to the Cloud. It’s all over the internet. No more keeping an inventory of hardware, switches and disk drives. No more blaming own IT staff for not performing their duties and pointing fingers at each other. No more slacking off and sitting around on Tuesdays because servers were patched last night and they seem to be sluggish. More and more reasons are coming out everyday. Is this good for IT? Is it good for the Business? Well, it is good for the people who are actually committed to do good and get better results. We can create our own reasons, but guess what, the business will continue to grow and move fast to catch up with the competition and IT, well… is trying to keep up. Will IT still be considered a cost center? not really. I think for an organization that is committed to moving to the Cloud, the bottle neck will probably become Development teams as they try to ramp up on Cloud technologies and migrate their applications to Azure, Office 365 and other non-Microsoft cloud offerings. Good times.

Final thoughts

Finally, I will end with this note. The Cloud is a big thing. It has been for a while now. Forget about the fancy terms, such as: PaaS, SaaS, IaaS, any Cloud service is probably good for you Smile. My recommendation is for you as an organization to focus in and look at this as an opportunity to refine your IT and Business processes for better results and eliminate redundancy and rework that’s been costing you loads of money over the years.

Take it easy.

Posted in To The Cloud