It’s been a busy year for me so far, and it’s hard to believe it’s almost half over already. I’ve done several different presentations for groups throughout the Indianapolis area recently, and I’m finally getting those slides posted online for anyone who might be looking for them. I’ve also got a few ideas for some blog posts, so the goal is to get those out here in the very near future too. But for now, here’s the slides:
It’s been a pretty busy September for me, and while it’s been a lot of fun I’m also kind of glad for it to be drawing to a close. In addition to being lucky enough to participate in three exceptional SharePoint Saturday events, I also wrapped up a major project for a customer and have agreed to take on a new role at work. I’m going to keep this brief, which is quite an effort for me when it comes to writing. The update I was referring to in the title is that I’m going to be speaking at SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati at the end of October, so if you want to find out more about that I would recommend clicking on the image in the upper right corner of this blog post. It’s going to be another awesome day of free SharePoint information, coming to you from the Queen City, Cincinnati, OH.
I’ve also been a little delinquent in getting my slides from my talks this month posted, so here you go!
If you’ve been paying attention to many of the links I’ve published here at MyCentralAdmin.com in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve had a pretty good relationship with Idera, a software vendor who makes some pretty cool tools for SharePoint and SQL Server administration. I’ve done a few different whitepapers for them, they’ve been kind enough to invite me to do some SharePoint webcasts from time to time, and my good friend and co-author Sean McDonough even works for them as their SharePoint Evangelist.
This past June Idera started up a SharePoint equivalent of a very cool program they had been doing to help out the SQL Server community, the Advisor and Community Educator (ACE) program, and I was lucky enough to be one of the initial group of SharePoint folks selected by Idera to be SharePoint ACEs. Myself, Liam Cleary, Nedra Allmond, Wes Preston, and Michael Lotter are in the initial class of SharePoint ACEs, and Idera will be resetting the program every year with a fresh group of SharePoint experts to recognize and award. The best part about the ACE program is that it really helps me do a lot more of something that I love doing in the SharePoint community: speaking at events like SharePoint Saturdays all over the country, as Idera is able to sponsor me and help me cover my travel costs inherent in going to so many of these different events, as well as continue to do webcasts and other events that are also sponsored by Idera.
Because of the ACE program, I’m able to submit to many more SharePoint Saturday events than I have in the past, such as the three I’m going to be heading to this September! Three! Wow :) So if you’re interesting, here’s where I’ll be speaking and what I’ll be covering:
- SharePoint Saturday Ozarks, this Saturday, Sept 8th. For more info, check out http://sharepointsaturday.org/ozarks, I’ll be doing one of my favorite talks: Why Office 365 Makes IT Easy and Why that’s Difficult.
- SharePoint Saturday Redmond, Saturday Sept 22nd. For more info, check out http://sharepointsaturday.org/redmond, I’ll be doing a new talk on Identity in Office 365, as well as participating in a panel session on Cloud Computing.
- SharePoint Saturday Michigan, Saturday Sept 29th. For more info, check out http://sharepointsaturday.org/michigan, still waiting to hear about what I’ll be talking about there :)
I’ve got a few more possible speaking opportunities coming up, but they’re a little bit more than a month out so I’ll save them for another day. If you see Idera sponsoring a community event, make sure to thank them for their support of the community and don’t hesitate to talk to them about the ACE program and find out how you might be able to be an ACE next year!
Another weekend, another great SharePoint Saturday event! :) This time I got to head down to the Bluegrass State (Kentucky) and speak at SharePoint Saturday Louisville, giving a presentation that I enjoy more each time I deliver it: “Office 365 – Why the Cloud Makes IT Easy and Why That’s Difficult.” If you want to download my slides, I’ve posted them to SlideShare.net and they’re embedded below as well.
This was the first time I’ve gotten a chance to talk about Office 365 since the preview of the next major wave of changes for the platform were announced, and I think this is going to be a really interesting time to start looking at the platform if you haven’t yet. I’m going to start working on getting my thoughts put together in a separate blog post, but the one thing I realized last week as I was preparing for my talk was that the new release fits really well into it. I think that’s the case because there’s a lot of new compelling functionality that we’re going to see rolling into Office 365 soon, but at the same time there really are a lot of considerations that organizations are going to have to keep in mind if they’re going to be successful with it in the long run.
But since there’s a lot I want to cover there, I’m going to save that for another post. I had a wonderful time in Louisville and especially enjoyed changing a few people’s minds about what Wave 2013 holds for all of us in the SharePoint and Office 365 space (CA Callahan, I’m looking at you ;) ) Anyways, here’s my slides from the weekend:
Ok. Let me get this out of the way first and foremost… if you’ve been working with SharePoint for a while and know that you’re not supposed to directly touch SharePoint’s databases, feel free to move on right past this post :) BUT, if you know what I’m talking about and thought to yourself “yeah, but that’s just if you want to modify the databases, I can still run queries against them”, then I would encourage you to stick around and hear me out. Seriously :)
So, here’s the situation: SharePoint needs SQL Server to operate. I tend to think of SharePoint needing SQL Server like humans need oxygen: we often take the act of breathing for granted, but we really notice when we’re having trouble doing it. SharePoint is the same way with SQL Server; it puts just about every piece of data about a farm and its contents into SQL Server databases and when something goes wrong with those databases SharePoint really has problems.Now, that being said, SharePoint is also very particular in how it uses SQL Server. Its databases have to be set up in a very specific way, with some pretty inflexible configurations, and SharePoint reserves the right to change any of the details of those configurations any time it wants (usually via patches and updates).
Now, this relationship isn’t exactly new news. Nor is the fact that Microsoft does not support the modification of SharePoint’s databases or the access of their contents directly through SQL Server, and instead requires that the data in those databases be accessed through SharePoint’s UI, its object models, or its administrative interfaces. Lots of people way smarter than me have written quite a bit about it in the past, but like a bad penny I keep seeing the topic come up and kind of felt like putting my own thoughts out there on the matter, so here goes.
Because of how particular SharePoint is about its SQL Server databases, Microsoft has made some pretty definitive statements about what you can and can’t do with those databases. In general, it’s like this: don’t touch them. Don’t add things to them, such as indices, views, triggers, or new columns. Don’t delete anything off them either, or create new tables within them. Specifically, Microsoft has a knowledge base article on what is not supported, that I really suggest you read: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/841057. On the other side of the coin, there are specific things that you can do, but they’re really more maintenance-oriented things like defragmenting indices or creating maintenance plans for backups. The main source I use for what you can actually do with SharePoint’s databases is this article on TechNet: Database Maintenance for SharePoint 2010 Products.
One thing that I think people often overlook, and sometimes it seems like they’re eager to do so, is an important statement in that KB article I linked to above:
Read Operations Addendum
Reading from the SharePoint databases programmatically, or manually, can cause unexpected locking within Microsoft SQL Server which can adversely affect performance. Any read operations against the SharePoint databases that originate from queries, scripts, .dll files (and so on) that are not provided by the Microsoft SharePoint Development Team or by Microsoft SharePoint Support will be considered unsupported if they are identified as a barrier to the resolution of a Microsoft support engagement.
In plain English: querying SharePoint databases can lock data in those databases and cause performance issues, and can put you in an unsupported state. Yep, even running a query against a SharePoint database can be unsupported, a situation that I see a lot of people either ignorant of or willing to look past. Are there times where you may need to do it? Sure, but I would do my darnedest to avoid having to do that in a live Production environment without first trying to exhaust every supported approach to get the info I need the right way or to copy the database out and query it outside of my live Production SharePoint environment.
So that’s why I like to think of SharePoint’s databases as being a lot like Kuzco in Disney’s movie, the “Emperor’s New Groove”:
This past weekend was a lot of fun for me, I got to see several of my very good friends from the SharePoint community over at SharePoint Saturday Dayton 2012, including Sean McDonough, Virgil Carroll, and Dan Usher, met some new connections such as Clint Richardson and Scott Hoag, and had another great road trip with my brother in geekery, Enrique Lima. Oh, and I got to do a brand spanking new presentation, “Everybody Lies: Troubleshooting SharePoint with House MD” :) If you were able to make it out to SPS Dayton and catch the presentation, please let me know what you think, I’d love the feedback! It was a wonderful event, and I was thrilled to be part of it.
I’m embedding the slides from that presentation below, along with links to some of the tools and info that I mention in the presentation. One important link I do want to call out is to a white paper that I’ve written for Idera Software on the same subject, which can be downloaded from Idera’s website at http://www.tinyrul.com/SPTrouble. It’s a handy companion to the presentation, each was an outline for the other and my perspective is that you’ll get more from the two combined than you will with just one or the other.
Here’s the slides:
And here’s the links to resources that I mentioned in the presentation:
- Microsoft’s ULS Log Viewer: http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/ULSViewer
- LogParser: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=24659
- Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) Tool: http://pal.codeplex.com/
- Microsoft’s MSDN/TechNet Forums for SharePoint: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/forums/en-US/category/sharepoint/
- SharePoint forums on StackExchange: http://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/
- The #SPHelp Hashtag on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/search/sphelp
- My Idera whitepaper on Troubleshooting SharePoint: http://tinyurl.com/SPtrouble
Speaking of Idera, they also invited me to do a free webinar last month on the subject of SharePoint Disaster Recovery, which was a great opportunity for me to do yet another new presentation I’d been working on: Backup is not Backup, Restore is Backup. I’d been wanting to try to encourage a different perspective with SharePoint DR: one stressing the importance of making sure you’re able to actually restore your content when it counts rather than just getting it backed up and forgetting about it. The webinar went very well, and I really enjoyed the conversations in the chat room during it in addition to the overall opportunity to deliver it. If you didn’t get a chance to join us, Idera has published a recording of the webcast, which you can go here to download: http://www.idera.com/Events/RegisterWC.aspx?DoThis=TY&EventID=403
Additionally, here are the slides for that talk:
That’s all I’ve got time for right now, but I’m going to challenge myself to get another blog post up this week on a technical SharePoint topic that keeps coming up for me time and time again, even though its been around for quite a long time on the SharePoint platform: how to access SharePoint’s databases. Hopefully I’ll be able to get that done this week, we’ll see if its possible with the upcoming July 4th holiday here in the United States or not.
Until then, have a great one and I hope the slides are useful!
If you haven’t signed up for my free webcast on SharePoint Backup and Restore yet, why the heck not?!? Did I forget to mention that it’s free? I don’t think I did… ;)
Seriously, if you’d like to learn a little more about SharePoint Backup and Restore, head on over to the registration site and sign up!
In case you missed my earlier post about the webinar, here’s some info: The session is called Backup is not Backup. Restore is Backup, and I’ll be talking about the need to focus on what you need to do after a SharePoint disaster to bring back your valuable content. Something I’ve seen a lot of organizations do, and something I’ve been guilty of myself in the past, is zeroing in too much on getting their SharePoint backups set up and running, without thinking about how they’re going to use those backups when they need them.
The great folks at Idera are sponsoring and hosting this webinar as a part of their Secrets of SharePoint series, so please don’t forget to tell them thank you for their support of the SharePoint community (and specifically my webinar)!
As I mentioned in my post last week, this past Saturday I was lucky enough to be selected to do two presentations on SharePoint Online and Office 365 at SharePoint Saturday St. Louis 2012. This was a great event and very personally gratifying for me for a so many reasons that are almost too difficult to count (but I’m still going to try):
- I really enjoy talking about SharePoint Online :) It’s a great platform, but I do think it’s just as important to help educate people on its shortcomings and how you can overcome them as it is talking about all the great things it can do.
- I have so many friends in the local and greater St. Louis SharePoint community, and got to see them all again, which was AWESOME.
- It was a very well run event, and it’s very comforting as a speaker to be a part of a smooth sailing ship like that. My hat’s off to the whole SPS STL planning group, they did a fantastic job.
- I learned some really good information about Identity and Authentication in Office 365 thanks to my good friend Neil Sly. Neil’s been getting really hands on with stuff like ADFS 2.0 and Single Sign On configuration, and it showed in his talk last Saturday. Thank you Neil!
- I had an absolute blast travelling to and from the event with my brother from a different mother, Enrique Lima. We had some great conversations about SharePoint and technology on the way over on Friday, and in general just yucked it up all weekend long :D
- You may also want to keep an eye on my blog later this week, if things go according to plan I’ll have some much more detailed information about the stuff that Enrique and I talked about on our way home from St. Louis yesterday morning, it was a very productive drive! ;)
I would really like to thank everyone who came out for my two sessions on Saturday, the audiences in both were great. I love presenting when I am talking with the audience and get a lot of questions and discussions, it just really makes it more of a productive dialog than when I’m just talking at a group, and that was definitely the case on Saturday. I’m embedding my two presentations below if you are here looking for my slides, and you can download the PDFs of those decks from my account at http://www.SlideShare.net/ferringer.
Here’s the slides from my talk on SharePoint Online Development:
And here’s the slides on my second talk, SharePoint Online as an Extranet solution:
Finally, I just want to send out one final big THANK YOU to everyone who attended and/or was involved with SharePoint Saturday St. Louis this past weekend. If I didn’t mention you here, please don’t think it was intentional, there was just so much awesomeness going on that it was all so hard to keep it all straight!
I apologize for this being a little bit last minute, but things have been a bit crazy since I was on vacation last week. I just wanted to get a quick post up to let you know that I’ll be speaking at SharePoint Saturday St. Louis 2012 this coming weekend, June 2, in St. Louis, MO on the campus of Washington University. If you’re in the St. Louis area, and you want to catch some great FREE SharePoint and Office 365 content, just head on over to this link to register: http://spsstl2012.eventbrite.com. I would suggest not waiting till the last minute to secure your spot, as there are a finite number of spots available and you want to make sure that you get yours. And did I mention that it’s free? Free!
Check out the first link for the full slate of speakers and sessions, I’m looking forward to delivering two different sessions related to Office 365:
- SharePoint Online as an Extranet: Is It Hot or Not?
- Same But Different: Why Developing for the Cloud is like Developing for SharePoint but SO Much Different
Hopefully I see you this weekend in St. Louis!
Now, before you get worried about me getting on zen and existential on you in this post, don’t. Nor am I going back on everything I’ve ever talked about or wrote about with SharePoint Backup/Restore and SharePoint Disaster Recovery. Instead, I’m getting a quick post up here to announce an upcoming webinar that the great folks at Idera have asked me to deliver on the subject of SharePoint Disaster Recovery.
It’s a subject Sean McDonough, who co-authored our two books with me, and I have covered quite a bit already, but I wanted to go in a different direction this time around. A lot of my focus on SharePoint DR in the past has looked at all the things you need to do before a disaster takes place, but this webinar is going to help you start thinking about what you need to do after a disaster to successfully recover your SharePoint environment.
The title of the webinar comes from a phrase I heard someone say back at the last Las Vegas Microsoft SharePoint Conference in 2009, “Backup is not backup. Restore is backup!” (I wish I could remember who it was that said it to me but its a bit of a blur for me, between the information overload and the general Vegas experience) If that sounds a little strange, let me explain. The phrase, one that Sean and I have also inscribed on a lot of books that we’ve signed for giveaways over the years, points out that backing up your SharePoint isn’t enough: those backups don’t mean a thing if you can’t restore them successfully. That emphasis on restore, the idea that you need to be able to put those backups to actual use if you want to get value out of them, is what I’ll be talking about in this webinar.
The best part, thanks to Idera, is that this webinar is free to attend and view. All you have to do is head over to https://www.vconferenceonline.com/event/regeventp.aspx?id=686 and register for it, and you’re all set – assuming you remember to log in and attend the actual event. :) Hopefully I’ll see you on June 20th in the chat room!