Cascade Skyline - with Microsoft Logo and Project Support header - author Brian Smith

November, 2007

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    EPM 2007 Test Data Population Tool


    The EPM 2007 Test Data Population Tool solution starter was published on CodePlex today:


    So if you need to get some sample data loaded up for testing purposes - this is the tool for you!  Documentation and source code is also posted  so this will also be a good tool for learning how the PSI is used for getting data into the server.


    Q & A is posted in the discussion area - but I'll repeat this one here...


    Q: Is the tool supported?

    A: There is no support in terms of CSS/PSS. We expect the support being a CodePlex community effort. Please note that the customization code uses standard supported web service calls available out of the box in EPM2007.




  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    How to check a project in through the database


    OK, so that was a mean trick.  Using a title like that to get you and your search engine to read about why you shouldn't check a project in through the database.  In the words of Douglas Adams "It doesn't necessarily get you where you wanted to go, but it turns out to be where you needed to be."

    With each successive version of Project Server we try to discourage direct database access more and more - and with 2007 we don't even document the ones we want you to stay away from.  There may be times when you do need to get to these databases to read stuff if it isn't available through the PSI or reporting database - and some very rare cases where bugs may lead to some database update being needed to resolve some data issue.  But in almost all cases a checked out project can be checked in without resorting to SQL.  The following steps are similar to how you would troubleshoot other queue problems - but are presented here specifically to work with checked out projects.

    1. The best first step if a project that you have closed and checked in says it is still checked out is to open read-only, then close - and then leave a short while and try and re-open.  This should flush through any pending check-in that gets caused by the closing bug in Project Professional 2007.  As mentioned before - if it is a large project or your server is VERY busy the save can take a little while - so patience may also be required.

    2. Assuming step 1 didn't help then time to look at the queue.  First we need to confirm it is still working.  A couple of options here - first in Manage Queue add the Job Completion State of "Success" to the view.  This should then show you what has been working.  A successful job in the recent past - or a job that says "Processing" and the % complete is still increasing are a good indication that things are working (just not for you).  A second check if this doesn't make things clear is to look at Task Manager on the Application Server (Right click the task bar and select Task Manager is a quick way to get this running) and check that you see multiple instances of Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Queuing.exe on the Processes tab.  There should be (Number of Shared Services Providers with provisioned PWA site) + 1 instances.  So in most cases 2 - but possibly more.  Just seeing 1 is an indication that when the service started the database was inaccessible to the service so it could start the SSP specific instances.  Re-starting the service should resolve this.  just because in Administrative Tools, Services it says "Started" next to the service does not mean it is working!

    3. So we know the queue is working and I am guessing at this point that you have a "Waiting to be processed" against a Project check-in job.  And you may have selected a "Force check-in" several times too.  The word "Force" here is a misnomer - and should really be worded "Please check-in when you are ready".  If the job is waiting then it is waiting for something, and no amount of reboots, queue stop/starts will shift it.  We need to look deeper to find out what's holding things up.  In Manage Queue set the Job History to go back far enough to see any activity for the problem project, set the Filter Type to By Project and then just select the project you are interested in.  This should then show your pending check-in job as well as what is blocking it.


    4. So now you should see what is blocking the check-in, and the owner will show who was the last person doing something.  In my case it was a save from Project Professional that hadn't complete (still "getting queued" - which means data is coming from the client cache to the message queue). 

    5. If you are not the owner of the blocking job then get that person to repeat step 1.  This should allow the job to complete; although in the queue it may show as a cancel and re-save.  In this case the cancellation is done by the server as the save was in the very early stage.  If this worked then all is now well and you can get at the project.  This is the best resolution because NO DATA IS LOST!

    6. If you can't find the owner, or they have since deleted their local cache then step 5 will not be possible and the only option then is to cancel the job (after also checking the Advanced Option, Cancel jobs getting enqueued and optionally un-checking Cancel subsequent jobs in the correlation.)  Once the job is canceled then any subsequent jobs should complete OK and you are back in business.  Any changes made by the user who was saving WILL BE LOST!

    And if this doesn't work for you and you really do need to check-in through the database - let me know!

    Technorati Tags: Project Server 2007

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Friends don't let friends delete their cache or cancel queue jobs


    Inspired by Brian Kennemer's e-mail tag line of "Friends don't let friends assign resources to summary tasks" I thought I would get back on my soapbox about the cache and queue.  I do appreciate that there are some early bugs around custom field display that require the occasional local cache deletion - and there are a couple of rare scenarios that will leave the queue in a bad way and things need canceling.  But generally many of the situations our customers run into can be resolved without recourse to either of these actions - which can both lead to DATA LOSS!

    A couple of examples from the queue:-

    Project Save from Project Professional - Getting Queued

    This means the data is flowing from the client cache to the server queue - and once it is all in the queue it will then be loaded into the Project Server database tables.  If the client goes away while this is happening (and this can be our fault as we don't handle Project closing very well) or the network goes down, or you hibernate your laptop as you race out of Starbucks, then the queue will just sit in this state.  If you cancel the queue job then the good data in the client cache will never see the light of day.  The correct approach is to identify from the queue where the save is coming from (the owner will display from the queue) and then get that person to re-connect their client and the getting queued should continue.  In some cases you will see the original save show as canceled but if you look in the ULS logs it will have a message along the lines of:-

    PWA:http://server1/PWA, SSP:SharedServices1, User:DOMAIN\username, PSI: WinProj.PreSaveProject [T:abf8f56f-e3d1-4139-9355-55ef33aa1378][U:079d778a-2a14-455a-a52e-3141b57e75ea][S:6521e25f-5c1c-41d3-a224-7a868e161c42][D:CLIENT1\ProjConf 2][J:abf8f56f-e3d1-4139-9355-55ef33aa1378][PS_AC][3] Cancelling correlation 2439f848-3966-44b7-a645-1ff7b6914f10 as it has 1 send incomplete winproj save jobs.

    which indicates the original save hadn't got very far so it cancels it from the server and starts again.  This was in fact the project that should have demonstrated this recovery at the project conference - but I didn't leave Project Professional connected to that profile for long enough (my fault - trying to present 3 hours of stuff in 75 minutes).  Another interesting tip from this queue job - CLIENT1\ProjConf 2 is the server name and the Project Server account (not user account but the "profile") used on that machine to make this queue request.

    So the queue shows something like this:-


    with the important fact that I didn't cancel anything and the save came from my client cache - and nothing was lost.

    Timesheet Update - Failed and Blocking Correlation

    This next example shows a couple of things - the sleeping state and that the retry does work.  As long as you fix the underlying problem.  The queue is all data driven and if the data stays the same then it will behave exactly the same.  (One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome - same thing with the queue).  If I submit a timesheet with administrative time then when the update is processed it puts a calendar exception in to my calendar for the non-working time.  If as a resource I am checked out then this update can go into a sleeping state (Waiting to be processed (Sleeping)) - and it wakes up every 2 minutes and tries again.  If I happen to get checked in in the meantime then all is good and the process completes.  If not then eventually it will fail.  The error shown in the queue even gives you a reasonable clue to why it failed (if you know the secret language - CICO = Check-in check-out):-

    Error summary/areas:
    Error details:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
      <array name="Array" type="System.Guid">
        <item value="079d778a-2a14-455a-a52e-3141b57e75ea">
          <error id="10101" name="CICOAlreadyCheckedOutToYou" uid="ce366c36-421b-4c47-8fa0-d68f42ba63d6" />
        <class name="Queue">
          <error id="26000" name="GeneralQueueJobFailed" uid="385171b0-3ee9-4087-b308-859cb62fea53" JobUID="702e81a6-4f0e-4faf-ab78-2ab81fe60972" ComputerName="SERVER2" GroupType="TimesheetUpdate" MessageType="UpdateTimesheetMessage" MessageId="1" Stage="" />

    To recover from this error you do not need to cancel - just fix the underlying problem, which in this case was that I had my account open in Manage Users on another IE session, and then select the job and click retry.


    This time it all works fine - even the blocked jobs can continue and other related jobs get spawned to update the reporting DB.


    So please, please, please - deleting the local cache and canceling queue jobs should be a last resort.  There is usually a better way.

    Technorati Tags: Project Server 2007

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