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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2007: Check-in still pending?

    • 36 Comments

    ***UPDATE***  Please see my posting on the December 2008 CU - http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2008/12/17/project-server-2007-december-2008-cumulative-update-released.aspx.  The Project Professional 2007 CU - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/959643 has a fix for this issue!

    *** 2nd Update *** But also see http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2009/02/11/project-server-2007-check-in-still-pending-even-after-december-cu.aspx 

    I replied to a comment on this topic – but think it warrants a new posting so I have polished my reply and added some stuff.  I am aware customers are still having some issues with check-in pending and I think it may be a timing issue around closing and opening Project.  I haven’t been able to repro this so would love to hear some consistent repro steps based on the August Cumulative Update – if anyone out there can make it happen to order.

    However, I have some ideas what might lead to the issue.  When you close Project we now give a message to ensure any saves that are in progress get a chance to complete.  However this only waits for the save from client to the queue to complete - then the "real" save from the queue to the database happens - then any publish and check-in jobs.  So the client may be closed when the check-in completes and so doesn't get the message – and will still think the check-in is pending.  On opening it takes a little while for the communication to the server and the responses for any updates on pending check-ins etc – and you may see a message Offline changes - and if the user does a File, Open immediately then they may see Check-in pending for a project that is really checked in.  This will not get updated while the dialog is open.  Either closing the dialog and re-opening - or opening a "pending" project (read only) and then closing should flush things through and get the project available. This is by far the best approach rather than clearing the cache as it does not risk any data loss.  The above symptoms may never appear on a very fast network, and may appear more often in a WAN situation where there is high latency between the client and server.

    But as I say, I haven’t been able to repro, even from home, where I have to traverse my home wireless network, then another wireless link a few miles across the valley before getting on to a T1 link and the internet.  Another few hops and I get to my server.  The ping time is a pretty respectable 50ms across 9 hops.  Just to add a little load to my server I set all my projects publishing from ProjTool too – but I never see check-in pending.  Perhaps I need to be saving a much larger project and have lots of custom fields at the task level?  So for any repro I’d also like to know project size, custom fields, network parameters such as a ping and tracert to the server.

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2007: Microsoft Office December 2008 Cumulative Update and KBs Released!

    • 50 Comments

    ***Update*** If you are running MOSS with Project you should NOT load the December CU for MOSS as it has been withdrawn because of a search issue that is resolved in the February CU.  Thanks Shazeb for bringing this to my attention.  For full details of the reasons see http://blogs.msdn.com/joerg_sinemus/archive/2009/03/26/moss-december-cu-960011-is-not-available-anymore.aspx and for details fot the Feb CU see http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2009/03/13/project-server-2007-cumulative-update-for-february-2009.aspx 

    ***Update*** Panic over - I'd misinterpreted an issue we had with a more recent internal build.  Everything public is OK and always has been.  Just with the weather conditions around Redmond I was having difficuty getting comfirmation.  Betterr safe than sorry - hence the warning.

    ***Update***  We are just investigating a potential anomoly with the 960011 and 960010 patches.  For now I suggest just using the individual ones, 959644, 959637 and 960313.  I will update again once I know more. 

    Starting with the December 2008 Cumulative Update for Office Server 2007 (KB960011), the Project Server updates can be obtained packaged together with the Office Server ones – as well as being available individually.  Also included in the Office Server CU are InfoPath Forms Server, and of course the core Microsoft Office SharePoint Server fixes including Excel Services.  This encompasses both the global and local patches.  Windows SharePoint Server Cumulative Update for December 2008 (KB960010) is still kept separate, but does include both local and global patches.

    Both these Office and WSS CUs now include their respective Infrastructure Updates – so no need to install separately.  To be up to date all that is needed is the latest service pack and the latest CUs for WSS and Office Server.  The WSS CU can be requested here, and the Office Server one (including Project Server) here.  The client hotfix for Project Professional 2007 can be requested here

    These are the KB articles detailing the hotfixes:

    Windows SharePoint Server 3.0 - KB959644

    Office SharePoint Server 2007 – KB959637

    Project Server 2007 – KB960313

    Project Professional 2007 – KB959643

    and by following the Project Server link you can request the individual Project Server package – rather than getting is as part of the Office Server one (but why would you?).  For guidance on deployment of cumulative updates we have this article - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239177.aspx 

    And finally - just in time for the holidays the Project Professional 2007 CU does contain the fix for the “check-in pending” issue!

     *** Update *** See also http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2009/02/11/project-server-2007-check-in-still-pending-even-after-december-cu.aspx

    Project 2007 still displays a plan as checked out after the Program Manager checks in the plan. Additionally, the plan is listed as checked in on the server.

    I know a lot of you have been waiting for this one.  Thanks for your patience.

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Patience please - async processes at work

    • 23 Comments

    One thing that I have touched on before is the asynchronous behavior of the some of the processes in Project Server and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.  This is still catching some people out.  For instance, if you provision a new PWA site and then decide you want to change something - so you delete it - it looks like it has gone right away.  However, the site collection that was created as part of the process (usually /PWA) takes a while to be removed.  This means you may see an error if you try to re-create the PWA site immediately.  Another point of confusion is the "Waiting to be processed" message in the queue service of PWA.  This can sit there and look like it is doing nothing, when it is actually waiting for some other background task to complete.  Canceling and retry may make no difference - it will go when it is ready.  Of course there are times when something has gone wrong and it will never process - such as the queue service not running.  Perhaps a password has changed - or a connectivity or permission issue is stopping the account running the queue service from being able to get to the jobs (the queue jobs are held in the Project Server database tables).  Normally a look in the ULS logs or event logs will give clues to both these types of failures and also sometimes the reasons why a job may just be sleeping.

     For some internal details of the queue service take a look at the TechNet article at http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/0845d622-95ab-4c20-b419-0dbd5aab33a51033.mspx?mfr=true

    The most common time for patience if if you have saved and closed a large project to the server and you are working on a low bandwidth or high latency connection.  This scenario was virtually impossible with 2003 but with 2007 it can be done.  However the save and check-in of the project may still take a while from the point you click the button on the client - and you may well find that the project is still checked out if you try to open it up too soon.  And remember - force check-in will not speed anything up - this just puts another job on the queue!

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Backup and Restore - what are the options?

    • 48 Comments

    A while back I posted about the backup and restore process and recommended using the SharePoint utility in Central Administration.  That is still my preference and I recently used this to rebuild my server farm including 3 servers, 2 shared service providers and a dozen PWA instances covering about 10 different languages.  I must admit it did take several attempts and my one big take-away is - try, try, try again until it all works in one go.  The process isn't very forgiving if one piece fails, so best to remedy the problem and run the whole restore again.  The problems I ran into were services that needed starting (Office search in my case, and the Project application) or databases I'd forgotten to delete.  Top tip number two is that if you have a complex restore to do and you are changing machine names, URLs, paths to db files, service accounts etc. it can be very tedious to edit these in the UI each time - particularly for all 12 PWA sites!  So a short cut is first to take a backup of the spbackup.xml file, and then edit the original and change the various things that need changing in the XML file.  It should be easy to work out what needs editing - especially if you have already been through the restore process a couple of times.

    So this restore gets everything back how it was, on either the same server or a different configuration. 

    What if you only have database backups?  What can you do and what do you lose?  This is a reasonably common scenario - particularly for people with a 2003 background who are used to working with just the WSS content db and the ProjectServer db.  But things have changed - and the main challenge is that the PWA site is now held within the content database.  This causes some issues as if you want to move the databases to another server you will need to re-provision this PWA site - and you can't do this against the same content db if it already exists.  And if you delete it then everything under /PWA is gone!  Which may well include any workspaces for your projects as this is the default location for them.  So you have a few options, and we will assume here that you are restoring and re-attaching your main content database to the default web site, and restoring your 4 project server databases.

    1. Re-provision your /PWA site to a different location - such as /PWA2, and all your old content will still be under /PWA and you will still be able to get to it.  This is a good way to work going forward as you now have two independent locations for your PWA site and your other WSS content.
    2. Don't attach the original content db and provision your PWA site to /PWA, then attach your content db to another web application (different port).  You can then re-link your projects to point to the different location for the content.
    3. An extension of option 2 - you could use stsadm export and import functions to copy the individual workspaces from their new location back under /PWA - and all is back how it was - well almost.

    So what do you still lose by going this route?  Fidelity.  If you have customized your PWA site through site settings you will lose these changes using any method other than the SharePoint backup/restore.  As an example the following site was replicated using option 1 and the highlighted changes (and the colour from the theme) are lost in the restored site pictured below.  You do however keep any changes made through Server Settings such as menu edits (My Timecard in place of My Timesheets in the screen shots).

    Original PWA Site

    Restored PWA Site

    I hope this helps understand what is stored where - and the challenges of moving data between servers, either for migration or disaster recovery.

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2007: WSS Sync issues – Error: Access Denied

    • 17 Comments

    After the notorious check-in pending, and the slow cube building issues, the next hot topic has to be problems around WSS Synchronization.  This was noted in one of the recent TechNet updates (I’ve also just corrected the link in my previous posting – sorry) for Active Directory synchronization, but AD Sync is just one of the scenarios leading to this issue.  In case you are not familiar with this one, basically there are two parts to the story:

    • Sync of permissions for sites (including /PWA) can be really slow if you have lots of users
    • If more than one sync is in progress then SQL deadlocks are likely to occur

    For our larger customers the first item is bad enough, but generally if the sync is slow there is a greater risk of another sync clashing.  These synchronizations can be a result of changes in group security settings, syncs to AD or just re-sync’ing the site permissions for the workspaces.  They are also more likely if your category settings mean that virtually all users can access all projects – more permissions to sync!

    The typical symptoms for users is that they can be left out in the cold with an Error: Access Denied – with the option to sign in as a different user.  Behind the scenes, in the queue and the ULS logs you will see such things as:

    Manage Queue page

    "User Synchronization for Project Web Access App Root Site and Project WSS Workspace" fail with the Job State error of "Failed But Not Blocking Correlation"

    ULS Logs

    10/06/2008 17:11:37.16  Microsoft.Office.Project.Server (0x07D8) 0x0CF0 Windows SharePoint Services    Database                       6f8g Unexpected Unexpected query execution failure, error code 1205. Additional error information from SQL Server is included below. "Transaction (Process ID 98) was deadlocked on lock resources with another process and has been chosen as the deadlock victim. Rerun the transaction." Query text (if available): "{?=call proc_SecAddPrincipalToRole(?,?,?,?,?,?)}"

    The updated part of the TechNet article is worth repeating here, as it gives some suggestions for reducing the occurrence of the problem, and links to some tools which you may find useful, so here it is:

    Caution Caution:

    Under certain circumstances, synchronizing Project Server users and workspaces with Active Directory can cause a “deadlock” situation in which all users are locked out of a PWA site or the respective workspaces. This causes user synchronization jobs to fail and site permissions to synchronize partially or not at all. Users may not be able to log on to PWA or their workspaces.

    A deadlock can occur if the user synchronization process is taking too long to complete. This is due to the synchronization job iterating through many users and workspaces, for example, when large membership changes are being made. A synchronization job remaining in the queue a long time increases the possibility of other jobs starting inadvertently, which can also cause a deadlock.

    To reduce the chance of a deadlock, you can do the following:

    • Before making large group membership changes, verify that there are no jobs named “User Synchronization for Project Web Access App Root Site and Project WSS Workspaces” currently processing or waiting to be processed in the queue.

    • Run the Project Server Workspace Sync tool on the CodePlex site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=147394). The tool controls what is to be synchronized when the job starts — PWA and workspaces, workspaces only, PWA only, or no synchronization for either PWA or workspaces — and allows the administrator to perform the user synchronization during non-working or off-peak hours when server overhead is lower.

      Note that the Project Server Workspace Sync tool does not speed up the synchronization process beyond normal. However, being able to synchronize users when server overhead is lower reduces the possibility of synchronization failures.

    Unfortunately there isn’t a fix coming for this one any time soon – it is harder to do than you might think, with so many moving parts.  I hope this at least helps you to work around the issues and sorry for the undoubted inconvenience this one has been causing.

     

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