SharePoint Saturday 2012 Slides

I've finally got around to posting my slides from SharePoint Saturday 2012 discussing the considerations for upgrading to from SharePoint 2010 to 2013.

I have to say all the background effort and work is worth it when you see a full room and standing room only, so for those who attended - thank you.

For those who weren't able to attend to accompany these slides I posted a pre-event blog to give you so context to the slides.

It was great to see so many familiar faces and meet some of those who I'd only spoken to in the virtual world.

Some additional links discussed during the session which I promised to add:

Support statements for Virtualisation
SharePoint 2013 PLA (Product Line Architecture) Sorry no public link available (that I'm aware of)

2012 has been a great year!

For me in 2012 I managed to achieve a major milestone in my career. I've had some great highlights for 2012; however, the main highlight for me was joining Microsoft, a lifelong ambition of mine. This doesn’t take away some of the other awesome things I have managed to do in 2012 including presenting at 3 large events, visiting Microsoft worldwide HQ (Redmond), worked with some great people / clients, continued to attend SharePoint user groups and most importantly stay in touch with some great people in the community.

Whilst the world is in turmoil I am truly grateful to be in the position I am and one thing I never do is take it for granted!

For 2013, I hope for more of the same! I expect with general availability of SharePoint 2013 next year will be more of the same for me in terms of business and I'm not complaining!

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2013


Considerations for upgrading from SharePoint 2010 to 2013

I'm pleased to again be invited to speak at SharePoint Saturday UK 2012, Nottingham 8th December 2012.

I want to set the scene to help you decide if my session is for you. Firstly, I wont be doing any demo's (sorry!) and secondly, I won't be doing a deep-dive into Technical features of SharePoint 2013 as there are plenty of other sessions throughout the day that will touch on these. What I will be doing is continuing the theme from previous presentations is the planning aspect around gearing up for SharePoint 2013 and things you should consider that you may not have thought about continuing my drive to help others deliver successful SharePoint platforms / stories. I will share some experiences my team have of working with early adopters of the technology.

So who should attend my session? Project managers, product managers, architects, IT Pro's and managers to name a few.

I hope to see you there and don't forget #SharePint afterwards.


Error installing SharePoint 2013 Preview on Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate


Whilst attempting to install SharePoint 2013 onto a freshly installed (domain joined) Windows 2012 Data Center RC build I ran into errors installing the SharePoint 2013 prerequisites / binaries. From reviewing the output log whilst installing the prerequisites the error I suspected was interrupting the install was as shown below:

“error when enabling v4.0.30319”


  • Hyper-V hosted on Windows 8 Release Preview
  • SharePoint 2013 Preview Build: 15.0.4128.1014
  • Windows Server 2012 RC Build: 8400
  • Forest / Domain functional level: Windows 2008 R2

I tried various things to attempt to resolve this including adding roles and features manually as well as attempting to register ASP.NET 4 using command:

%windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\aspnet_regiis.exe -i –enable

The above proved unsuccessful and then came across this forum on TechNet 


The solution was to remove the Windows Server 2012 from the domain run the prerequisites and then install the preview followed by adding the server back to the domain.

I appreciate this isn't ideal however this resolved the problem for me and I will feed this back to the product group.

Presenting at Siemens PLM Conference – Document Management

WP_000128I recently attended and presented a session on SharePoint at the Siemens PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) Conference at the NEC, Birmingham on 17th July 2012. Microsoft were a gold sponsor at the event and I was lucky enough to meet some of the truly passionate individuals in manufacturing at the event who are looking at innovative ways of moving forward in these tough times. An industry close to my heart growing up the son of proud toolmaker passed down from generations running his own business for 30 years based in Birmingham I have a lot of appreciation for things people take for granted and the effort and precision that goes into manufacturing products.

Onto the session, I presented on what is SharePoint and how its currently used in Manufacturing. Siemens were launching their latest offering Solid Edge Insight XT which when used with SharePoint compliments the product and provides additional functionality.

The main areas I covered in the presentation included:

Document management / Collaboration

  • Versioning
  • Approval
  • Alerts
  • Workflow
  • Discussions / forums
  • Announcements
  • Project task lists
  • Search benefits
  • Templates to provide consistency for documentation

Benefits for Designers / Departments

  • Sharing information with customers / suppliers
  • Reduced overhead on IT department as you have control of your data
  • Office look and feel providing a familiar environment to carry out tasks
  • Office client integration

One message that I wanted to be taken away from the session is that there is a base version known as SharePoint Foundation 2010 that can be installed free and the majority of basic document management features I discussed within my session are available within SharePoint Foundation. This is not to suggest that this will provide all the needs for you requirements however a god way to map these is to compare versions

Below are a copy of my slides from the presentation:

A few interesting conversations took place during the conference including:

  • How do I move from Oracle / SQL databases
  • SharePoint performance was slow how can i improve this – the context to this question was related to converting CAD files stored in SharePoint and a suggestion was to look at the RBS (Remote Blob Storage) capabilities
  • We are going to use SharePoint but we don't know where to start? Well this is too much of an open ended question to answer here but in short the answer is plan and bring in experts otherwise you may not have the best experience. See a previous blog post of mine here

There is also a case study for Street Crane Company Ltd just been published to Microsoft Case Studies gallery which I encourage you to check out if you are considering SharePoint for your organisation. This can be seen here

Finally I’d like to thank David Chadwick from Siemens for the effort he’d put into the session, he showed real passion for using SharePoint (and all the benefits it has) with Solid Edge Insight / Insight XT.

We’re hiring–July 2012

MS_Logo_BlackIts exciting times at Microsoft with Office 2013, SharePoint 2013, Windows 8, Surface… the list goes on of product releases taking place and as part of this we’re continuing to grow the consultancy practice to accommodate the increased demand experienced and we’re looking for great people to compliment the excellent team’s we already have here.

Closer to home in my team Business Productivity - MCS UK we are looking for (more) SharePoint experts to join the team.

If other than the opportunity to work for Microsoft you need a reason to come and join, here’s a few things I have certainly found to be of benefit:

  • Opportunity to work with some truly inspiring people
  • Access to all Microsoft’s training material
  • Working on Enterprise accounts
  • Excellent development prospects and supporting management to help achieve your ambitions
  • Fantastic benefits package
  • Great work / life balance
  • Large discounts on Microsoft products

So if you’re interested contact me on LinkedIn and I'll happily have a conversation with you. Please note you must have extensive experience of both working with the SharePoint platform and client facing consulting to apply so please consider this before getting in touch.

I’m still here!

Its been a while since I've blogged and as much as I’ve wanted to unfortunately I’ve had other commitments. As you may have seen from my last post I recently joined Microsoft and as part of joining I have been undertaking a lot of internal studying whilst also working on client engagement. This is not only technical study but also learning the Microsoft culture and consume lots of information about how the business work, the different types of roles, financials, scorecards not to miss a whole wave of new products being released as we speak, so exciting times indeed.Its been a great journey to date with Microsoft and long may it continue.

I hope to blog more frequently from now as I can begin to share more information on Office / SharePoint 2013/ Windows 8 and look forward to seeing new and old faces along the journey.


Supporting SharePoint Internally Slides - International SharePoint Conference 2012

Thanks again to all the attendees to my session and here are the slides.

My session at The International SharePoint Conference 2012

With the past 2 years delivering a greenfield SharePoint 2010 platform to a global law firm my session focuses on the aspect of SharePoint often overlooked – maintaining it after its implemented.

For those who have attended my previous sessions I continue the theme of sharing real-world experiences. My session aims to provide you with some key takeaways and considerations for any organisation looking at delivering solutions based on the SharePoint platform.

More information on my session can be found on the International SharePoint Conference 2012 agenda found here

If you do attend my session and use twitter please use the hashtag #CS712 and I’ll happily pick up with you any discussion points further after or just come and see me at the end or throughout the event.

Finally, if you haven't got yourself a ticket to attend the event I highly recommend you do, meeting and sharing experience with industry experts is invaluable and a great opportunity to ask those questions you haven't been able to find answers to previously. The organiser Combined knowledge host a great event and I’m certainly look forward to yet again being a part of it.

I look forward to meeting new and seeing old friends!

See you there.


All good things come to an end…

I am pleased to announce a life long ambition of mine has come true and I’m shortly due to join Microsoft, UK.

After my second spell working at Trinity Expert Systems I leave with great memories working with some fantastic people and a company with no doubt a great future ahead. Not only have I worked with some great people within Trinity I have met some great clients who have made the last 4 years fly. If my time at Microsoft is as good as it has been at Trinity I am sure to enjoy the next few years ahead.

I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead and thank all those who I have worked with who have helped me get to where I am today.

User Profile Sync DB growing out of control

*** UPDATE 20/04/12 ***

February 2012 SharePoint 2010 cumulative update now includes several stored procedures:

“This hotfix package provides store procedures that clean up the Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) history tables during profile synchronization jobs.”

So the only reason you should be carrying out the steps in my post below is if you really need to (and I mean SQL is bursting at the seams) and applying February 2010 CU is some time away as this needs to be tested in non-production environments before releasing.

Information on the February 2012 CU can be found here also make sure you also review and download the SharePoint Foundation February 2012 CU


Before I dive into this blog a quick question for you SharePoint people – Do you know the current size of all your production databases? and I don’t just mean content databases. Read on…

I recently noticed that just under a year after go-live a production SharePoint 2010 farm user profile sync database had expanded to 12GB. The sync database is for staging imports into the profile database as well as storing configuration information (more information here Therefore its not where the profile information lives long term as its a ‘staging’ database before committing to the profile store.

The impact of this database spiralling out of control was that SQL backups were unnecessarily taking longer as was SharePoint backups thus requiring more space to store and when considering if you retain weeks / months of backups this could have a large impact.

A colleague of mine Paul Hunt pointed me in the direction of this blog post which basically advises that after raising a call with Microsoft this database will continue to grow and there is no timer job (automation) to clear this out. Personally from the blog referred to I’m always nervous of running SQL scripts against databases due to potential issues with Microsoft support.

Reading this basically states:

you can safely reset a User Profile Synchronization database without losing information in the profile store”

So proceeding with the steps (and testing in Pre Production) to reset the sync database, this did the trick and reduced the database to under 100MB from 12GB which meant happy storage and SQL database teams!

A couple of things to note is that you need to make sure you reset SQL permissions on the Sync DB and also make a note of all the synchronisation connections as the PowerShell script above will remove all connections and subsequent filters which aren't clearly identified from the landing page of the synchronisation configuration.

Finally this isn't a long term fix and as suggested in the blog post earlier a longer term resolution needs to be sought.

As always I welcome your thoughts.

Targeting SharePoint search scopes to different audiences – Part 3

Part 3 – Adding tabs to Search Center

Following on from Part 2 this post in the series describes how to create the tabs and secure them to only be seen by certain users (In my case ‘sales’).

To create a tab there is quite a simple process and to do this all you need to do is edit a couple of lists stored in the search center called 'Tabs in Search Pages’ and ‘Tabs in Search Results’


Select the first list above and add a new item to the list.

Tabs in Search Pages


At this stage you need to remember the name of the page you created in Part 2 as you will need to enter this in the next screen.


Once you’ve entered the information correctly click save.

This is the crucial bit where we set the security on tab to targeted users. On the list where the item ‘Pauls blog’ appears select this item and from the ribbon click item permissions.


Remove permissions to all users and add the sales AD group.

Follow the same steps as Tabs for Search Pages above for Tabs for Search Results list.

Once you have followed the steps above you should now have a newly created targeted tab within your enterprise search center as shown below.

Tabs in Search Page


Tabs in Results Page


Real world examples

To put some real world on this the sort of scenarios this could apply to may be rolling out people finder (My Sites) to certain departments or searching of legacy systems to specific users.

It’s also worth noting that this is series of posts focuses on non SharePoint (anonymous) related content where security trimming results do not apply. If security m ay be an issue this needs to be considered as part of the design.


This scope is not necessarily 100% secure as you could drop a search web part into a site and narrow it down this way but to do this you would need site collection admin rights so the risk is minimal.

This blog does not focus on additional security trimming of content and without testing and design you may be providing users to unauthorised results so the advice here is use an account to access other systems with minimal rights. If you do need an elevated results pane why not create 2 scopes / results pages and use different crawl accounts providing access only to authorised users to the elevated results.

I hope this has been of use to you.

Targeting SharePoint search scopes to different audiences – Part 2

Part 2 – Creating Results Page

Continuing on from Part 1, Part 2 of the series focuses on creating the results page for use with the targeted audiences.

Within the enterprise search center create a new page from site actions on the ribbon and give it a name.


You’ll then be presented with a new results page which if your not used to may look a little daunting. From this page what we need to do is tailor the results web part to only display results for the newly created scope.

Locate the web part search core results shown below and select edit web part from the drop down.


On the right hand side you need to enter the scope exactly as you did for part 1, as this is a manual entry this can easily be entered incorrectly so pay special attention to this.


Click ok at the bottom of the properties noting that if the content source has completed results may not be displayed until the page is saved and reloaded PLEASE DONT SAVE THE PAGE YET THOUGH!

The next step I describe I didn't originally do and this caught me out as the tab I describe in a later part to the series kept reverting back to the default results page and the tab would highlight the wrong scope so a new search would search the wrong source!

Locate the web part search box and edit the web part properties. From here expand the section miscellaneous. Modify the search results page to be the name of the page you are in the middle of creating, this basically means that once a search is committed on this page the scope will remain on the same scope. In this case the scope is Pauls blog.


So at this stage the page is configured with the correct parameters however we're not quite finished yet, although at this stage you can now go ahead and save / publish the page. To secure who can see the page we need to edit permissions. Let’s assume we are going to show this to sales but restrict access to marketing. All we need to do is edit the permissions on the page as you would do with any other item in SharePoint you wish to secure.

So in my case I’m going to give all users part of the sales AD group access to the page. Navigate to the pages library via site settings -> view all site content –> pages. Select the newly created page and from the drop down select manage permissions.


From manage permissions select stop inheriting permissions.


Remove all the users you do not wish to view this results page / scope and add the sales AD group as readers. This now only allows sales users to be able to see the page.

Part 3 will discuss creating the tab that appear in the search center and aligning this to the newly created page described here.

Targeting SharePoint search scopes to different audiences – Part 1

Part 1 – Creating a Content Source and Scope

This blog post series details how to target search tabs in SharePoint enterprise search to specific groups of people. I have provided a guide as to how to set this up from start to finish.

The search tabs in SharePoint relate to pages where scopes can be defined for narrowing down results as shown below.


Firstly you need to create a content source for the scope to use of the site you wish to crawl / index. In my case this was a non SharePoint website. So for the purposes of the demo I’ll create a content source called ‘Pauls Blog’ and crawl


Once the content source is created run a full crawl and make sure that you successfully crawl by checking the crawl log.


Whilst the content source is crawling next thing to do is create a scope that contains the content source (make sure you compile the scope from search administration).

From the search navigation on the left hand select scopes under ‘Queries and Results’. From here click ‘New Scope’.


We’ll come back to the search results page later as this will need configuring. On the next page one thing that can trip you up assuming that you’ve created you’re scope and its ready. Before its ready to be used the scope needs two things – rules and compiling once the rules are in place. Firstly select ‘Add Rules’ which is where I will assign the content source created earlier to the scope.


On the next page simply select the content source option and pick Pauls Blog from the drop down and click ok.


Notice on the next page it will state the scope is not ready until the next scheduled compile which in this case is 8 minutes.


To speed up this process you can force an immediate update of the job by compiling scopes from the search administration home page. Simply select Start update now and this should compile your scope within a small space of time.


So now the scope should be available for use within the enterprise search site collection. In Part 2 I will discuss creating a separate results page that can be secured and targeted at specific individuals.