Tag Archives: Upgrade

What you need for Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2016

Over the past few weeks, I’ve put together a number of posts that outline the intricacies of setting up SharePoint 2016 with its BI workloads, in particular Excel, PowerPivot, and SQL Server Reporting Services. With the full release today of SharePoint 2016, I wanted to summarize these posts, and to provide some context.

The major change to the BI world is of course the fact that Excel Services is no longer included, its capabilities having been replaced by Office Online Server (OOS). The posts below discuss the implications of this change, as well as how to configure all of the BI features in the new platform.

Article Description
Rethinking Business Intelligence in SharePoint and SQL Server 2016 My take on the changes to on-premises BI in the Microsoft world, and what the implications are for the present and future
Adding Excel Services Capabilities to a SharePoint 2016 Farm How to Set up Office Online Server to support the services previously available in Excel Services
Enable PowerPivot Support in Office Online Server 2016 and Sharepoint 2016 How to set up SharePoint 2016 and Office Online Server to support Excel workbooks with embedded PowerPivot data models
Using PowerPivot for SharePoint with SharePoint 2016 How to configure the PowerPivot for SharePoint 2016 service application
Configuring SSRS 2016 Integrated Mode with SharePoint 2016 How to configure SQL Server Reporting Services 2016 Integrated mode in SharePoint 2016
Integrating SharePoint 2016 with SSRS Native Mode How to configure SQL Server Reporting Services 2016 Native mode and integrate it with SharePoint 2016

Just a quick glance at the articles above will show a deep dependency on SQL Server 2016. For example, in prior versions of SharePoint, multiple versions of SSRS were supported on SharePoint. This is no longer the case with SharePoint 2016. To be clear, I am talking about the BI components (SSRS, PowerPivot for SharePoint) and not the core database server for SharePoint. SharePoint 2016 requires SQL Server 2016 versions of both PowerPivot for SharePoint and SSRS. This means that if you’re invested in Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2013, you’re going to need to wait for SQL Server 2016 before you upgrade in a production environment.

SQL Server 2016 is currently at the Release Candidate (RC0) stage, and its release won’t be that far off. You can get started today on your test migrations, knowing that the full release will likely be available by the time your testing is complete. The articles above were all written while using the CTP 3.3 version of SQL Server 2016.

Looking through the articles you’ll find a number of configurations, and requirements that line up with specific scenarios. Below is a quick guide to outline what is required to support what feature in the SharePoint 2016 BI space.

Feature Requirements
Excel workbooks connected to SSAS Data Sources Kerberos Constrained Delegation (KCD) between OOS and SSAS data source

OR

EffectiveUserName enabled on OOS Server(s)

OOS Server account(s) added to Admin list on SSAS server(s)

Connected Excel workbooks to Windows Authenticated SQL Server Data Sources KCD between OOS and SQL Server

Claims to Windows Token Service running on OOS Server with Network Service enabled

Connected Excel workbooks using stored credentials (Excel Services Authentication Options) Secure Store Service (SSS) credential created

OOS machine account added to SSS Members list

“AllowHttpSecureStoreConnections = true” set on OOS server if HTTP is used

PowerPivot enabled Excel workbooks SSAS PowerPivot Mode server available

SSAS PP Mode server added to BI server list on OOS Server via New-OfficeWebAppsExcelBIServer cmdlet

OOS Server account added to Administrators list of SSAS PowerPivot Mode Server

Automatic Refresh of PP enabled workbooks PowerPivot for SharePoint

Silverlight (client side)

PowerPivot Gallery PowerPivot for SharePoint

Silverlight (client side)

Excel files as a data source PowerPivot for SharePoint

PP4SP must have admin access on SSAS PP mode Server

KCD between OOS and SharePoint application

Claims to Windows Token Service running on OOS Server with Network Service enabled

External ODC file support
PowerPivot Management Dashboard
S2S Trust Configured between OOS and SharePoint
Power View reports SSRS Integrated mode

Silverlight (client side)

Power View in Excel
Power View with Excel as a data source
SSRS Services account must be added to the Admin group on the BI server

Silverlight (client side)

I’ll update this post if anything significant changes between now and the release of SQL Server 2016, but this should help those interested get up to speed today on Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2016.

How To Get A Comprehensive List of all E-Mail Enabled Libraries in SharePoint

I recently completed a multi-farm consolidation and upgrade from SharePoint 2007 to 2010 for a customer, collapsing three farms into one. The approach was to create a new farm, and to individually do dbattach upgrades of each of the 2007 databases into separate SharePoint applications. Everything went well, including Reporting Services subscriptions, but we ran into a problem with incoming email.

The problem is that while all of the incoming email settings for a library are properly migrated when doing a dbattach upgrade, all of the aliases are stored in the Farm Database (in the EmailEnabledLists table, if you’re interested in looking), and it remains empty. The resultant effect is that you inspect the library properties, and all looks good, and email is properly being delivered to the drop folder. Unfortunately, the incoming email service timer job is looking for emails that correspond to the entries in the EMailEnabledLists table, and there are none.

The solution is to simply turn off incoming email for the affected lists, and then turn it back on. A bit cumbersome maybe, but it does work. However, in our case, our customer had over 100 libraries and wasn’t sure where they all were. A bit of hunting around found a couple of ways to get a list of email enabled libraries through code (here and here).

However, I don’t like writing code if I don’t have to, and decided to have a look in the content databases. Don’t forget the first rule of playing around in the SharePoint content databases, which is don’t. However, reading from them isn’t so bad, and ultimately solves our problem. Enough information is in fact in there to construct a simple query:

SELECT
     Webs.FullUrl As LibraryURL,
     AllLists.tp_Title As LibraryTitle,
     AllLists.tp_EmailAlias As emailAlias
FROM
     AllLists
INNER JOIN
     webs on AllLists.tp_WebID = Webs.Id
WHERE
    AllLists.tp_EmailAlias IS NOT NULL
Opening up SQL Server Management Studio, and running this query on each content database will give you a comprehensive list of all e-mail enabled document libraries.

Upgrading SQL Server Reporting Services to 2012 In SharePoint Integrated Mode

That title could actually be longer….

SQL Server 2012 brings with it a number of key Business Intelligence features that apply directly to SharePoint environments. One of the major improvements is the way that Reporting Services installs. Prior to version 2012, when running in SharePoint integrated mode, it installed along side of SharePoint, and connected through an add-in. With 2012, it is now a full SharePoint Service application, with all of the associated benefits that brings.

It is simple enough to set this up on a new farm, but what about organizations that are already using SSRS in integrated mode? Since I was unable to find any prescriptive guidance on the upgrade process, I ran through it on a test farm, and below are my findings. This describes the process of upgrading from SSRS 2008 R2 to the RTM version of SSRS 2012.

SQL Server 2012 has some relatively strict operating system requirements. First and foremost, you need to be running at least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1, or Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2. If not, you’ll get the following message immediately.

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In addition, depending on what you’re upgrading, it’s pretty fussy about your source environment as well. For example, if you’re upgrading management tools or BIDS, and you already have Visual Studio 2010 installed, it will need to be at least at the Service Pack 1 level. Your source SQL Server also has specific service pack requirements. The complete supported upgrade matrix can be found here. Unfortunately, if these requirements are not met, the installation will fail much further along in the process, and you’ll need to repeat several steps after correcting.

Once the SQL Server Installation Center launches, you’ll want to pick the Installation tab, and then the Upgrade option.

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After a few steps, you’ll encounter one of the new screens pertaining to Reporting Services.

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Previously, the installer was totally unaware of Integrated Mode Reporting Services.  You would use SSRS configuration to set it up, but now the upgrade wizard, as well as the full product installer, is fully aware of Integrated Mode.

When performing the upgrade, the installer will go ahead and create the SharePoint service application for you. This is different than when you perform a fresh install – in  that case you manually create the service application after installation. However, in order to do so, it needs to create an application pool for the service application, and you will be prompted for the credentials of that pool.

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After several more standard screens, the upgrade rules will be run. This is where you will find out if you are missing a prerequisite, or it is not at the required patch level. However, if all is good, all of the rules should show as Passed, with the exception of “Direct Browsing to Report Server”, which will show a warning.

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Previously, if you knew the correct URL, you could navigate directly to Reporting Services and the reports stored within SharePoint through a very rudimentary interface. This warning is simply alerting you to the fact that this is no longer an option with 2012.

The remainder of the installation is straightforward. When done (and if successful), you can navigate to the Service Applications section of Central Administration. There, you should see the new SSRS application.

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I’m not a big fan of the name that the default upgrade uses for the application, but that’s simple enough to change. The important thing to note is that all of your subscriptions, snapshots, etc, will have migrated over. The upgrade upgrades the two Reporting Services databases (ReportServer, and ReportServerTempDB by default), and adds a new one, ReportServer_Alerting, which are all used by the service application.

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In order to enable data alerts and subscriptions, a number of security modifications need to be made to the SQL Server. In addition, the SQL Server Agent must be running to use these features. Editing the Service Application shows a screen that has a link to Provision Subscriptions an alerts. Clicking through it reveals the following screen:

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The View Status section simply gives you an indication of whether or not the Agent is running on the server, but clicking the “Download Script” button will give you a SQL script that will set up the required roles and permissions on your SQL Server. This script must be run on the SQL Server that holds the Reporting Services databases. In order to run it, simply open up SQL Server Management Studio, connect to the server, and click the New Query button. Once the query window opens, paste the query in, and run it (the Execute button).

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Finally, enter the credentials for SharePoint to connect to your SQL Server Agent, and click OK. Once done, you’ll be in a position to use the new features available in Reporting Services, and all of your existing investments in reports should continue to operate as before.

For a major architectural change, this is actually a pretty smooth transition.

As I post this, it’s quite early in the life of 2012, so I would be quite interested to hear of any other experiences or gotchas. If there’s something that I should add to this post, please post a comment, I’d love to hear about it.

How To Upgrade SQL Server 2012 RC0 to Release (RTW or RTM)

If you’ve been working with the RC0 version of SQL Server 2012 (formerly code named “Denali”), you are likely aware that the final release is now available as an evaluation download here, or from MSDN with in the Standard, Business Intelligence, and Enterprise editions.

If you want to a straight upgrade from the evaluation edition, it’s a relatively simple process. From the installation screen, select the Upgrade from a previous version of SQL Server option (it doesn’t list RC0, but it is the same process).

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Select all of the appropriate options, and your server will be upgrade. However, if you want to move from the RC0 to one of the licensed editions, you could run into trouble. In my testing, what has happened is that parts of the installation will upgrade properly,, but others will fail. This can be seen from the instances screen when upgrade is run for a second time.

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Unfortunately, the “left behind” instance can not be upgraded further, and now that this has been run, the Edition upgrade function will fail to work. In one case, I needed to do a complete SQL uninstall and then a reinstall. I’ve had more fun. The good news is that the reinstall did work.

The way to avoid this is to do the Edition upgrade first. If you’re unfamiliar with this, you can find it on the Maintenance tab of the SQL Server installation Center

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Once you complete the edition upgrade, go ahead and perform the standard upgrade as you would with the evaluation version.

Upgrading and Moving Integrated Mode Reporting Services With SharePoint

There is a plethora of instructions out there on upgrading from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010, but relatively little on doing the upgrade where Reporting Services has been set up in SharePoint integrated mode. Given that there are a few gotchas that you can run into when doing this, I decided to put together this step-by-step, complete with the gotchas.

The most common scenario that will be encountered, given the vintages of the products will be an RS upgrade from SQL Server 2005 to 2008 R2. In addition, the in place upgrade is relatively painless (in the short term….) so I’ll be walking through a DB attach upgrade, which is just as applicable to RS as it is to SharePoint. Finally as I’ve written about previously, in a small farm, it’s likely a better idea to add the Reporting Services bits to a SharePoint front end server, than to add the SQL server to the SharePoint farm, and that will also be a part of our scenario.

The first question to answer is “why bother”? One of the advantages to using RS in SharePoint Integrated mode is that unlike Native mode, the reports, data connections and models are stored directly in SharePoint. It is therefore possible to just create a new RS database, and move forward. However, since subscriptions, schedules, and cache profiles are still in the database, it’s likely worth it to do the upgrade.

Step 1 – Back Up The Asymmetric Key

Reporting Services itself uses 2 SQL databases. One of the databases is for temporary operations, but the other database stores a number of important, and sensitive items for this reason, all sensitive items in the database are encrypted with a key. If we want to get access to these items, we need the key. To do so, we need to back it up from the source server before we move ahead.

Run the Reporting Services Configuration Manager on the source RS server, and select “Encryption Keys”. Click the Backup button, select (and remember) a password, and then save the key to the file system. 

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Once saved, copy the key file to the destination RS server (likely your SharePoint 2010 front end server).

Step 2 – Back Up the Reporting Services Databases

Run SQL Server Management Studio on the Server where the Reporting Services databases are located. Run full backups of the two RS databases. When complete, copy the backups to the destination SQL server (likely the server that will host the SharePoint 2010 databases).

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Step 3 – Restore the Reporting Services Databases

Using SSMS, restore the two databases to the host SQL server. Once restored, it’s likely a good idea to set the recovery model to Simple, and the Compatibility level to SQL Server 2008. These steps aren’t required, but are recommended, unless you have a reason for not doing so.

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Step 4 – Run the RS Configuration

If Reporting Services hasn’t yet been installed on the SharePoint server, do so, otherwise, proceed to configuration by running the Reporting Services Configuration Wizard on the destination RS Server. Configure the basic steps, and then when it comes to Database configuration, select the option to choose an existing database.

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Select the server where you restored the files in step 3, and select the primary RS database (the one without the word “Temp” in it”).

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Complete the configuration wizard.

Step 5 – Connect SharePoint to Reporting Services

From SharePoint Central Administration, select General Application Settings, and then Reporting Services Integration.

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Complete  the integration configuration, and then select OK

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So far so good – now we’re ready for some gotchas. If you now click on the “Set Server Defaults” link in the Reporting Services section, you likely get a rather nasty looking error. You’ll also experience this error if you access ewither of the two RS URLs defined in the RS configuration wizard. The error is:

The report server installation is not initialized. (rsReportServerNotActivated)

This error happens when the server can’t access configuration information, and the most common cause of that is that it can’t decrypt the content. In our case, it can’t because we haven’t yet restored our key.

Step 6 – Restore the Asymmetric Key

On our new RS server, we need to run the RS Configuration Manager, Select Encryption Keys, and then click the Restore button. You will be prompted for the file that you created and copied in Step 1, and this is where remembering the password comes in very handy.

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Once this is done, we can close the configuration manager and return to Central Administration. However, now when we try to access access any aspect of RS we get a new error:

The feature: “Scale-out deployment” is not supported in this edition of Reporting Services. (rsOperationNotSupported)

The reason for this error is that when we restored the key, it added an entry in the Keys table in the Reporting Services database, causing RS to think that we’re using multiple Reporting Services servers. This is what’s known as a scale-out deployment, and is only supported in the Enterprise version of Reporting Services. Obviously this isn’t a problem for anyone running Enterprise, but if not, it’s a showstopper.

The way to fix this is to remove the old server entry in the Keys table. Using SQL Server Management Studio, connect to the Reporting Services database, and open the dbo.Keys table. The old entry should be easy to spot as it will have the old server name. Simple delete the row.

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Once the offending entry is deleted, RS should be good to go.

7. Fix up the content type names

I have posted about this already, but often, an upgrade will break the Content Type names for the Reporting Services content types. Just follow the steps in this post to clean them up.

8. Reconnect Reports with Data Sources And/Or Republish

In addition, moving connection files and reports around in SharePoint can cause them to be disconnected from each other, or for the connection files to be disabled. It’s a good idea to navigate to all of your reports to make sure that they are connected, or better yet, to republish from the source if you had previously used BIDS to publish reports.