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Microsoft Emphasizes Cloud-First with SharePoint 2013 Hosting

clock December 20, 2012 17:18 by author Administrator

As Microsoft showcased its new SharePoint 2013 and the SharePoint online upgrades to its Office 365 service this week, it raises the question of how far organizations are willing to go to phase out their premises-based software in favor of shifting everyday work to a service-based model.

That's not to suggest that organizations will or should scrap their SharePoint deployments in favor of Office 365 or some other instantiation of Microsoft's collaboration platform that's subscription-based or hosted elsewhere. It's not an either/or proposition. But Microsoft left little doubt it wants you to gravitate to the SharePoint Online component of its Office 365 service.

"We really recommend moving to the cloud for the best experience overall," said John Teper, the Microsoft corporate vice president known as the "father of SharePoint," speaking in his opening keynote at the annual SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas Monday. "We understand not everyone is there yet. This will take time. People who want to run their own servers, that's great. We have the best server release we've ever done in SharePoint 2013. The thing you should take away from our cloud focus is all we've learned about optimizing the system and deployment and monitoring, we've put into the server product and put into the deployment guidance."

SharePoint 2013's "Cloud-First" model follows in the footsteps of Microsoft's promise that it will deliver infrastructure software and applications as a cloud service first or simultaneously with the release of the on-premise version of its key products. That came to life with last year's CRM Online Dynamics CRM duo. Now Microsoft is employing the same approach with the latest version of SharePoint Online in the Office 365 service and SharePoint 2013.

One of many distinctive new cloud features in SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online is the new SkyDrive Pro, an evolution of the SharePoint Workspace. SkyDrive Pro raises the bar in synchronizing content between SharePoint Sites and workers' various devices. SkyDrive Pro is modeled after the consumer-based SkyDrive service, except it's built into SharePoint, which allows IT organizations to manage it.

Experts are predicting more rapid than usual uptake for the new release of SharePoint and Office 365, primarily due to the major overhaul of the SharePoint experience, which brings enterprise social networking to the forefront.

A Forrester Research poll of 153 clients who already have SharePoint found 68 percent of respondents planned to introduce the new version within two years (37 percent within the first year and 31 percent within the second). What's interesting about that finding is 70 percent of that sample said they already have upgraded to SharePoint 2010, which is unusual since organizations typically skip subsequent releases to amortize their investments.

"This is conjecture here but it could be around the social experience," said Forrester analyst Rob Koplowitz in an interview. "The feedback on the social facilities in SharePoint 2010 was pretty dismal. That might be the driver but others include the need for improved document and records management. Also, it could be they're trying to move to a more stable development environment."

Speaking of social networking, that's where Yammer comes in, the popular social networking company Microsoft just acquired for $1.2 billion. Microsoft announced it's bundling the popular cloud-based enterprise social networking service, into SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 in addition to offering it as a standalone offering and plans further integration.

In the annals of Microsoft's cloud transition, 2010 will be remembered as the year CEO Steve Ballmer proclaimed the company is "all-in." With the revamp of SharePoint and Office, we may get our biggest sense yet how many Microsoft's customers are all-in.

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SP 2013 Hosting :: How to solve error message "Unable to retrieve topology component health states. This may be because the admin component is not up and running"

clock December 16, 2012 13:32 by author Administrator

Sometimes, when you are playing with SharePoint 2013, you will encounter this error message: “Unable to retrieve topology component health states.  This may be because the admin component is not up and running.” You will see this error message on your Central Administration page -> Application Management -> Manage Services on the server -> click on the “SharePoint Search Server”




This article provides resolution on SharePoint 2013 that is installed on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP 1 and SQL Server 2008 R2. The server is not a domain controller or hosting SQL either.
 
To resolve this issue, please download the following fixes on Microsoft website

KB 2554876
KB 2708075
KB 2472264

If after installing the above hotfixes and you still encounter issue, you need to run Windows Update and installing all patches/hotfixes reported as critical.

Once this had been done (and a reboot or two later), the problem will be resolved!

The updates in installed are below (so it’s one or more of them?)

 

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SharePoint Foundation 2013 Hosting :: Setting up your App domain for SharePoint 2013

clock December 9, 2012 13:43 by author Administrator

The most important change in SharePoint 2013 for developers is the introduction of SharePoint apps. An app for SharePoint is a small and isolated application that provides a specific bit of functionality. SharePoint apps can and have to be added to or removed from a site by the site owner.  Apps have their own, isolated URLs, which are separate from the URLs of the sites where the app is being deployed to and where the app is being used. In order to provide isolation apps run in their own domain, instead of in the same domain name as your farm. Using a different domain name for apps helps prevent cross-site scripting between apps and SharePoint sites.

Each installation of an app has its own unique URL within the app domain. The app’s URL is based on a template “http://[app prefix][app hash].[app domain]/[relative site url]/[app name]. When you add an app to a site, a subweb of that site is created to host the app content. This subweb is not visible on the Site Contents page though.

Because apps run in their own app domain you will have to configure Domain Name Services (DNS) in your environment in order to be able to host apps. There is a page on TechNet that describes how to setup you DNS, but because it took me a while to get it all working I decided to write a step by step guide, which is what you’re reading now.

You can choose whether you want your app domain to be a subdomain of the domain that hosts the SharePoint environment (option B), or whether you want to create a completely new domain for your apps (option A). Creating a new domain specifically to host your apps in is a bit more secure, but it also requires a little bit more configuration. I will describe both approaches in this article. If you don’t have control over your DNS you will have to ask an administrator to perform these steps for you.

Option A: Create a new domain to host your apps in

- Go to “Start”
- Click on “Administrative Tools”
- Select “DNS”
- Right click “Forward Lookup Zones” and select “New Zone…”
- Click “Next”
- Keep the default and click “Next” again
- In most cases, especially if your development server is in it’s own domain you can use the default on the next tab again and can just click “Next”
- You now have to specify a zone name. It’s up to you what you choose here. My domain name is “solutions.com” and for my app domain I will use “solutionapps.com”
- Click “Next”
- Click “Next”
- Click “Finish”
- Right click on your new zone and select “New Alias (CNAME)…”
- Fill in a * for “Alias name (uses parent domain if left blank)”
- Click “Browse”
- Double click on your server name
- Double click “Forward Lookup Zones”
- Double click the domain of your SharePoint environment. In my case this is “solutions.com”.
- Select “(Same as parent folder)” and click “OK”
- Click “OK”.

* Note that selecting the FQDN of the domain in here will only work in single server scenarios. If you are using more than one server you should be pointing to the DNS record of the web server in here. This is either the DNS A record for the web server, or the DNS record of the primary cluster address for NLB environments.

You are now done setting up your DNS and it should look like this:

Option B: Create a subdomain to host your apps in

- Go to “Start”
- Click on “Administrative Tools”
- Select “DNS”
- Right click on the name of your domain and select “New Alias (CNAME)…”
- Fill in “*.app” for “Alias name (uses parent domain if left blank)”
- Click “Browse”
- Double click on your server name
- Double click “Forward Lookup Zones”
- Double click the domain of your SharePoint environment. In my case this is “solutions.com”
- Select “(Same as parent folder)” and click “OK”
- Click “OK”

* Note that selecting the FQDN of the domain in here will only work in single server scenarios. If you are using more than one server you should be pointing to the DNS record of the web server in here. This is either the DNS A record for the web server, or the DNS record of the primary cluster address for NLB environments.

You are now done setting up your DNS and it should look like this:

Configuring SharePoint

I’m assuming you already created an App Management and a Subscription Settings Service Application and that you already started the App Management and Subscription Settings services on your servers. If not this MSDN article will tell you how to. Note that you have to use PowerShell to create the Subscription Settings Service Application. There is no user interface for it.

- Go to Central Administration
- Click on “Apps” in the left side navigation
- Click “Configure App URLs”
- Fill in the URL of the app domain that you configured. If you choose to use Option A the url will be something like “solutionapps.com”, if you choose to use Option B it will look like app.solutions.com.
- Fill in an app prefix. This can be anything you like, although it is best to keep this short. I used “app” myself.

Beware of host headers

You are now ready to deploy your apps. Because of all this extra domain stuff though there are a few things you should know about your web applications and site collections.

If you are using a host header for your web application apps won’t just work for that web application. Because of how the redirect for the app domain works IIS will try to resolve the app url by using the default IIS web site, which of course doesn’t work. If you want to use host headers for your web applications you have to create an extra web application that is listening on port 80 (or 443 if you are using https) and that doesn’t have a host header.

This means that you have to create a web application like you normally would. You have to make sure that you select port 80 (or 443 if you are using https) and you should not fill in a host header. Note that you have to stop the Default Web Site in IIS in order to be able to do this. The web application will use the server name as its url. The web application can be empty except for a root site collection.

Another option is to use web applications without host headers and to create Host Header Site Collections. Be aware that Host Header Site Collections cannot be created via the user interface, they can only be created by using PowerShell.

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SharePoint Foundation 2013 Hosting - SharePoint 2013 workflows in Visio

clock November 12, 2012 17:12 by author Administrator

Visualizing processes is at the heart of Visio's DNA and in Visio 2010 we took a big step forward in that area by including support for SharePoint workflows. This lets users create a workflow in Visio, import it into SharePoint Designer, and make it an executable workflow on SharePoint.  In the new Visio we've added SharePoint 2013 workflows and made SharePoint Designer an even more integral part of creating workflows visually.



What are SharePoint workflows?

If you're not familiar with SharePoint workflows, they are process flows that use pre-defined common activities (such as send email) that can be executed as an automated process on a SharePoint server. This workflow could represent any of a number of business processes, such as a credit approval process, document review feedback, document approval, etc.  In Visio 2010 we added a template that would allow you to design a workflow visually, then export your workflow to SharePoint Designer, where you could add parameters to your workflow and publish it.

The new Visio still includes SharePoint 2010 workflows that you can use as you have in the past, but it adds the new Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Workflow template.

Some major changes

Once you create a new SharePoint 2013 workflow, instead of a blank canvas you'll see that every new workflow starts with an empty container called a "stage". Support for stages was a highly requested feature that allows you to simplify complex workflows. Each stage contains all of the actions that make up that logical section of the workflow. Simple workflows might be only a single stage, while complex workflows could have many stages. Within stages, "step" containers allow you to further organize actions. While all actions must be within a stage, decision shapes can determine the flow both within and between stages.



With Visio open, if you look at the stencil pane at the left, you'll see all new shapes.  These are not just a visual update; SharePoint 2013 workflow actions and conditions have been updated to support .Net 4.0 workflows.  We've also added a new stencil, Components, where you'll see the shapes to support stages and steps as well as loops, another new highly requested feature.

Along with adding new workflow elements, we've eliminated the export step to save workflow for use in SharePoint Designer.  SharePoint 2013 workflows you have saved as new Visio Drawing (VSDX) files can be opened in either Visio or SharePoint Designer with no export step needed.

Let's take a look at how this all works together.

An example of creating a workflow

Imagine that your team wants to create a workflow to track credit approvals of your customers.  As a first step you decide to rough out the high-level process.  To make this easier, after creating your new workflow you first go to the Process tab and click Stage View on the SharePoint Workflow section.  It creates a Default Stage View page that uses Simple Stage shapes to represent each stage. Since you hadn't added any additional stages, all you have is a single, unnamed stage, which looks like this:



Now you can add additional Simple Stage shapes and Conditions to flesh out your workflow until you have the overall flow of the workflow designed.  Then, by selecting the shapes and typing, you can edit the names to reflect the actual stage and condition names and add "yes" and "no" labels to the decision branches.  When you're done, it looks more like:



If it's a complex workflow, at this point you would probably want to review the workflow with your team, so you could use the new collaboration features to get feedback on the workflow and make sure you have correctly defined the major stages.

Once you're sure that the diagram is as you want it, you can go back to the Process tab and click Create Workflow and Visio builds you a diagram where empty stage containers replace your stage view shapes, which gives you a framework for your workflow.



Now you'll need to flesh out each stage by adding the proper workflow actions and conditions.

If you look at the Actions stencil you'll see a lot of different possible actions, such as "Send an email" and "Create list item".  Each of these actions represent an action that can be part of the steps that are executed on the SharePoint server when the workflow is running.  You can combine these actions to determine what happens in each stage of your workflow. Let's focus in on one of the simpler stages, the Bankruptcy Check to see how building a stage works.

Since our stage view had the names of each of the stages, the generated workflow already has a stage called "Bankruptcy check".  We can zoom in on that stage to make our work simpler.  The first step we want is to assign a task to the person who will do the research into possible bankruptcies.  This is as simple as dragging the "Assign a task" shape onto the stage and dropping it on the line you see running across the stage.  Connector splitting will break the connector where you dropped the shape and reattach connectors on each side.



You can then rename the action so that it's more meaningful.  The bankruptcy check has several other steps in it, including a condition that changes the execution of the workflow depending on whether there has been a bankruptcy or not.  You simply add the additional shapes to reflect the flow of the decision, add the names, add labels to indicate which decision connector is "yes" and which is "no", and you're done.  You'll end up with a stage that looks like this:



Hint:  If you design your workflow so that "yes" decisions go to the right and "no" decisions go down, your diagram will be more consistent and Visio's routing engine will do a better job whenever automatic layout occurs.

Once you've filled out the entire workflow, used collaboration to get comments and make any adjustments, and you have a workflow that you all agree properly models the steps you want your SharePoint workflow to execute, then you can make the workflow executable.  For that you use SharePoint Designer.

In Visio 2010, workflows had to be exported using an intermediate file format that was used only to interoperate with SharePoint Designer.  Once the file was opened in SharePoint Designer, adding parameters was a matter of editing text in a programming interface. We've simplified both steps in this version.

Since there's no export step, you simply need to open your saved workflow in SharePoint Designer; Visio's new Visio Drawing (VSDX) file format lets you seamlessly move between Visio and SharePoint Designer.  

SharePoint Designer also now hosts Visio as an ActiveX control, which lets you use the familiar Visio interface to visually edit workflows in SharePoint Designer and add parameters using action tag dialogs if both the new SharePoint Designer and the new Visio are installed on your computer.

First you use the action tag dropdown to select the action you want:



Then you set the properties using the Action Designer.



After you do this for each of the actions, you can then set the conditions for each of the decision shapes:



When you're done, the finished workflow can be published so that it will run on the SharePoint Server.

For more information on how you add parameters and publish a workflow in SharePoint Designer, take a look at Sam Chung's blog post, Introducing the new Visual Designer.

In summary

The new Visio lets you design a SharePoint 2013 workflow from an outline to a finished diagram using simple drag and drop and basic editing.  You can share and collaborate on the diagram to work with your team to perfect and finalize the workflow.  Since SharePoint Designer now supports visual design using the Visio diagramming engine, editing and parameterizing can now be done with a visual interface.

If you haven't already, download the Visio Preview and try out the new SharePoint 2013 template

 

        

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SharePoint Foundation 2013 Hosting with ASPHostCentral.com

clock September 13, 2012 17:51 by author Administrator

ASPHostCentral.com, the leader in ASP.NET and Windows Hosting Provider, proudly announces that we have supported the latest SharePoint 2013 Hosting

We offer this newest
SharePoint 2013 Hosting Package from just $15.99/month. Our SharePoint 2013 hosting plan comes with a list of complete features, such as:

- Massive Document Storage Space
- Massive Bandwidth
- Unlimited Number of SharePoint Users / Accounts
- SharePoint Designer 2013
- Support Third-Party (Custom) Web Parts)
- Support International Language Packs
- Support SSL for higher data integrity
- Support Anonymous, Public-Facing Access



To make our SharePoint 2013 even more complete, we have added extra features free of charge to the package. These features are:

- .NET 4.5 and ASP.NET MVC 4.0 Framework
- Silverlight 5.0
- SQL Server 2012
- Entity Framework (EF)
- WebMatrix and WebDeploy
- Windows 2012 Hosting
- WCF RIA Service
- World Class Control Panel
- 24/7 Support
- 99.9% Uptime Guarantee
- Choice of US or European Data Center
- 30-days Money Back Guarantee

SharePoint 2013 is the new way to work together. A simplified user experience helps you organize, sync and share all your content. New social capabilities make it easy to share ideas, keep track of what your colleagues are working on, and discover experts you never knew existed.

Putting a SharePoint team website in place for your business is a fast, cost-effective way to facilitate team communication while creating a professional looking website. Team sites based on Windows SharePoint Services are useful right out of the box. You can customize your site, changing its appearance and adding functionalities without using other applications or doing any programming

Obviously, we still support the SharePoint 2010 Hosting on our Windows Server environment.

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Sharepoint 2013 Hosting

ASPHostCentral is a premier web hosting company where you will find low cost and reliable web hosting. We have supported the latest ASP.NET 4.5 hosting and ASP.NET MVC 4 hosting. We have supported the latest SQL Server 2012 Hosting and Windows Server 2012 Hosting too!



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