13 October 2005

What a HECTIC week!

Forgot to post this one last week…
WOW!  Where has the time gone?
This week has been extremely busy for me.
See, we’re heading off to Hawaii for two weeks and have been trying to get everything wrapped up so the journey could be care free.
Of course Father Fate wouldn’t have any of it.
My current project is going very well.
We’re supposed to go live Nov 1st, but the users are already working in the final live production area, almost a month ahead of schedule!
Then it started.
First we found that users were not able to search their content they were loading in the newly built environment.
It’s a medium farm with a Web/Search server and a Job/Index server, both of which we just built.  The SQL server is a pre-existing production SQL Server machine.
I figured, no problem, we’ll just rebuild the search scopes.
So we did that… No go!
In fact, once we did that, it started blocking us from even acessing the "Configure Search and Indexing" page with a very strange "Access is denied" error message.
Mmm… never seen that before… 
OK, so maybe it’s the ID I’m using.  Even though I’m a box admin as well as a SharePoint admin, I though that just maybe something was missing.
So we logged on using the global domain (God) admin ID.
Surely this ID isn’t blocked from ANYTHING and will be able to get to the page right?
WRONG!!!  Again, no go! 
OK, time to get back to debugging basics.
Debugging Basics – Rule Number 1:  Assume NOTHING!
OK, so we checked that everything is configured the way its supposed to be.
Everything checked out.
Debugging Basics – Rule Number 2:  Simplify!
We had a SharePoint Portal Server setup, so in order to simplify I started by eliminating SPS from the equation and attempting to validate that Windows SharePoint Services’ search functionality was at least working.
Mmm… No go again!
So, neither SPS nor WSS search was working… Interresting… 
By this time we were also getting errors about not being able to connect to the Index server.
So in order to simplify even further, I moved the Job/Index functionality to the Web/Search server effectively turning our medium farm into a small farm.
If there was indeed a permissions issue connecting to the Index server, this would eliminate that error giving some concrete indication as to the source of the problem.
Interrestingly enough, we still had the Index server access error message.
Debugging Basics – Rule Number 3:  What’s new?
OK, so we’ve assumed nothing and have check, re-checked and tripple checked all settings and configurations.  We have simplified by narrowing our search just to WSS and on a small farm instead of a medium farm and yet… no progress…
So what is new?  Well, the WSS Service Pack 2 was released days before we built the servers and I felt comfortable using it given the long time it spent in Beta.
We had the servers fonfigured according to Best Practices with the SharePoint user account being only a member of Power Users on each server.
The option now became to remove WSS SP2 and go back to WSS SP1, but before doing that, we tried bumping the SharePoint user account to admin level to see what happens.
I figured, it may have been something caused by SP2.
We changed permissions and sure enough, now we were able to get to the "Configure Search & Indexing" page.  The really perplexing thing was that we weren’t able to create indexes though.
Stay tuned…

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