The new SharePoint Online Administration Center—more customer control

Source: Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog

The SharePoint Online Admin Center is evolving, and in the upcoming release we will introduce significant improvements in management, including configuration of Search, Apps, Project Online (if purchased), IRM, External Sharing, Start a Site, and more. We will touch on a few new scenarios below.

SharePoint Online Admin is embedded within the Office 365 management capabilities

The SharePoint Online Administration Center, included in the Office 365 Midmarket and Enterprise plans, is one part of the overall administration experience for Office 365, alongside the Exchange Online and Lync Online Administration Centers. You also perform certain tasks, like creating new users and assigning licenses, from within the global level of the Office 365 Administration Center.

What’s new?

The first thing you’ll notice about the new SharePoint Online Administration Center is its new look and feel—consistent across all of Office 365. We’ve also added a navigation bar across the top, which makes SharePoint sites and content more accessible as well as access to the other admin centers you have permissions to.

Figure 1. Access to various workloads and administration centers

 

Sharing

We’ve added more control over how sites are used and shared. The sharing setting allows administrators to choose whether site collections are for internal access only, or enabled for external sharing—this is called External Access. It is now possible to share individual documents via the new feature referred to as Guest Links, which enable both authenticated and anonymous methods of sharing Office documents. The new sharing features make it easier for teams to work with people and groups outside their company, while site administrators can make sure access to data remains secure.

To read more, please see the previous “Sharing – simplified” blog post by our colleague, Gaurav Doshi.

Figure 2. Notice the three levels of external sharing: all off, External Access of sites only, and enabled anonymous Guest Links

 

Search

A series of new search options make an appearance in SharePoint Online for the first time, which previously could be used only from inside the search service in Central Admin. You can manage search schema, dictionaries, and result sources, and remove search results you don’t want. The new features give you control over how search queries act in your SharePoint Online environment and also enable you to import search configurations.

To read more, see the article What’s new in search in SharePoint Server 2013.

Apps

One of the big investments this release is our new Cloud app model. Here, you can set up a corporate catalog to provide internal apps for your company, buy new apps, and manage and monitor how apps are to be consumed by your company and employees. To read more about the new Cloud app model, visit http://dev.office.com.

 

Site collection management

The easiest way to manage site collections is through the site collections list in the SharePoint Administration Center. This will allow you to create, delete, and manage quota and upgrade for site collections.

Figure 3. The main site collection management page

 

For those customers who have a lot of sites and are looking for a more powerful way to control them, I’m now going to turn this article over to Phil Newman, who will tell you about the new, faster way to handle your SharePoint Online tenancy.

Introducing the SharePoint Online Management Shell

The new SharePoint Online has an all-new Windows PowerShell module for admins to manage their sites and users! Windows PowerShell unlocks a lot of new scenarios, including bulk site creation and upgrade, and better quota management and reporting.

The basics

To get started, download the SharePoint Online Management Shell. After you’ve installed the shell, you’re ready to start.

Given that you are running the SharePoint Online Management Shell on a computer that is not in SharePoint Online, you have to start each session by connecting to your SharePoint Online environment. To do that, use the Connect-SPOService cmdlet.  You always connect to the SharePoint Online Administration Center URL.

To connect, run this script in the SharePoint Online Management Shell:

 

Connect-SPOService –url https://mytenant-admin.sharepoint.com

 

If you want to get fancy, you can also put credentials into the script. Be sure you protect files that have passwords in them.

 

$username = ‘admin@contoso.onmicrosoft.com’ $password = ‘MyPassword123’ $cred = New-Object -TypeName System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist $userName, $(convertto-securestring $Password -asplaintext -force) Connect-SPOService –url https://contoso-admin.sharepoint.com –credential $cred

 

What can you do in Windows PowerShell?

We found that most of the activity in the SharePoint Online Administration center was around site management. As a result, we focused the new Windows PowerShell functionality on those scenarios. In Windows PowerShell, you can:

 

  • Create sites
  • Manage quotas
  • Upgrade sites
  • Manage site owners and admins
  • Manage permissions and groups

For detailed documentation, see the article Introduction to the SharePoint Online Management Shell.

Here are some details about a few handy scenarios:

Getting a list of all your sites

One of the common requests we get from large customers is for a way to get a list of all their sites and the characteristics of their sites.  Using Windows PowerShell, it’s easy:

  1. Make sure you’re connected.
  2. Run “Get-SPOSite”

Windows PowerShell can actually create a CSV you can open in Excel in just one line. In one line, just run this:

 

Get-SPOSite | Export-CSV –path MyReport.csv
Figure 4. Results returned within Windows PowerShell showing all site collections using the Get-SPOSite command

 

Bulk site upgrade

Current Office 365 customers get full control over when their sites get upgraded to the new experience. Site owners will be able to upgrade individual site collections from within the SharePoint Online user interface (UI), but SharePoint Online Administrators will have the additional choice of upgrading site collections through Windows PowerShell—one at a time or in bulk.

To upgrade all of your sites from the SharePoint 2010 (14) UI and features to SharePoint 2013 UI (15), simply iterate through all “14” mode sites using a script like this one:

 

$14ModeSites = Get-SPOSite -limit all –detailed | Where-Object {$_.CompatibilityLevel – eq 14} $14ModeSites | % {Upgrade-SPOSite -identity $_.url -VersionUpgrade}

 

Reporting

As you deploy hundreds of sites, Windows PowerShell can help you get a good picture of what’s in your Office 365 environment. A slight variation on the script you used to get a list of all your sites can be used to get usage data.

Here is the new line that will give you more information. It can work with hundreds or thousands of sites.

 

Get-SPOSite –limit all –detailed | Export-CSV –path MyReport.csv

 

You’ll notice two changes:

  • The use of “-limit all”. By default, Get-SPOSite returns up to only 200 sites. Using “-limit all” gets you all of them.
  • The use of “–detailed”. We’ve optimized Get-SPOSite for speed by retrieving only properties that we can get quickly by default. There are a few properties that won’t come back unless you run in “-detailed” mode.  Those properties are:
    • CompatabilityLevel
    • ResourceUsageCurrent
    • ResourceUsageAverage
    • StorageUsageCurrent
    • WebCount
    • Title

Now that you have a CSV of all of the properties, you can see how your usage quota is being consumed in your office 365 environment and make adjustments as necessary.

Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder

To make it easier to build out a variety of Windows PowerShell commands for SharePoint Online, we’ve designed a web-based tool named the Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder. (Note: To see all relevant SharePoint Online commands, select SharePoint Online from the Products drop-down list.) This tool can help you visualize what actions you want to take and dynamically build a Windows PowerShell command that you can copy into your management session.

Figure 5. Main screen of the Windows PowerShell for SharePoint Command Builder when you select SharePoint Online from the Products drop-down menu

 

SharePoint Online Admin and the Cloud app model

All of the functionality we have in Windows PowerShell is available in the Cloud app model too!  I’m not going to go into too much detail in this blog post, but we’ve made sure that you already have everything you need to use the SharePoint Online Administration APIs when you have SharePoint developer tools. In any SharePoint client object model (CSOM) project, just add a reference to Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.client.dll and you’re all set.  The only caveat is that your app has to request and be granted tenant permissions.

Wrapping up…

We’re excited to present the new features and improvements in the SharePoint Online Administration Center. We’ve focused heavily on consistency across all of Office 365, invested in the features you requested, and made it possible to automate common tasks by using Windows PowerShell. Try it all out and keep the feedback coming!

Powershell and Registry: propertytype mappings

Since a few weeks i have been using and LOVING powershell for providing SharePoint functionality.
Working with SharePoint AND powershell is really powerfull 😀
But every now and then, it’s not easy to find the right information.

I wanted to create a powershell script that automates the creation of the registry keys for using the PDF iFilter.
The keys have been posted on the internet multiple times, but always from the point of view of using Regedit.

I wanted it to be done by using powershell.
Information on how to create regsitry keys and values is also greatly explained on the internet, but always based on string  values.
The pdf ifilter uses more. reg-dword for example.

So i started my search for the property types of the registry and how they are called in powershell. And that was not easy.
Eventually i ended up at …. technet. Where it should be :-)

But since i couldn’t find it easily, i decided to create a blog about it.
Hereby the mapping between powershell and registry of value mappings

Value Description
String Specifies a null-terminated string. Equivalent to REG_SZ.
ExpandString Specifies a null-terminated string that contains unexpanded references to environment variables that are expanded when the value is retrieved. Equivalent to REG_EXPAND_SZ.
Binary Specifies binary data in any form. Equivalent to REG_BINARY.
DWord Specifies a 32-bit binary number. Equivalent to REG_DWORD.
MultiString Specifies an array of null-terminated strings terminated by two null characters. Equivalent to REG_MULTI_SZ.
QWord Specifies a 64-bit binary number. Equivalent to REG_QWORD.
Unknown Indicates an unsupported registry data type, such as REG_RESOURCE_LIST.

Office 365 Becomes First and Only Major Cloud Productivity Service to Comply With Leading EU and U.S. Standards for Data Protection and Security

REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 14, 2011 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Microsoft Office 365, the company’s next-generation cloud productivity service, is the first and only major cloud-based platform to offer leading information privacy and security standards for customers operating in the European Union and United States. As part of its contractual commitment to customers, Microsoft will now sign the EU’s model clauses, which will help customers certify compliance with the European Commission’s stringent Data Protection Directive, and the U.S.-mandated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Link to full article

Backup exec Freezes after installing SharePoint 2010 – Symantec … So we meet again

In the past (in the days that sharepoint still was called MOSS ) we often used port 10000 for central administration. Until we installed it at a customer who had BackupExec as their backup solution.

Seems that the BackupExec agent uses port 10000 to communicate with the BackupExec server. This forced us to review our Central Admin port strategy. Instead of simply using a convenient port number, we decided to research what would be a good port number.

We asked our customer which ports the all used, and we finally decided on a new port number for CA.

When SharePoint 2010 arrived we kept using our chosen port number.

Today, a customer told me that they could no longer backup their server on which SharePoint was installed.
They were using: Backup Exec 😕

So my first guess was, backup exec changed the portnumber of their agent. But this wasn’t the case.

After some investigation it seems that BackupExec 12.5 agent stops working when SharePoint 2010 is installed.

The 12.5 version doesn’t support SharePoint 2010, but in this case was also not needed. We simply wanted to backup files fro the file system.
The SharePoint agent was not to be used.

But the backup exec agent thinks otherwise. It has 2 SharePoint dll’s on board and it really want to see if it can connect to SharePoint.

even when the dll’s are build for older version of sharepoint, it will try to make a connection. And that’s the issue. It simply cannot connect but the process hangs itself trying to connect.

The solution:

  1. Stop the backupexec service on the sharepoint server
  2. goto to the RAWS directory
  3. rename the sharepoint dll’s (bedssps2.dll, bedssps3.dll) so the no longer function as dll (add .old)
  4. restart the backup exex service

Your backup exec server should be able to connect to the sharepoint server again.

Symantec has a support page on this issue:http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=TECH125045

Changing Central Administration port number

As of SharePoint 2010 it’s really simple to change the port number of Central Administration.

When installing the stand-alone version of SharePoint (which generates a portnumber) or simply if you want to change it (maybe some other software wants to use that port)

The simplest way to accomplish this is by using a powershell command.

Type : Set-SPCentralAdministration -Port <your preferred portnumber>

It will change the portnumber on the fly.

BUT…… Keep the following in mind when changing the portnumber.
The moment a webapplication is created, a directory is created based on the original portnumber. When you change the portnumber, the name of the dorectory will NOT be changed and still refelct the original portnumber.

Directory: C:inetpubwwwrootwssVirtualDirectories<original portnumber>

If the names of these directories don’t match your expectations, always take a look at the configuration in IIS.
In IIS you can see both the directory and portnumber and you might see that someone changed the portnumber.

SQL Express database limit

recently i noticed on a page that the database limit of SQl express was extended.

First of all: what is SQL express. It’s the free version of Microsoft’s SQL server.
because it’s free, it’s (ofcourse) limited. One of these limitations is the maximum database size.

this was always : 4 Gb.
But , as of version 2008R2 (express) this limitation is extended to 10 GB.

Although SharePoint comes OOTB with SQL express 2008 (without the R2), you can cheat during installation. That way you can have a larger database, but still use the free version of SQL. Install SQL 2008R2 express BEFORE installing SharePoint and install it using an Named Instance.

I already showed how this can be accomplished using the full SQL version here.

For more information about SQL express, take a look at the following URL’s

general info about SQL express 2008R2: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/editions/express.aspx

Limitation or differences between the versions of SQL 2008 R2 (including the 10 Gb db limit):http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/product-info/compare.aspx

SharePoint 2010: Standalone installation, but with full sql version

For development and testing i usually install the standalone version of SharePoint 2010.

I start with installing win2008R2, then i install sql2008r2, then i install the SharePoint pre-requisites, and when i start installing SharePoint i always realize, i don’t have the option to use the installed sql server. Standalone ALWAYS installs sql express and uses this as the database server.

So i end up with 2 sql instllations.

an alternative is to install a farm, based on local accounts, but that’s not always what i want.

For those who want that, take a look at this article : http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/blogs/fromthefield/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=112

So, when i wanted to setup a development environment again i wanted to start with SQL installation. However, this time i remembered i don’t need it.

But what if i still want to use it instead of the express version.

that’s when an idea popped up. What would happen if i installed sql as an instance with the name …….. SHAREPOINT.

The same instance name that SharePoint uses for the express installation.

I installed sql2008R2 as an instance with the name SHAREPOINT and then installed SharePoint.

And guess what …. it used the SHAREPOINT instance i created as database for the SharePoint installation.

Voila. SharePoint standalone installation on the full SQL version.

 

regards,

Eric

CKS: Development Tools Edition

This project extends the Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint project system with advanced templates and tools. Using these extensions you will be able to find relevant information from your SharePoint environments without leaving Visual Studio. You will have greater productivity while developing SharePoint components and you will have greater deployment capabilities on your local SharePoint installation.

For all developers there are several features you will like.

Get it here.