Thursday, December 21, 2006

DEC 2007 Agenda Confirmed, Pre-con Wiki available

The agenda and speakers have been confirmed for the 2007 Directory Experts Conference.  If you're an Active Directory shop then there is really only one conference to attend per year - DEC.  Check out the line-up for 2007!

I will be presenting one session next year:

Using SQL Reporting Services for MIIS Reporting

This topic comes up repeatedly in the forums with people looking for ways to "mine" the data from the metaverse and produce reports.  I'm going to talk a bit about SRS but focus mainly on how to get at the data within the metaverse safely and then look at some common reports that people will be interested in.

I'd like some feedback on the presentation content - if you have any requests as to what to cover or focus on I'd like to hear it so I can make the presentation more relevent.

To support the feedback and polishing of the presentations, Gil Kirkpatrick (CTO of NetPro and the DEC conference founder) has made available a pre-conference wiki for conference goers to interface with the presenters and help craft the presentations.  This is a GREAT idea and I only hope that everyone makes effective use of it.  Keep monitoring the following site for updates:

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mark of Protection +4, Lycanthropy & Infinite Loops

No, it's not a new piece of equipment for your World of Warcraft character, it's an obscure reference to an underappreciated setting to aide your troubleshooting of advanced rules extensions in your MIIS implementation.  Let's see what the MSDN Library says about this option:

Rules Extension Lifetime

A rules extension is loaded into memory when Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003 first uses a synchronization rule configured for a rules extension. The rules extension is unloaded from memory under the following conditions:

  • When Identity Integration Server does not call the rules extension within five minutes of the first call.
  • When Unload extension if the duration of a single operation exceeds in Global rules Extension Settings of Configure Rules Extension in the Identity Manager is selected and Identity Integration Server calls the rules extension and does not receive a response from the rules extension after the specified time. If Identity Integration Server does not receive a response by the specified time, Identity Integration Server returns a synchronization error with the value extension-dll-timeout.

If the rules extension is unloaded from memory because of one of the previous conditions, then the rules extension will be loaded into memory the next time Identity Integration Server uses a synchronization rule configured for a rules extension.

I think most of us are familiar with the 5 minute reload requirement - if not from training then you've learned it the hard way from much trial, error and frustration.  However, this additional setting allows you to determine how long before the extension is terminated due to inactivity of the code to progress beyond a single action; luckily for us this includes infinite loops. 

I recently made some changes to an already implemented code base and began to see MIIS "stall" on certain records when running synchronizations.  My first thought was that a SQL query had gotten past me somewhere and someone was locking one of the metaverse tables, but a quick check in SQL Enterprise manager and a more lengthy check in SQL Reporting Services reports didn't reveal anything so I set about trying to find the offending record.  When I was going in to disable Provisioning I noticed the rules extension timeout setting.  After checking the option I was able to locate an offending record quickly by running a Full Synchronization.  With the new setting in place the code terminated with an extension-dll-timeout error after 60 seconds and I was able to locate the offending record and loop.

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