Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More IIS automated deploys

Been working more with IIS automated deploys and found a couple of good posts in David Wang's Blog along with some other good blog posts.

This one is related to how to manipulate IIS list data. He provides a handy vbs script to do this that worked nicely for me in adding a new application mapping to IIS.

This one talks about IIS App pool crashes - fatal communication errors between the Application Pool and IIS.

This one talks about app pool recycling and IIS availability. There's some great conversations past David's article further down the page.

This one (not David Wang) shows how to change COM+ MSDTC settings programmatically. This script worked great for me as well.

This one (Ian Morrish) shows how to manipulate COM+ Security launch and activation permissions using DComPerm from the windows SDK.

With all of these scripts, I found I had to carefully read the directions and make sure I had the parameters that were being passed in correct. I was often passing in erroneous parameters on my first couple of tries.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Windows bug with adding users to a group

I was using a script to try and add users to a local group today in an automated build script. I was sent a script that worked, but when I plugged in my values, it didn't. I always got a script syntax error, like one of my parameters was not in the right place, or had spaces or something. Well the group name did have spaces, but that wasn't my issue.

It turns out that there is a documented Windows bug ( that limits the username to be added to only 20 characters. Any more and it won't run.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Log parsing/network security tools

I discovered some new tools today that are useful for network security. QRadar from Q1 labs ( is a really slick log parsing tool for organizations that are looking to implement a distributed log management offering to collect, archive, and analyze network and security event logs. It then parses this information into graphs and data that you can tune to alert you when things go awry. You can configure it to look at firewall logs, web server access logs, event logs, etc.
Splunk ( seems like it might be a competitor. At a glance, I'd say that QRadar has a lot more features and might be a lot more expensive.

XML manipulation in Visual Build (and vbscript)

We've been working on basically turning our Visual Build deployment files into DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) scripts. Essentially, everything required to get our applications running on a 'blank' server box is documented as a config, permission, or push in our Visual Build files. This has required updating then machine.config and web.config files that reside under windows/ or v2.0.50727/config at times. Sometimes we're adding attributes to existing element, sometimes we're adding entirely new elements.

It seems to me that adding entirely new elements in Visual Build (using the Write XML Action) has a bug in it. It will add new attributes to existing elements no problem. But it won't add new elements. So we hacked around that and used the 'Run Script' Action with vbscript to add elements to our files. To do this in vbscript it looks something like this:

Dim objXMLDoc, objNewNode, objText, strXPath, objParentNode, objChildNode, objCaseExist

Set objXMLDoc = CreateObject("Microsoft.XMLDOM")
objXMLDoc.async = False

' load the XML file - make sure to include the fully qualified path
fSuccess = objXMLDoc.load("\\%TARGET_SERVER%\c$\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\framework\v2.0.50727\config\web.config")
If Not fSuccess Then
wscript.echo ("error loading XML file")
wscript.echo ("XML file loaded")
End If

' set to proper node
Set nodeList = objXMLDoc.getElementsByTagName("configuration/system.web/compilation/buildProviders")
If nodeList.length > 0 Then

Set objParentNode = nodeList(0)

' add the SGAS SecurityDisabled element/node
Set objNewNode = objXMLDoc.createElement("add")
objNewNode.setAttribute "extension", ".uplx"
objNewNode.setAttribute "type", "System.Web.Compilation.PageBuildProvider"
objParentNode.appendChild objXMLDoc.createTextNode (vbCrLf)

set objNewNode = Nothing


wscript.echo ("node list empty")

end if

' save the XML file"\\%TARGET_SERVER%\c$\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\framework\v2.0.50727\config\web.config")

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Error 8510 and MSDTC...

We had the whole development environment down for a day. After spending a good bit of time debugging, we discovered that we were getting a significant number of errors in our event logs saying:
Inner: The transaction has aborted.
Inner: Failure while attempting to promote transaction.
Inner: Fatal error 8510 occurred at Aug 5 2009 1:09PM. Note the error and time, and contact your system administrator.
A severe error occurred on the current command. The results, if any, should be discarded.

They were thrown against the running of several different stored procs and because of the architecture of our system, all of our COM+ components were rendered useless.

I found a post that talks about 'fatal error 8510' that was interesting: - go to the bottom of the page (it's a ways down). However that turned out to NOT be the resolution to our problem

The resolution to our problem resided in the fact that SQL Server could not initiate a distributed transaction. We had thought that there was a problem with the MSDTC cluster, but that turned out to not be an issue as other sql servers in the cluster could initiate distributed transactions. Restarting services on the sql server that could not initiate distributed transactions resolved the problem