SharePoint 2010 User Profile Sync Service

One of the big bugbears I’m having with SharePoint 2010 is the User Profile Syncronisation Service (UPSS). It has been a struggle on and off over many weeks, and I just cannot get it to work properly on our intranet farm. I’ve ready many, many well documented guides on how to configure UPSS, but never had a sucessful sync occur. There seems to be a general consensus online that UPSS is problematic.

In my attempts, I’ve played around with Forefront Identity Manager, applied hotfixes, recreated the service application and just about everything inbetween. After everything I have tried, I’m getting pointed down the route of starting again. The other complication is that the farm went unoffically into production, and now most of the organisation is using it. This makes it very difficult to be able to safely perform configuration changes and restart IIS without a lot of screaming from the end users. The situation has also been escalated as it appears no audiences can be applied due to he UPSS not currently being operational.

I recalled while reading Professional SharePoint 2010 Administration the notion of a Services Farm that does nothing else than provide SharePoint services to be consumed. This was reinforced at the Australian TechEd session SharePoint storage and physical architecture best practices. In summary, these services can be published from a Services Farm and consumed by one or more other farms. This can save a lot of duplication of effort, and instead of having UPSS, search, managed metadata etc for each farm, it can be consolidated and save the computing and operational resources to manage those.

Following this idea, I have planned out how I would like to see this work in my current environment, I also have the added requirement that HR may potentially wish to have their own, secure farm. This helps support my arguement going forward, and allows us to be flexible:

SharePoint UPSS Plan

I’ll post an update once I have this configured, hopefully I’ll have a chance within the next week to get this operational.

UPDATE: I’ve made significant headway on setting this up, and now compiling my ultimate guide to UPSS, MySites, Social Connectivity, People Search and Trusted Farms!

Improving the lift interface

As usual, I arrived at the lift well for the building I work in, and was one of the last people to get in.  As I dart in, I quickly scanned the lift buttons – not going to my floor.  Can I get to the lift buttons?  Yes, but I can’t get to swipe my security pass – someone is in the way.  From there it gets a bit awkward.  Try and get around someone, say ‘excuse me’ and hurriedly swipe and push the button?  Or perhaps wait until that person moves out of the elevator and hope that they get off before you pass your floor.

Perhaps its time to revisit the lift interface, and look for some innovation.  I’ve already got two ideas, without adding too much cost, and more convenience for the lift travelers.  In these instances, I’ve got in mind hi-rise levels with part-express elevators

1.  Scan on lift entry

I could almost guarantee that everyone in the building carries proximity cards with them.  As you walk into the list, scanners could detect your card.  The lift would immediately know who you are, and what your default floor would be.  Upon entry, the lift then knows who is going to which floors.

Of course you would still have some manual override option available for visitors or traveling to other floors.

2. Scan before you start

Can we optimise the process even further?  As everyone pools in the foyer, the scanners at the building entrance doors know how many people will want to be going to which floors.  There could be efficiencies in having people destined for the same floor together in the one lift and go direct, rather than have multiple lifts stop at all floors.

Sure, there would be possible problems with contention and weighting needed for the people in the foyer, as well as for everyone else traveling around between floors or coming down to ground level.

I’m sure there are people out there who have put much more thought into this, but still I think its something that designers of these systems should perhaps consider.