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PowerPivot & Claims Based Authentication–Is there hope in SQL 2012?

PowerPivot & Claims Based Authentication–Is there hope in SQL 2012?

I promised an update on this in my previous article and it is time to share what I have learned.

The issue:

As many of us have painfully found, PowerPivot v1 on a Claims Based Authentication web application is not supported in SharePoint 2010.  I had a case open with Microsoft last year that had the aspirations of rectifying that situation.  We had hoped that working with the PowerPivot team (a part of the SQL Server Product team) and the SharePoint Product team that we would be able to find a way for Microsoft to change their stance and provide us a way to allow PowerPivot v1 to be supported. 

The answer for v1:

Sadly, the changes that would have to be made were too drastic for Microsoft to make in the middle of PowerPivot v1’s existing product lifecycle. 

The new and improved question:

That begs the question: Is there hope that PowerPivot v2 will be able to work on a Claims Based Authentication web application?

The caveated answer:

Keeping in mind that the product has not launched yet and things can still change (they won’t, but lets keep hoping) and that all of the SQL 2012 TechNet that are posted currently have the following statement at the top of them:

[This documentation is for preview only, and is subject to change in later releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]

The answer is still no.  In the TechNet article entitled “Hardware and Software Requirements (PowerPivot for SharePoint and Reporting Services in SharePoint Mode)” you will find the section under PowerPivot Sofware Requirements says in reference to SharePoint web applications:

PowerPivot for SharePoint only supports SharePoint web applications that are configured for classic-mode authentication. If you are adding PowerPivot for SharePoint to an existing farm, be sure that the web application you plan to use it with is configured for classic-mode authentication. For instructions on how to check authentication mode, see the section “Verify the Web application uses Classic mode authentication” in Deploy PowerPivot Solutions to SharePoint.“

Well damn.  Is there any hope that this is ever going to change?

Keep your chins up.  Rumor in the interwebs is that there is going to be a new version of SharePoint coming in sometime soon.  I can tell you that Microsoft has heard and continues to hear our cries out about this matter.  The more we raise this up as an issue, the more real it will be to Microsoft and the more likely they will be to invest in making the change.  If there is no perception that this is an issue, then there is no attention that will be paid and no investment dollars that will be spent.

If this is an issue for you, make sure that your Microsoft reps hear about it.  I talk about this with every Product Team member that I can get to listen to me for 5 minutes and I have never met with anything other than a warm reception and a sincere desire to know the feedback on how to make the product better.

Is this going to stop you from deploying PowerPivot v2 and Power View?

Not a snowman’s chance in the hot Jamaica sun.  I cannot wait for the final bits to drop so that I can get this amazing new product suite into the hands of every customer who wants to do BI.  The new BI story is too game changing not to get on the bus, and if I am riding it why not be driving smile

SharePoint 2010 & Site Directory revisited: bug fix request rejected by Microsoft

SharePoint 2010 & Site Directory revisited: bug fix request rejected by Microsoft

We received the official, and well thought out, answer back from Microsoft regarding the Site Directory bug that I reported on with my post “SharePoint 2010 and the Site Directory” back in December 2010.
Here is the official answer from Microsoft:

Issue Summary
Site collection creation fails with access denied error when the master site directory site collection is located on a web application which is using the new claims aware authentication method.

Cause for Rejection and Technical Explanation
The Microsoft Office team has reevaluated this bug and unfortunately our initial decision still holds.  We realize that this causes a lot of inconvenience but the code change required is extremely large and introducing a change can leave behind a huge and unexpected bug trail.

The site directory feature has been deprecated in SharePoint 2010.

Site Directory provided site collection admins a central location where they can pin bunch of URLs with categories. Users could then browse through categories, view and access all URLs/sites associated with the site collection. In SharePoint 2010, social tagging provided a much richer way to categorize URLs, and we provided tag cloud web part for navigation. To avoid having two similar solutions, site directory was deprecated.

Please know we carefully review all Hotfix request because each code change that we implement must maintain or improve the quality and stability of the product.  We strive for this to ensure the continuing integrity of the code base and to maintain a supportable product. While we recognize the impact that this issue is having on you, we cannot compromise the stability of the product’s code base using the Hotfix process.

Alternative solution

1. Ensure that the master site directory site collection is located on a web application which is using classic windows authentication.

2. Disable master site directory setting and explore the capabilities of the new social tagging feature to categorize sites. Learn more about this new feature at ”Social tagging overview (SharePoint Server 2010)”

SharePoint 2010 and the Site Directory

SharePoint 2010 and the Site Directory

My colleague and friend, Derek Martin of Slalom Consulting, just posted about a bug that we found with SharePoint 2010 and the Site Directory. 

The short story is when you enable the Site Directory and you are using SharePoint 2010 in Claims mode for your web apps (including the site that houses the site directory) Central Administration is in Classic mode (the default and recommended way) and actions that call a web service from CA that touch back to the Site Directory will fail with errors that do not give you any real clues as to what is going on.

The bug has been logged with Microsoft and we are awaiting the Product Team’s acceptance the they will fix this with a patch, service pack or QFE.  More when we hear it.

For the full details please check out Derek’s blog.