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April 18,2014 by Sitefinity Blank Login Screen

On one of my current projects, we’re leveraging the Sitefinity CMS for our front end. Initially the setup went really smoothly and I was off to the races. There is a ton to learn and a lot of the functionality is fairly intuitive. I was super excited about it until I tried to deploy some code updates to our Development/Integration Server.

We had already created a site on the development server directly and I didn’t need any of the content that I had created locally, so I figured it would be as easy as moving my code out to the DEV server. When I did this and went to fire up the site, I got a blank Login screen:


We went back and reviewed the windows roles/features that need to be turned on and everything seemed to look fine. I recopied the code over and over with no success.

Finally we did a folder compare between the initially deployed site on the DEV server and the code that I had moved. The only thing noticeable was that the GUID’s in some of the configuration files where different. That’s when I had a “Eureka” moment. I bet the Database that I had stored locally had to be moved as well because the GUID’s in the config files would have to match some data in the database.

I did a backup/restore from my local PC to the dev server and it worked!

Lesson learned: The website and assocaited databases can’t be swapped out ad hoc. There needs to be planning and strategy involved.

Hopefully this saves someone some time.


- Nick Althoff, Solution Architect
You can read more posts by Nick at The Althoff Chronicles.

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January 22,2014 by Webcast: Optimize 2014 Cloud and Virtualization Strategy

Thinking about adopting the cloud or improving your cloud strategy this year?

If you’re planning to implement or update a cloud or virtualization strategy this year, you need to know about the latest trends and tools in the industry. Join our experts for an informative webinar where they’ll discuss the state of cloud and virtualization technology and adoption as well as tips for getting the most out of your cloud platforms this year – and beyond.

Date: Wednesday, January 22
Time: 10:00 AM CST
Location: Online Webcast
Register Now

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January 17,2014 by Strategizing Today for the Legal Tech of Tomorrow

The below is an excerpt of an article previously published in Legal Management - The Magazine of the Association of Legal Administrators. You can read the article in its entirety here.

We often hear the following: Law firms have traditionally been technology adopting laggards. They
cannot afford to be behind the technology eight ball anymore. And without a solid technology
strategy and vision, and the ability to implement the strategic plan, law firms will fold.

Ready for more bad news? Law firm clients demand superior legal services at a lower cost. They are less loyal, less willing to keep you on just because, and more savvy when it comes to technologies
and systems that will make their lives (not yours) easier. How can firms leverage their often massive technology investment as an integral component of a game-winning, long-term strategy?

As law firm service offerings and delivery models evolve, law firm IT and technology solutions are
also undergoing great transformation. The speed of technology change is dictated by the business
value realized with significant behavioral and technology trends in the marketplace.

Project Leadership Associates, a reputable provider of high-value business and technology consulting services to the legal market, and its Law Firm IT Value Evolution Model (see graphic below) illustrate the steady increase of IT value over time. Dan Safran, Project Leadership Associates’ Executive Vice President and long-time technology advisor to law firms and corporate legal departments, sees the IT value opportunity: According to Safran, “Cloud solutions, mobility and collaboration (based on the consumerization of technology) and applications that allow IT to operate as a service to the firm, represent the newer mission-critical technologies supporting the evolving law firm. Looking closer to the horizon, increased consolidation and competition will spur greater need for closer client collaboration, and even better, true integration with law firm clients. Nothing is better for attracting and building long-term client relationships than working hand-in-hand, day-to-day alongside clients, whether that integration and interaction are physical or virtual.”

(Click to Enlarge)

- Dan Safran, Executive Vice President, Management Consulting

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December 12,2013 by 8th Annual Technology Expo

New Horizons, PLA, along with a variety of technical partners, is once again celebrating the quickly changing landscape of Information Technology. Techknowledgey 2013 will introduce you to the tools, products, and strategies that Modern IT departments use today and will introduce over the months ahead. Multiple sessions discussing collaboration tools, cloud technologies, system integration, and the latest operating systems, will get you the information you need today to make proper business decisions tomorrow.

Date: Thursday, December 12
Time: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Location, New Horizons, 14115 Farmington Rd., Livonia, MI
Register Now

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October 02,2013 by Configuration Manager 2012 Migration – Missing Shared Distribution Points

Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager includes built-in migration tools, and one of the key features of the migration tools is the ability to use Shared Distribution Points.  This allows for a smoother transition between environments by allowing the new ConfigMgr 2012 site to use existing Distribution Points in the old site (ConfigMgr 2012 or SCCM 2007) as content locations while clients in the old site continue to function normally.  Moreover, once the clients that use an SCCM 2007 DP are upgraded, the DP can be upgraded to a full ConfigMgr 2012 DP and all of the content in the CM07 distribution share is copied into the CM12 content libary, alleviating the need to redistributed massive amounts of content across the network.  All that is required to enable this great feature is a simple check box when the Source Hierarchy is identified:

With that as a major component of most migration strategies, configuring a Source Hierarchy for migration only to discover that none of the Distribution Points show up can be a show stopper.  Consider this example where an SCCM 2007 site was configured:

There is only one server that appears after the data gather, and it’s the Primary Site Server (the Primary has the Distribution Point role assigned, but note that it is not eligible to be upgraded).  When we look in the CM07 console though, we see there is another server in the site: a Distribution Point that we would really like to leverage between both environments.

So why aren’t we seeing our Distribution Point as an option for a Shared DP?

Buried in the TechNet migration prerequisites documentation is a single line in the “Shared distribution points” section that makes all the difference:

For each source site, only the distribution points that are installed on site system servers that are configured with a FQDN are shared.

So let’s add the FQDN of the server to the properties…

…and tell ConfigMgr 2012 to Gather Data Now.

Now when we refresh, we see that our DP shows up under Shared Distribution Points and is available for upgrading:

While it is generally not common practice to omit the FQDN from site server roles in SCCM 2007, there are some environments where this is done for various reasons so it’s important to plan for adding this configuration setting prior to migration activities if Shared Distribution Points are a major part of the migration strategy.

- Phil Schwan, Technical Specialist.
You can read more posts by Phil at My IT Forum.

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