Configure Workflow Manager to create lists

My good friend Fabian tweeted about a problem he was having with SharePoint 2013 workflows.

It was an interesting problem that I have never seen anyone tackle before so the fact he was having a error wasn't surprising.  It did however peak my interest about the problem, so I asked him to send me his workflow. 

He exported his workflow as a template (solution file) and sent it over.  First issue I had was importing the workflow as a sandboxed or farm solution.  It would give me this crazy error:

svr-spwfe01 : Failed to load receiver assembly "Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" for feature "GetItemsFromSPOListInstances" (ID: eb5838ef-cda9-42b2-9ea8-624f060d554c).: System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.
File name: 'Microsoft.SharePoint.WorkflowServices, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c'
   at System.Reflection.RuntimeAssembly._nLoad(AssemblyName fileName, String codeBase, Evidence assemblySecurity, RuntimeAssembly locationHint, StackCrawlMark& 

So I abandoned that idea and looked to import the XAML file like I did in 2010.  I created a 2013 workflow but alas, no xaml files are to be found in the "All Files" view.  Where do they go?  Well, there is a hidden list called "wfsvc".  It has no views on it so simply unhiding it won't allow you to browse the files inside it.  Attempting to create a view is also futile.  So I turned to Windows PowerShell, navigated to the SPFile that represented the workflow xaml file and replaced it with Fabian's.  Refresh of SharePoint Designer and bingo…I had all his info.  Sweet.

The main issue of Fabian's was that when he made the Web Service call he would pass a pre-created FedAuth token (yeah I told him he would have to figure out how to generate this in the future) which established a context for him.  This context was as his SharePoint admin account, but the actual running account (the "actor") was the Workflow service.  Of course the SP Admin account can do whatever it wants, but the workflow service cannot.  This workflow service account is NOT the account that the actual workflow manager backend window service is running under.  It is the Application principal account that is created for the workflow service.  If you browse to the database, you can see there are two database tables:

  • AppPrincipalPerms
  • AppPrincipals

If you browse the AppPrincipals table, you will find one or more principles.  Consider these to simply be user just like any other user, yet they are applications and as such, do not have a password.  You can find the ID of the AppPrincipal for workflow by taking the second index of the NameID for the item with title "Workflow" (NOTE:  This id is different in EVERY farm, which is a bummer):

  •  i:0i.t|ms.sp.ext|78cf7810-a2c9-497e-bffe-8c25368c8bc0@fcd171b6-20f6-443e-8aea-474a4b529e6e

This is the identity that will run the workflow.  If you review the permission mask in the AppPrinicpalPerms table for this appprincipal, you will see that it is set to "3" by default.  The enumerations for the masks are:

  • None
  • Guest
  • Read
  • Write
  • Manage
  • FullControl

"3" means "Write".  Which allows the workflow service to write out list items, but not to create lists.  This would require level 4 or higher.  You can elevate the permission mask with the following Windows PowerShell:

$web = get-spweb
$appworkflow = Get-SPAppPrincipal -site -nameidentifier 78cf7810-a2c9-497e-bffe-8c25368c8bc0@fcd171b6-20f6-443e-8aea-474a4b529e6e
Set-SPAppPrincipalPermission -AppPrincipal $appworkflow -site $web -right fullcontrol -scope site

Your workflow service app principal can now create lists!

Fabian will be researching how to add these app permissions in O365, of which he did here:


Shredded Storage Whitepaper

This is the data and information from the codeplex project on the Shredded Storage testing framework.  This was to be released several months ago, but things just didn't work out the way we all planned.  So I'm posting it here:

Purpose of this whitepaper

Shredded Storage has up to this point been a very elusive
feature of SharePoint 2013.  There have
been several posts in the community that have attempted to tackle this
incredibly advanced topic, and although some have been spot on in most regards,
they were far from complete when describing the intricate dance that occurs
throughout the many layers of SharePoint and Office.  Each of the authors had different goals and
motivations for creating this whitepaper. 
These ranged from simply the curiosity standpoint to the much more
directed and measurable product vendor implications on features like RBS and
Deduplication. The result of our ambitions is this highly technical white paper
and supporting code that uncovers how shredded storage works in various
scenarios and how it can be improved in the future.  We have also provided you with a guide on how
you can achieve the same conclusions as we have here.

Introduction to Shredded Storage

Shredded Storage is a new data platform improvement in
SharePoint 2013 related to the management of large binary objects.  Shredded Storage is designed to accomplish
three tasks; reduce storage, optimize bandwidth and optimize file I/O.  The idea behind Shredded Storage is if
subsequent writes back to the database are the same, then there is no need to save
those parts again and thus you save on storage, network and disk I/O.  This particular feature was originally
designed to manage heavy write scenarios such as co-authoring. 

All of these are accomplished by simply breaking apart the
blobs into smaller pieces.  It really is
as simple as that, but the details are much more complex. Think about if you
were to manually take a piece of paper and rip it into a bunch of pieces.  If the piece of paper has an image on it,
then it would make sense that you should be able to easily piece it back
together.  The difference here, is your
brain is a pretty amazing machine and can recognize the pieces.  Let’s take a blank piece of paper.  How easy do you think it would be to put it
back together if you randomly rip it apart? 
Actually, it would be quite easy as the pieces will fit nicely.  Now say you put the blank piece of paper into
a shredder that shreds them all into the same size.  How easy do you think it will be to put it
back together?  Not very easy.  You would need something to guide you in
putting it back together.  Maybe some
ultraviolet markers?  That’s where the
implementation of shredded storage comes into play.

Shredded Storage is much more than simply a set of stored
procedures in a SQL Server database.  It
is actually a tiered solution made up of three layers.  The SharePoint layer (which includes the
basic object model and other services like CelllStorage.svc and OneNote.svc
that support Office Clients and Office Web Apps), the Cobalt layer, and the
database backend.  The combination of
these three parts are what define Shredded Storage.  However, as you will learn, the Windows
Operating System has a MAJOR role to play in everything.

This white paper will dive very deeply into all three layers
and how they work with each other. 

SharePoint Layer (Object Model)

When it comes to download and upload of files, SharePoint
will utilize the SharePoint Object Model to make calls to the SPFile methods
(SaveBinary and OpenBinary).  This method
in turn calls the SPRequest class methods. 
Inside this method is where the magic happens.  This method, which is not managed code, but
in the COM portion of the SharePoint application will make a call to generate
an SPFileStreamStore based on the SPFile information.  This SPFileStreamStore is managed by the
SPFIleStreamManager class.  The
SPFileStreamManager is the key class to managing the Cobalt layer on the
SharePoint side.  You will also see some
other Microsoft.SharePoint.Cobalt* classes that help with the interaction.

Writing Files

When it comes to writing a file to the SharePoint database,
the SPFileStreamManager will execute its ComputeStreamsToWrite method.  This method is in charge of creating a
SPFIleStreamStore object which is then used in creating a
CobaltStreamRevokableContainer object. 
This object will then contain a CobaltFilePartition which in turns
contains a schema. , getting back a Schema from the SPHostBlobStore .

Reading Files

When it comes to reading a file from the database, again the
SPFileStreamStore is the main class that contains these methods.  The most important methods are the
GetBlobsById and GetBlobsAfterBsn methods. 
These two methods are where blobs are retrieved from the database.  A set of stream ids are passed to the
proc_GetStreamsById stored procedure and the first chunk of data is returned.  A data reader is opened and each blob is
converted to a SPCoordinatedStreamBuffer. 
So where does the FileReadChunkSize come into play?  It is actually used as an input parameter to
the GetStreamsById stored procedure to tell SQL Server to try to break up the
file content into smaller parts (but it will only be called once and only get
for each requested shred no more than the FileReadChunkSize.  After the first return of the data, if there
is more to be returned, subsequent calls are made using the GetStream stored
procedure and passing in the offset for the content, but yet again, only
returning up to the FileReadChunkSize. 
These parts are then aggregated by the SPCoordinatedStreamBuffer and
once all parts of the shreds have been retrieved they are put back together
into the actual shreds for consumption by the Cobalt layer.

These fully pieced together shreds are made into a Cobalt
HostBlobStore.Blob and a list of these are returned from the method.   The data of the shred is converted to a
Cobalt Atom.

The net result is the value of the FileReadChunkSize does
have an effect on the number and size of the result sets that are returned back
to the web front end.  If this setting is
several multiples smaller than the FileWriteChunkSize, you will see an almost
similar multiple in the time it takes to download the file.

SharePoint Layer (CellStorage.svc)

A separate but related feature to Shredded Storage is the
ability for Office Clients to do delta updates when working with Office XML
based documents that reside in SharePoint. 
As part of the process, Office clients will attempt to make a call to
the CellStorage WCF service.   If the
service is available the WFE will only send the requested pieces of a file to
the client.  On a save operation, only
delta changes to a file are sent back to the WFE.  Note that when this service is not available
or an error occurs, the Office client will fall back to the normal HTTP PUT
mechanisms as if it were a regular file share and the entire file will be sent
on each save. When this delta update and Shredded Storage is being utilized,
you see both an optimization from the client to the WFE and the WFE to SQL

Delta updates only support Office XML documents. The reason
they are only Office XML is that deep inside CellStorage.svc it makes a call to
create a pointer to an XmlReader object. 
Obviously, the older files are not based on this file format and an
attempt to read them is futile, therefore, you won't have any calls to
cellstorage.svc, but simply the regular HTTP PUT calls.  The CellStorage protocol (which is part of
the Cobalt assemblies) supports various different command types:




Cell (get and set)




There is a standard process to this:

First step is to send a request for the Document

Second step is to actually get the parts of the
document that are being viewededited at that moment (cell get)

Third step is to request to start editing the
document (requesting a schema lock)

Fourth step is send back any changes that a
person makes (cell set)

Last step is to tell the server you are done
(release the schema lock)

During this entire process, the client will ping the
sharedaccess.asmx web service to ensure that it is the only one editing the
document.  This is done about every 20
seconds.  As part of the request, it is
looking for the ETag to change.  If it
has changed, that means someone updated the document and the version you have
is now old and you will need to refresh your copy, or overwrite what they
did.  This scenario should never happen,
but it looks like they attempt to check that it somehow does.

CellStorage.svc requests and responses are using the older
XML format as part of the messages.  This
is a costly approach because XML is a bloated format as compared to the newer
JSON format which is used in Office Web Apps communications.  We hope one day this protocol will change to
support the newer format and increase the performance even further.

SharePoint 2013’s has several WCF Services aside from the
CellStorage service.  Many of these
service reside in the ISAPI directory of the SharePoint Root (C:Program
FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedWeb Server Extensions15ISAPI).  If you open the web.config file of the ISAPI
directory, you will find that all the WCF service bindings are configured with
a maxBufferSize of “4194304”.  

This will limit the size of the files from which the Office
Clients will be able to download the file shreds.  As you will see later, the performance of the
IO decreases dramatically when you set a FileWriteChunkSize higher than “4MB”.

Office Web Apps 2013 – (Onenote.ashx)

Office Web Apps has an entirely different set of multi-user
editing features.  These features are
using the end point OneNote.ashx.  This
API works hand and hand with Cobalt to “lock” sections of a document when
multiple users are using it.  This multi-user
and locking operation will generate “partitions” in the shredded storage
database store.  Partitions are sets of
shreds in the content database that correspond to what each user is changing in
a file for their editing session. 

When using regular Object Model calls, these shreds are
normally broken apart by the boundaries defined by the Cobalt schema of the
file being edited.  When using multi user
editing, an even granular break down of the shreds is performed (down to the
separate xml files in the Office XML document) and mapped to the internal xml
components being edited.  When the
editing sessions are closed, the partitions are collapsed back to their single
partition.  Having an editing session
“end”, is a very important part to the process. 
If a user doesn’t close their session, the partitions will be left in
the database until the service cleans them up. 
In our code testing, we found it possible to lock yourself out of
editing, when you had another session open. 
From a coding standpoint, this is the correct way to do this.  The default timeout for an Office Web Apps
session is 5 minutes.[A8] 

The process of starting an editing session works like this:

User clicks on an Office XML document from a

A sharepoint page called WOPIiframe.aspx is
called.  This page sets up the necessary
access tokens that OWA will use for communicating to SharePoint

At this point the IFrame will redirect you to
the OWA server and initialize the session via the WordViewerFrame.aspx page and
the docdatahandler.ashx http handler

A JSON object that fully describes the document
will be sent to the browser.  This JSON
notation is a very complex set of JSON objects that map to the XML elements
inside the Office XML document

A user starts an editing session with OWA, which
initiates the first call to OneNote.ashx. 
From this point on, all operations are done through OneNote.ashx.

Every few seconds the browser will ping
OneNote.ashx to request any changes. 
This JSON format and protocol could be the discussion of a whitepaper on
its own

As the above conversation between the client browser and
Office Web Apps is performed, the Office Web Apps server is talking to
CellStorage.svc through the WordCompanionServer class. This class will
reference the HostEnvironment class for information on where the file is
located and what request adapters are implemented to proxy the calls between
OWA and the target.  The two most
important adapters are the ICellStorageAdapter and the ICoauthAdapter.  The ICellStorageAdapter is an interface that
is implemented by the CellStorage.svc WCF service mentioned above.   

Now that you have some background of the process and
interaction of these components, it’s time to look at the Cobalt layer which is
where a majority of the code for our CellStorage.svc resides.


The shredding part of the process is implemented by a much
improved Cobalt API (Microsoft.Cobalt). 
Cobalt is the layer responsible for implementing a break-up schema that
dissects the files into smaller parts, commonly called shreds in
SharePoint.  Cobalt is designed to be
utilized with any type of file, not just Office file types.  The Cobalt assembly also contains the code
that handles all the FSHTTP requests discussed earlier.  Cobalt operations include:

·         TBD

Cobalt supports several different schemas that define how a
file is broken apart.  Cobalt will accept
a file, determine what type of file it is (similar with how search determine a
files format) and will then apply an algorithm based on this file type.  This means that the type of file
matters.  You simply cannot upload an
Office XML file and expect to get the same results as compared to a simple
image file of the same size.  Not only
does the algorithm change based on file type, it also changes based on the size
of the file.  Table 1 shows the paths
that are taken and the algorithm that is applies when that path is picked.





Each algorithm will break apart the blobs in a different
way.  Therefore the same sized file that
is a Word Office XML document will break apart differently than an older Word
document that is simply binary.  You may
also find that images (blobs within blobs in the case of Office XML Documents)
will be treated differently and may get their own shred.

As the Cobalt breaks apart the blob, there is the possibly
of two extra shreds added to the set of shreds that store configuration
information about the other shreds. 
These configuration shreds help the web front end determine if the
shreds have changed and new shreds need to be committed to the database.



SPFarm Configuration

In SharePoint 2013, the out of box default for the maximum
size of these parts is no larger than 64K, however this can be configured to be
larger.  This FileWriteChuckSize setting
is a major focus of this whitepaper.

It is again important to note that the size of the shreds
will not equal the file size divided by the write chunk size.  It is simply a watermark that is used as a
guide for the Cobalt algorithm involved.

These configuration shreds are used by the WFE to determine
what shreds need to be saved back to the content database.  This keeps the WFE from having to download
the entire set of shreds to do a comparison. 
These configuration shreds will add a small amount to each blob added to
the database.  Note however, there are
some circumstances where there is only one shred created that includes both
configuration and data

This break-up of the blob into shreds doesn’t achieve any
storage optimization until you turn on SharePoint versioning on a document
library.  When versioning has been
enabled, each time a user saves a file, the SharePoint WFE will break apart the
blob into segments using the same method that it used before.  Then each of these shreds will be compared
with the shreds already in the database. 
If they did not change, then there is no need to send the shred to the
database for persistence.  This database
level de-duping operation has been proven to achieve 30-40% storage savings.  This is where you gain in network
optimization between the WFE and the SQL Server.  You also gain optimization from the
standpoint of file IO.  Now you are only
sending and saving a small part of the file rather than the entire file.  This is also important in the fact that if
you had done a similar operation in SharePoint 2010, but only updated the
metadata for a file, you would end up with another version of the file in the
database.  With Shredded Storage, this is
not the case and your storage is optimized greatly.  Lastly, when you have implemented a log
shipping disaster recovery strategy, you will notice smaller writes produce
smaller transaction log sizes and drive a more efficient log shipping experience.

Content Database – Overview

Once Cobalt and SharePoint have determined the Cobalt
HostBlobStore.Blob(s) that need to be saved, each one is passed to the content
database via the .

Shredded Storage optimization is document focused.  This requires a quick description of how
SharePoint saves files.  When you upload
a document to a document library or add an item with an attachment, it creates
a new list item with a unique id assigned to it. It will also get a unique
document id created for the file attached to the item when not a document library.  The two of these are tied to each other and
both are unique guids.  When you upload
the same file to a second list, a new list item and document id will be created
that have no relation to the first set. When it comes to Shredded Storage, it
is this document id that is the important part. 
So in summary, if you upload the same document in two different document
libraries, you will gain no Shredded Storage benefits. 

Content Database – Tables

There are four tables in the database that manage the shredded
storage blobs.  This includes:





In SharePoint 2010 dbo.AllDocStreams stored the document
stream and related data for documents with content streams, in SharePoint
Server 2013 dbo.DocStreams replaces dbo.AllDocStreams where each row stores a
portion of the BLOB.

The improved protocols associated with Shredded Storage
identify the rows (in the new DocStreams table) necessary to be updated to
support the change and updates the BLOB associated with that change in the
corresponding row. Several new columns are present in the DocStreams table that
represent a shredded BLOB including:

BSN: The BSN of the stream binary piece.

Data: Contains a subset of the binary data of
the stream binary piece unless the stream binary piece is stored in Remote BLOB

Offset: The offset into the stream binary piece
where this subset data belongs.

Length: The size, in bytes, of this subset data
of the stream binary piece.

RbsId: If this stream binary piece is stored in
remote BLOB storage, this value MUST contain the remote BLOB storage identifier
of a subset of the binary data of the stream binary piece. Otherwise it MUST be

A new DocToStreams table contains a pointer to a
corresponding row in dbo.DocStreams.  The
BLOB Sequence Number (BSN) is used to manage the BLOB sequence across
dbo.AllDocVersions, dbo.DocsToStreams, and dbo.DocStreams.  NextBSN is used to manage the last BSN for
each BLOB.

dbo.AllDocs contains a single row per file similar to
SharePoint Server 2010.

dbo.AllDocVersions contains one or more rows per file and
one row per file version.

Content Database – Stored Procedures

The main stored procedures in the process include:

·         TBD

Read and Write Scenarios

Client to WFE (Read)


WFE to Database (Read)

The following table outlines some of the generic results
from our testing when utilizing the FileReadChunkSize as compared to the size
of the file (and not compared to the size of the FileWriteChunkSize):

FileReadChunksize (% of file size)

Performance Hit


Typical Normal read operation

6% < x > 12.5%

10% hit on read operation

3% < x > 6%

20% hit on read operation

x < 3%

50% hit on read operation

These values would point to the fact that the default
setting anticipates your average file size will be under 512KB.  It should be noted that when you install
SharePoint 2013, all files that accompany the software are under this limit.

Client to WFE (Write[A9] )

These calls can be measured using Fiddler tracing.  You can simulate an Office 2010 client by
disabling Shredded Storage and attempting to download a file from SharePoint.

WFE to Database (Write)


Remote Blob Storage

Two quick facts; Shredded Storage does not require RBS and
RBS does not require Shredded Storage. However, you should also be aware that
when Shredded Storage is used with RBS, there are side effects to having both
Shredded Storage and RBS enabled.  RBS’s
real value is realized only when you are working with larger files. When
combined with Shredded Storage’s default max file size of 64K, the actual
implementation of RBS can have a negative impact on the performance of
retrieving a complete blob from the storage subsystem.  However, some RBS implementations presents
capabilities that Shredded Storage does not.  One such feature is the ability to actually do
the de-duplication of the shreds. 
De-duplication will monitor for when the same blob is being saved and
then creates a pointer to a single instance of the blob.  This solves the problem of uploading the same
document to multiple libraries and having it use just as much space in the disk
subsystem.  As previously mentioned, this
is something that Shredded Storage does not do in this current implementation
and depending on your RBS provider, can do.



In testing of this feature when enabled with shredded
storage, it has been found that the de-dupping feature actually causes a
performance hit when writing files with target size of 64K and loses a majority
of its efficiency when the shredded storage watermark is maxed.  Proper testing should be done to ensure that
any changes you make to the Shredded Storage setting or features you have
implemented on your disk subsystem are compatible with your performance requirements.


Simple Shredded Storage Facts

Shredded Storage can provide other network optimizations
other than WFE to SQL when configured with the proper set of tools.  Thus far, you have been presented with the
utilization of Cobalt on the WFE to SQL Server side of the wire.  Originally, Cobalt was designed with
multi-user editing in mind.  This goes
hand and hand with SharePoint perfectly as it is a collaboration platform.  This makes sense as a common pattern is allowing
users to be able to collaborate on documents at the same time, whether that
collaboration feature is in a viewing or editing capacity.

Disabling Shredded Storage

There are properties that allow you to attempt to turn off
shredded storage.  This attempt can be
accomplished by setting the FileWriteChuckSize so that the shreds are incredibly
large, up to 2GB, and force the likeliness that only one shred will be created.
Be warned that changing the shredded storage setting over 4MB will incur a
large I/O hit for larger files. It is not recommended that you set this value
above 4MB.

It should be noted that you CAN disable shredded
storage.  This can be accomplished NOT by
changing the FileWriteChunkSize, but the *FILTERED OUT*

This operation is not something you should proceed with
unless you are doing it in a test farm. 
If you have installed SharePoint 2013 and let users upload information
and files, then subsequently disable Shredded Storage, NONE of the files will be modifiable again unless you delete the file
and then add it back OR re-enable shredded storage. 

Shredded Storage Testing Framework

As part of this whitepaper we have published a complete
Shredded Storage testing framework (including the source code) that will allow
you to build your own tests and to validate our tests to confirm our
results.  The following section is
designed to walk you through how to use the tool and analyze the results.

Installing the Tool

Follow these steps for installing the tool:

Download the tool from Http://

Run the db script or restore the test database
to SQL Server

Install SQL Server 2008 R2 or later with SQL
Profiler tools

Install the Office SDK 2.0 or higher

Install Fiddler

Copy the SPProfiler.exe, SPProfiler.exe.config
and MonitorSharePoint.tdf to the C: empsystem32 directory

How the tool works

First and foremost. 
The tool IS NOT MULTITHREADED.  Please take this into consideration when
modifying the code as it is not possible to modify it to support multi-threaded
calls with the various logging components used.

Fiddler integration
– You can wrap any call in the StartProxy Method to record any http requests
and responses to see what kind of traffic is being generated.  These tests can help to analyze what the
different is between older non-cobalt calls and cobalt calls.

SQL Profiler
– You can start the SQL Profiler tool at any time by calling

Time Monitoring – You
can record the time it takes for any method calls by calling StartTimer().

TestResult class – All
results should be saved to a TestResult object. 
Once the object is populated, you can simply save it to the database
with the SaveTestResult() method.

Generating content
– There are several methods that support the dynamic generation of Word and
PowerPoint files.  You can use these
methods to create a directory of a specific size, then make the call to
UploadDirectory (described below) to test the upload of the files

Reading Results

The following SQL queries provided with the tool are
provided to help you analyze your data:

·         TBD

Performance Tests

The most basic
tests would revolve around uploading and download files.  This can be easily tested by creating sets of
files of varying sizes and uploading and downloading them several times.  This is but one piece of the testing that is
needed for shredded storage. 

The following table
outlines some of the methods you can call to run various tests in your
environment.  You can build your own
calls using PowerShell or modifying the tools code



Storage On?

does it test?

should you see?



test uploads a file starting at a target file size and then halves the
FileWriteChunkSize as many times as you tell it.

shred sizes will increase as the FileWriteChunkSize decreases.



tests downloads a file starting at a target FileReadChunkSize and will half
the value as many times as you tell it

number of read stored procedures will increase and the time it takes for the
file to download will take longer.



test will generate a word document with images and then upload them.

will see that the entire file is shredded and the image is not separated out
into its own shred



test will use the office client to open a file stored in SharePoint.

should see that the file size is almost exactly the same size as the file
itself in the HTTP calls.



test method will upload a local directory to the sharepoint server.

can use this to test a batch of file uploads for comparison between SP2010 vs
SP2013.  Also a good way to test
various size files with FileWriteChunkSize settings



method tests the HTTP calls between client and OWA server, you also see the
SQL IO on the backend.

method is not fully implemented as the OneNote.ashx protocol is VERY
difficult to reverse engineer.



test demonstrated that it is very bad to disable shredded storage using the

will see that any subsequent uploads of files will break after disabling
shredded storage.



will analyze all the files in your Farm and give you stats on the files
contained in all your content databases.

will need these stats to pick the proper setting for your FileReadChunkSize.



test is for analyzing the effect WCF 4MB limit has on the Cobalt layer in

will see that the SQL IO has a HUGE hit when the FileWriteSChunkSize is set
above 4MB.  However, for smaller files
the actual amount of time it take for the client to render is not affected.



test will set the FileWriteChunkSize to its maxiumum setting of 2GB and then
compares how the system runs between the default setting of 64KB.

should see that all the files are single sets of shreds versus multiple shreds
with the lower value.

– modify the WCF Settings and run large file test




– DeDub enable, monitor file size




– Enabled RBS, monitor upload speeds




– Enable RBS, monitor download speeds






test wills start recording any of the actions you perform and then save to
the database when you are finished

will assist with any custom testing you want to do without writing any code.



test will look at when you simply change a property like “Title” and don’t
change the file bytes.

should see the entire file gets written back when a single shred exists. This
is UNEXPECTED behavior.



test will generate a word file, upload the file, then modify it by adding
text to the end and upload it again.

This is the best case scenario for
shredded storage.  You should see that
the count and total size of the shreds don’t change drastically as in the
worst case scenario test.



test will generate a file, upload the file, then generate a completely new
file and upload it with the same name.

is a worst case scenario test.  You
should see the total number of shreds increase in the database with each
version uploaded.  You will also see
the overhead that shredded storage adds to the base file.  By the time you get to version 10, you
should have 10x the number of shreds and size.


Comparison to SharePoint 2010


Death of an MCM

As many of you are well aware, Microsoft Learning (which has nothing to do with the product team or the larger corp Microsoft components so when you tweet about this, tweet @MSLearning instead of @microsoft) has decided to end the Masters programs (MCM, MCA, etc).  Several posts to explain what's going on:


As a top selling author for the Microsoft Learning (MSL) course ware library and a long time MCT, I have always been privy to several details about the underpinnings of MSL.  I remember the day that they approached me about the MCM program (well before it was made public).  They asked me if a "Masters" program would interest me.  I told them no, as I had already built many many days of training for every nook and cranny of SharePoint and I didn't see any value to paying a bunch of money to learn stuff I already knew.  I also had several large project under my belt and my name was already well know, so again, for myself, there was no value add.  However, that being said, there were many people in the world that wanted to be known for their experience and get some kind of recognition for the knowledge and depth they had in SharePoint, yet they were never ones to use twitter, facebook or any other means (like speaking at conferences) to let the world know.  These were also individuals that work on top secret military projects that can't even talk about the work they do even if they wanted too.  These people were also those that would never contribute on the forums or in any other community standpoint, so MVP was also not an option for them.  And hence, the market for the MCM *was* and *is* there.

The program started to much fan fare. MSL put a lot of time and money into the program to make sure the content was top of the line (although it did have mistakes in it every now and then).  That time and money is really what I want to blog about.  For those of you with your MBA, running a business is relatively tough for most.  The final equation is P = R-C  (Profit = Revenue – Costs).  When you look at the cost of building a regular Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) course, the cost is well into the $1M range.  Why?  Because you have to pay for the content (powerpoints, student and instructor manual, labs,  VM images)  to be created by someone.  Not only that, but you have to pay for someone to tech edit it, check the grammar, translate it to the top 5 languages, then transform it into the final output(s), manage the program deployment to partners and support it.  This is for a 5-day course that typically is pretty average in terms of content and as most MCTs will tell you, not very exciting (although I have tried hard over the past few years to get the quality up on the MOC side…just ask Dan Holme and Chris Beckett).  So what does a typical average MOC course bring in?  Well, considering it is run all over the world in 1000s of centers every week at $40+daystudent. I think you can do the math.  Over the lifetime of a MOC course, it will bring in several millions.

So being that a simple 5-day MOC course cost $1M to create and brings in several multiples above that in revenue.  How much do you think a Masters course takes to create and what revenue it generates?  I don't know the exact costs, but I'm sure it is several multiples above a basic MOC course.  Why does it cost so much and can you even measure the costs?  Let's try:

  • Content creation – most of the content must be pulled from product team members.  This is stuff that doesn't have MSDN documentation for and takes the time and resources of internal staff to pull together.  Alot of it is built before MSDN documentation is even available.  Let's say this is 1 person module with a month to build a module.  Billing at $200/hr, 160 hrs is $480K, but then think of the time and effort of the product team to support the content generation, immeasurable in terms of productivity loss and $$$.
  • Instructors – yeah, someone has to pay for Spence, et all to fly over the pond all the time to teach those classes.  As you can imagine, flying in experts to teach the classes costs flight, hotel, their regular rate (remember, these are experts and their billable rate is well over $200/hr).  Let's say each person is $3000 flight, $1500 hotel, $10000 for the week ($14,500). like at least 5 instructors each rotation.
  • Program management – the hidden costs of actually managing the program.  The MSL staff that registers you, keeps track of your progress, assigns you the cert, etc, etc.  2 people to manage?  Each getting paid $100k/yr?  Then the legal aspects of the program, what does that cost?
  • Lab creation and management – the labs have to be built, hosted, managed…that also costs money
  • Translation – zero…they aren't translated

 Let's look at the cost (only the money you pay to MSL) for you to take the course(s):

  • $16,000 ($8000 for MCTs) 

Hmm, how many people take the program each rotation…up to 20.  Rotationsyear…3-4?  How many multiples lower in revenue is that as compared to a MOC course? Do the enrollments even pay for the program???  I'm thinking maybe break even after the first 2-3 rotations.  So then, what would the cost need to be to pay for the program or make it as profitable as the MOC courses?  I'm guessing at least twice as much.  So if they up the cost to $32K to keep the program alive…are you going to take it?  What else could you do with $32K?  Uhh, maybe get your MBA so you can analyze a program that is losing money or its profit to effort ratio is lower than everything else you do?  Yeah, I'm thinking you'll go for the MBA or that CS mastersphd degree over taking a program that you could easily do without and just work hard and study without being spoon fed it. 

So ok, you increase the price.  Now what?  Scale.  There are very few people that can teach the curriculum and answer the tough questions that are asked in the presentations.   I know my blog posts have come up several times in MCM rotations about lots of topics and the answers require tact and research and a strong connection to the product team (props to the people that teach it right now, every one that teaches it are people that I respect their opinion).  So to scale means we need to ensure that people can teach the module and answer these questions.  One answer, let's regurgitate the MCMs and get them to teach…ok…but the main reasons they took it was to do projects and make lots of money (or their employer sent them to get the cert so the employer would make lots of money).  MCM teaching doesn't pay that well, it is just an instructor gig and not as cool as doing real world top-secret projects. And teaching, is oh so very different than consulting.  There are certifications for teaching as it is tough to do, and then throw in people that are taking a program that want to be know it alls…yeah…that is hard.  So, little to no scale.  Hmm…as a business owner and executive, I'm saying "cut it". 

Now multiple all that effort times all the programs they have an MCM for…yikes!  That is a massive set of programs, I can, and other people that own their own businesses, can see how a not so profitable adventure can be reallocated based on budget and resources to more profitable ones.

Now…that all being said.   The best conversations I have ever had have been with MCMs (Miguel, Chris, Shannon, etc).  I'm highly technical.  My pet peeve is people that think they know what they are talking about and have no clue.  I can point out several, but let's skip that.  You have no idea how awesome it is to be able to sit down with someone, explain to them what you just went through and them able to understand every aspect and appreciate it and save it for later.  And similar, for them to be able to tell me stories about this and that, that are just highly technical and worth my time.  I will miss that part of having the technical filter of MCM certification to keep me from having a convo with someone that won't even know what I'm talking about.  And no, MVP is an award not a certification, it is not a validation of your technical prowlness to be able to solve any problem in SharePoint or be able to stand in front of a customer and defend your architecture.  The MCM is a validation that you have been beaten up, scratch, kicked, thrown in the lions pit, and emerged a king (or queen) ready for battle in the field against anything thrown at you. 

In summary, although the lower levels in MSL love and are committed to the program, when you get to the higher levels like director, VP, Sr. VP.  It is always about money and budget.  If you don't get the spin of my blog's title, then you probably haven't read Death of a Salesman, here are some of the better quotes about the illusion of the MCM program in terms of business and success:

So, rest in peace MCM, you were loved by many, hated by few. May you be resurrected again in another life.

With sadness,