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Using AutoSPInstaller in the further lifecycle of the created farm

Jul 11, 2012 at 7:45 AM

Hi Brian, Hi all.

Brian i would like to thank you for all the hard work you have done and keep doing for this project. I've installed some production farms so far (v.2.5) and im pretty happy with the process. I had to tweak some settings to comply with the local comany rules, but thats the beauty of powershell :-)

As i mentioned i've created some farms in the past and i'm ok in updating the binaries to the latest stable cu by hand. But the portals are moving forward and i need to add different components to the current installation:

  1. New service accounts
  2. New web applications
  3. New service applications
  4. ...

Your script is doing all the hard and important work at the initial install (AutoSPInstaller) but i would like to keep the environment a clean as possible and all the little details you do and we normally would do by hand is stuck in your scripts. If we make changes to the farm i would like to have the Config XML up-to-date for recovery scenarios. The main question is:

How to i update the current farm with more feature and i keep geting all the benefits from your scripted setup?

For example:

During the creation of a new web app we need to create a new service account. Your script is taking care of all the things around this user like creating a profile and the web app is getting a proper name on the right sql server alias and the office web apps are granted access to the databases. All the magic you are doing for us. I'm afraid, we will mess up the farm if we keep adding stuff by hand.

Do you see any recommended way to rerun your script in this scenario or run just a segment?

Ciao Marco



Jul 11, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Hi Marco,

for most parts the script checks for any component to be configured if it is already in place so for most stuff it is safe to rerun the script. So for example if you add new web applications or site collections to existing web applications this is fine. This will also work if you initially did not provision certain service applications but want to add them later. What won't work is changing configuration settings which are used to provision certain service applications for example the search topology or web applications. If it is only about ADDING new items you should be on the safe site when rerunning the script.

Ciao, Stefan

Jul 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Hi Stefan,

thanks for your response. I would like to be on the "safer" side, because if i decide to go this route this will run in production and accidently running the psconfig wizard in production may be without effect, but i could also break some config in some conditions. Maybe Brian is working or thinking about these scenarios. At the moment i will try to create/modify the needed configuration. If my time allows it, i will be happy to report back about this. But I’m curious but Brian and others what they do to keep the farm moving forward.

Ciao Marco

Jul 15, 2012 at 4:50 PM

That's correct, it's not called AutoSPConfig :)

Although it's possible to apply certain configuration changes by re-running the script with the appropriate modifications in the XML file, it really depends on the type and extent of changes desired. Even I am hesitant to re-run the script on a farm that's been operating in Production for a length of time - who knows what manual changes have been made in the meantime that would conflict with the subsequent script run?

Best bet is (since you know PowerShell) to extract & leverage the script's functions to accomplish what you want - e.g. add managed accounts, web apps, etc. so that the changes are still scripted & repeatable (and become part of your build). At the same time, update your master AutoSPInstallerInput.XML file with as much as your config changes as possible, in case you ever do need to rebuild the farm from scratch.


Jul 16, 2012 at 7:56 AM

Thank your Brian for your response. I've tried the script top update two farms (staging and development). The farm is about 6 month old and setup through version 2.5. It added the needed web application and did all the magic on the accounts it think.

I'm not sure how much work i should and can put on the custom powershell. I don't want to mess up with your script to bad. At the beginning we used a version of your script that didn't "allow real" multi server configs as of function available today (i really like those!). So we went and build our own mechanism and tried not to break your scripts (my colleague build a pre script that created the xml for the specific machine from an extra meta config xml). As soon as you implemented your version (pretty much in parallel work we had done) we had some trouble getting all thinks back into your script. I thought of using your functions, but I think there is no way to anticipate what great stuff you will come up in the next version and i will have to change my stuff.

For the moment I try to put all changes as you suggested into the autospinstaller config and build some custom scripts for the stuff that may break the farm or is not yet implemented. If I get my scripts right I will try to get back to you and maybe we can integrate some of my work if broad enough into the main branch.

Ciao Marco