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Quiesce Farm

  Asked By: Deepak    Date: Jul 29    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 6182

What exactly does this do? I read that it gently takes down the
necessary services and closes open DB and .NET sessions in order for
maintenance to be done on the server(s). Well, I am running some
Windows Updates (Microsoft's Patch Tuesday) on my Dev server and I
wanted to utilize this feature and while the screen in CA says that my
farm is quiesced, I can still connect to the various sites on this
Farm. I also had a colleague try and she was also able to.

Just a little confused on this and would appreciate any feedback or
input.

Ok, back to applying .NET 3 Service Pack 1.....

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5 Answers Found

 
Answer #1    Answered By: Shashwat Takle     Answered On: Jul 29

Some good farm  Quiescing informational content from sharepointblogs.com:

Quiescing - Can You Use It In a Sentence?

There is a feature  in MOSS that enables you to gradually shut down the
farm for maintenance. This feature is called "Quiescing." I have to
admit, this isn't a word I use everyday, so I looked it up on
Dictionary.com <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/quiesce> and
found the following:

"become quiet or quieter"

"To render quiescent, i.e. temporarily inactive or disabled. For example
to quiesce a device (such as a digital modem). It is also a system
command in MAX TNT software which is used to temporarily disable a modem
or DS0 channel."

Here is how Microsoft spins it
<technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8
25a-9d72648bdeea1033.mspx?mfr=true> :

"Quiescing is the process of gradually bringing long-running
applications of a resource offline without incurring data loss. It has
been introduced in Microsoft Office servers  for 2007."

So if you need to perform maintenance on a farm, you "quiesce" it. IMHO,
something like "Take Farm Offline" would have been a better choice.

Why should you use the quiesce feature?

Simply put, to prevent data loss.

How do you quiesce the farm?

1. From Central Administration, Operations, select "Quiesce Farm."

2. Enter the number of minutes in which you want the farm to be fully
quiesced and click "Start Quiescing."

3. The page will display the quiescing status. [From Microsoft
<technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8
25a-9d72648bdeea1033.mspx?mfr=true> ] "Quiescing has three states:
normal, quiescing, and quiesced. Normal is the active state in which the
farm handles all requests that come into it. Quiescing is the state in
which the farm only handles requests from existing sessions, and
quiesced is the state in which the farm does not allow any new sessions
to start."

How do you "un-quiesce" (reset) a farm:

1. From Central Administration, Operations, select "Quiesce Farm."

2. Click "Reset Farm." Why couldn't they have come up with an obscure
word for "reset?"

What quiescing doesn't do.

I expected that after quiescing a farm I'd see a page saying something
like "This site is down for maintenance" when accessing a site
collection. It doesn't do that. I found this information useful:

[From Microsoft
<technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8
25a-9d72648bdeea1033.mspx?mfr=true> ] "Not all applications and services
use quiescing. Many other features and operations do not need to use
quiescing because they do not have long-running sessions  where users
enter data over multiple server  requests without saving information. For
instance, when a user edits an item in a SharePoint list, the
information is saved to the database in a single transaction."

[From Microsoft
<technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">technet2.microsoft.com/.../2042cbb3-312a-461b-8
25a-9d72648bdeea1033.mspx?mfr=true> ] "In InfoPath Forms Services, a
form-filling session may require several communications with a server as
the form posts back  for server-side data processing for operations such
as view switching. Data from the session is usually not saved until the
very end when a user submits or saves the form that they're filling. If
an administrator were to take the farm offline while some users were in
the process of filling forms out, the users would lose all of the data
accumulated so far in their session."

To summarize, there are 2 ways to use quiescing. The first is to
impress your friends. Casually slip the word into a conversation and
watch their expression. The second way to use quiescing is to perform
maintenance on your farm and prevent data loss (the key benefit of using
this feature).

 
Answer #2    Answered By: Aastha Acharya     Answered On: Jul 29

Thanks very much for the detailed response (and very quick, too). I guess it's
kinda like shutting down server  services, but doing it all from one button.
It's a great concept using a strange word.

 
Answer #3    Answered By: Glenda Roth     Answered On: Jul 29

Yeah, no problem. I like this method of using it:

To summarize, there are 2 ways to use quiescing. The first is to
impress your friends. Casually slip the word into a conversation and
watch their expression.

 
Answer #4    Answered By: Jada Clemons     Answered On: Jul 29

From my experience, "quiescing" is not really so much a general shutdown
mechanism as a transaction protection mechanism, and its effects aren't
as obvious as one might expect. It is mostly a way of preventing
problems due to yanking the database away during long transactions. So
it only appears to apply to certain services  where there is a high
likelihood of data being entered by users over multiple trips to the
server without being saved. The best example is probably InfoPath Forms
Services. The most common place to see the effects of "quiescing" is
when trying to use a browser-enabled InfoPath form, and it keeps telling
you the form is closed. I haven't even seen it say that "quiescing" was
going on, just that the form wouldn't work. I don't know if that has
been improved recently or not. This just prevents people from starting
new forms and beginning the relatively long process of filling out the
form, and then being unable to complete it. You will still be able to
access the other lists during this time, presumably because they are
much lower risk transactions that complete in one trip to the server.
This still allows someone to start filling out a list item that requires
a pile of metadata and then lose their data if the db goes away before
it is saved. It isn't as big a deal as losing several pages of complex
validated data and calculations in a sophisticated form. That appears
to be the primary kind of case that "quiescing" was intended to address.

 
Answer #5    Answered By: Brooke Lewis     Answered On: Jul 29

Another example where quiescing might help is surveys. (I haven't
verified it on sharepoint, but I've run into this with other systems.)
If a person is in the person is in the middle of a multi-page
branching survey and you just restart the service, the session
information gets lost and the person's half-completed survey is
orphaned.

When you quiesce the server, things that require outstanding sessions
are no longer allowed but the people in the middle of a session can
finish up. Then when those people finish their session based tasks,
the server  doesn't allow any more and it's then safe to restart the
service, bring the server down for maintenance, or whatever.

The interesting thing is that simple transactions can still happen
when the server is quiesced. So a person can add a new announcement to
an announcement list for instance.

When I read  about the quiescing feature  I was honestly really excited.
I just wish that MS had done more to integrate it into the overall
patching administration workflow. For instance, when running  windows
updates and restarting the server , Windows should tell sharepoint to
go into quiesced mode and wait to restart until sharepoint tells it
that there are no more open  sessions.

 
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