Friday, 18 December 2009

Installing AppFabric Caching Beta 1, Part 3

In Part 1 of this (unintentional) series, I talked about how the AppFabric installer works only with Integrated Security and so I needed a domain before I could install it, and in Part 2 I talked about how I then built said domain. At this point I tried once again to install AppFabric on CACHESERVER1, with all it's Integrated Security goodness. And failed. When the installer got to the configuration screen, I entered SQLSERVER in the connection string dialog, then clicked on the dropdownlist to get the list of databases on SQLSERVER. I then got a Timeout error in trying to retrieve the list of databases. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get this to work. I created a UDL file on CACHESERVER1, running Integrated Security, pointing at SQLSERVER, and confirmed that I could not only see SQLSERVER and retrieve a list of databases, but successfully connect to a database. I raised this as a question on StackOverflow and on the MSDN AppFabric Caching forum (where it looks like I'm not the only one having trouble with installations). And whilst it looks like at least some of the AppFabric team have been answering questions on the MSDN forum, I've had no answer at all to my posts.

Since then, my development laptop has been rebuilt with Windows 7, which has necessitated rebuilding my server environment from scratch with Virtual PC for Windows 7 (though there was a flirtation with VirtualBox, which I may yet go back to, although at the moment I find the process for setting up differencing disks a little too involved for my taste). With a rebuilt set of servers, I turned back to the AppFabric install, however there was one subtle difference in the server builds this time around. In trying to use the UDL files to verify that the server could contact the database ahead of the install, I encountered a problem that the SQL Server Native Client provider was not installed, so to fix this I installed the Client Connectivity bits from the SQL Server 2008 disc. When I then tried the AppFabric installer, this resolved the issue of not being able to any databases on the server. Result!

Well, not really. Although this let me proceed with the installation, the installation failed with error code 2. And no explanation for what this error means or how to fix it. And once again, the MSDN Forum has (so far) been no help. I've tried a few other things since then, including using the XML Provider for storing the configuration information instead of SQL Server. This I actually watched as it created a ClusterConfig.xml file on the network share I'd set up (thus proving that the account had enough rights on the folder), and then  removed the file again. The installation failed with error code 2. Tonight I tried something else - when you select the SQL Server provider and go to enter the connection string, you can enter your own connection string, or leave it selected at Default. I tried it with Default, thinking that this would create, perhaps, a SQLExpress database that I could then transfer to my SQL Server. At the very least it would give me a working AppFabric installation that I could play with. No. Leaving the Default radio button checked does, from what I can see, nothing. There is no 'Default' connection string, in fact the installer doesn't even allow you to continue if you select this, making it the stupidest UI possible.

All of which leaves me totally stalled on working with AppFabric since I have yet to find a working configuration. It's all very tiresome.