ConfigMgr 2012 DRS – Troubleshooting FAQs

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Configuration Manager Archive articles.

First published on TECHNET on Mar 24, 2014


Hi Folks,


Thanks for your feedback on the previous DRS unleashed post. As promised, this post would take you in the deep analysis and troubleshooting of the ConfigMgr 2012 Data replication services issues. I have tried putting up the format as a Q and A format to answer the questions that came to my mind while I started to go with DRS and as a part of learning from customer issues. The only prerequisite that I would say before going through this would be the first part of the series –


Note: The below questions are there to clarify the concepts of DRS. Do not implement this in the production until you know it well. For any recommendations or issues, please open a case with Microsoft Support.


So let’s get started –


Question 1:


What was the need to go for DRS? Did the previous file based communications had flaws?


Question 2:


What is DRS from 100 feet? The DRS flow?


Answer 1 and 2:


Both of these fundamental questions have been covered in great detail in the first part of the series, the link to which is shared above.


Question 3:


How to go about a DRS issue?


This is a very important question that comes to the mind when we are handling a DRS issue. The initial approach is very important else we can land up in troubleshooting something which is not even related or the correct path.I say this because DRS is integrally linked with the site functionality and other SQL components and hence a very specific approach needs to be followed. With my experience on the component (Need not be the best approach) I follow-


a. The History of the issue (Or what changed in the environment) :


This is of utmost importance to know and can change the way we troubleshoot. Many a times we go on troubleshooting missing this very fundamental question. From my experience of handling nearly a ton of DRS issues I found that more than 30% issues are actually not DRS but something that can be traced to the change made. As an example – “After restoring the ConfigMgr, the DRS is not working”. Well to start off it is important to know that how was the ConfigMgr restored. Was that done in a supported way? Few cases being ‘Snapshot restored’ could be just rejected here without further troubleshooting. A few which I worked was because the correct CU (cumulative update) [The CU version before restoration] was not applied after the site was restored. Other instances could be relating to SQL where a new update for .NET was applied which actually broke the SQL CLR managed functionality to process the messages. So in all it is very important to absorb the finest of the changes that the customer tells or what we can find from the event logs.


b. Replication Link Analyzer:


When we are sure from the first step that everything is fine and done in a correct way or we don’t know the cause then it is fine to switch to ‘Replication Link Analyzer’. This is a very useful utility which can detect and also correct the preliminary issues like SQL service being stopped, SQL broker connectivity, DNS etc. So better to run this and check if we can find anything which is not normal. Many a times the Replication link analyzer asks us to reinit the groups or check the previous failures in which case we know that it was not able to detect any normal preliminary issues. It generally creates an XML and a ReplicationLinkAnalizer.log which lets us know the rules it ran and the success or failure of the rules.


c. Replication Status on the console:


This is located in the Monitoring -> Database Replication tab. We can click on the link and get the below information.



It is a very good summary of the Replication process for the sites. This actually tells us information on where the issue could be. The global / site data status overall and also if it is Parent -> Child or Child -> Parent failure issues.


Knowing this helps us to narrow down the issue as to which site could be the culprit.


The next tabs ‘Parent Site’ and ‘Child Site’ give us information about the configuration of the replication –



It is important to go through this once to find out obvious issues. It could be possible that in DRS issues due to inability to read the stuff from the primary this could marked as unknown instead of a green tick but that’s fine.


A few of the issues that have known was the Disk space been full and a very valid reason for the DRS to break along with the rest features. Also another one being the scenario where we had two sql instances holding the databases for the CAs and primary running under broker port 4022 and 4023 but at the time of the recovery of the primary we gave the port 4022 for the primary which is a clash with the CAS. Definitely, there are other robust way to find that out which I will deal with on a later troubleshooting aspect but better if we can nail it down here itself.


The next two tabs are ‘Initialization Detail’ and ‘Replication Detail’ which are again a very important tab introduced from 2012 SP1. The former gives information about the initialization of the groups and the latter gives information of the replication after initialization. So if a group is not initialized then there is no point in looking at the replication status of that group. If we have information on any group which is listed as failed in the ‘Initialization Detail’ or not 100 % completed then the site will be in maintenance mode. Now how to tackle a maintenance mode issue is a separate question. Coming to the point where we the initialization succeeded but one of the group(s) not showing as active in the ‘Replication Detail’ tab meaning the initialization was fine initially but somehow the actual DRS change based replication is not working for that group(s). Here also comes a very important question –


Will doing a re-init of this group fix the issue? [How to do a re-init will be discussed in the coming questions]


The answer is probably NO. What is seen common to fix any replication group issue is to re-init the group, but logically re-init will help only if we find anything in the ‘Initialization tab’ as not completed 100% and also we are not sure if that’s going to help here if that’s failing because of a database inconsistency issue. But one thing has to be kept in mind that if we don’t have any issues with the Initialization then we need not do re-initialization for that group. Then the point comes how to go about that issue then. The answer is to check the logs which are described in the coming steps.


d. RCMCtrl.log


This is the ConfigMgr log for the DRS and located in the bunch of the server logs. The log is helpful in telling us about the current processing and the status of the site. Although we do not get more detail as such here even if we know the site is in maintenance mode or a replication group has failed from this log, we can increase the verbosity of the log [HKLM\software\Microsoft\SMS\Components\SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MANAGER ->Set Value ‘Verbose Logging’ to 2].


It is very helpful in tracking the Bulk copy IN/OUT activity and issues related to it.


e. SpDiagDRS


This is a very important stored procedure known to everyone but there is very much that is presented by it.



A Few things to Note here on important sections and what they signify-


Section 1:


SiteStatus – This tells us whether the site is replicating or not. Anything other than ACTIVE is not good. There are various other modes as discussed in the previous post. Of which later we will discuss Maintenance Mode and Recovery.


CertificateThumbprint [CAS] – The thumbprint of the certificate used for authentication that contains the site’s public key (Local DB trusts remote DB). Note: We have a different cert associated with the Private Key used for the authentication (Remote DB trusts local DB). More details on this on later sections.


Section 2:


IncomingMessageInQueue – This tells us the incoming backlog a site has. If the backlog is more due to the number of sites reporting to it are huge, we may see the links going degraded or failed sometimes as the heartbeat Synchronizations are not processed in time.


OutgoingMessageInQueue – This tells us the backlogs yet to clear as we waiting for the communicating sites to get the messages. This generally fluctuates but if this continues to grow then we know it is a cause to worry and further troubleshooting as to which site is not getting the messages.


Section 3:


This is nothing but the detailed view of the ‘Initialization Status’ on the console. This gives more information to and fro for each replication group.


Section 4:


This is the detailed view of ‘Replication Status’ on the console.


Section 5:


Here we get the information of the other attached sites. This contains the cert name, thumbprint, Login Name, routes. So if we don’t have the proper routes we cannot communicate to the other broker. Also, The thumbprint for the primary site here should actually match to the Thumbprint mentioned in the Section 1 for the Primary site ( CertificateThumbprint [PRI]). The logic here is


1. The Sending site signs the service pair security header containing information on the certificates used for the message with its private key and the receiving site can decrypt the data only if it has the public key for the sending site.


2. The key exchange key (that encrypts the 128-bit session key used to encrypt the body of the message) is encrypted with the public key for the remote user.


and similarly for the receiving site when it becomes a sending site.


Section 6:


This gives the general information of the sites in the hierarchy and SiteServerName and DBServer names along with status and version.


Section 7:


This is a very detailed information on the heartbeat or LastSentStatus for each group. The information also contains the conversationIDs etc. This should not be required until we are dealing with a complex DRS/SSB issue.


f.        VLogs


These are the logs for the component on the SQL side. They are very handy as to what the component is doing. A generic query that I use –


select * from Vlogs where logtext not like '%not sending changes%' AND logtext not like '%no changes detected%' order by Logtime desc 

The exclusions of these keywords because this is a verbose logs and even if we don’t have any changed to send we write a text here. Also this query can be modified to our needs. As in if we want to find error information then we can append and logtext like '%error%'.


The other very important aspect is we can see the time so it helps us to trace accurately. Generally, Issues with RCM are visible here (DRS Changes, BCP etc). We may not get the broker issues logged in here but then we may identity if there are communication issues. One such scenario could be –


We did a re-init for a global group on the primary and on the primary VLogs I see that the site has asked for Reinit. But then I go to the CAS and check the vlogs after sometime and don’t see a hint of anything coming on the current timestamp then we will have to check on the sending site communications (SSB stuffs). Also, we can increase the verbosity of the VLogs which is already very chatty.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SMS\Components\SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR-> DRS Logging Level to 2. But I believe this should not be required unless we are troubleshooting Advanced Message tracking.


This basically ends the generic troubleshooting stuff for a DRS issue. Definitely there is more to it when working on advanced issues but if we can stick to this core, I think more than 80% of the issues can be solved.


Question 4:


What is maintenance mode? When does a site go in the maintenance mode?


A site stays in maintenance mode until it initializes all of its data. For a CAS site, it will be in maintenance mode until it initializes all the site data from the all of its reporting primaries and for a Primary site until it initializes all of its Global data from the CAS.


The primary stays in Site maintenance mode at the time of the installation until its re-initialization completes. Till that time the Console on the Primary would be read only [Meaning the site cannot be used for production]. For a newly site we won’t have any site data but consider a scenario of a  recovered primary, When it comes up the CAS asks for the re-initialization of the site data.


The re-initialization process is basically a BCP out -> Sending -> BCP in process. It can be arguably questioned that why don’t we use SQL replication too for reinit but then again this would require a huge chunk of data flowing on the SQL bandwidth which would be more costlier than a file copy. The Maintenance mode SiteStatus is 120.


Question 5:


What is bulk copy program? How to troubleshoot BCPIn and BCPOut Errors?


From technet:


The bcp utility bulk copies data between an instance of Microsoft SQL Server and a data file in a user-specified format. The bcp utility can be used to import large numbers of new rows into SQL Server tables or to export data out of tables into data files. Except when used with the queryout option, the utility requires no knowledge of Transact-SQL. To import data into a table, you must either use a format file created for that table or understand the structure of the table and the types of data that are valid for its columns.


But here in ConfigMgr we don’t use this this utility but use the APIs mentioned here . CSqlBCP::BCPIN and CSqlBCP::BCPOUT.
We generally face issues with the BCPIn, so the best way is to first of all reproduce the issue after enabling verbose logging for RCMCtrl.log. This can help you know which table the BCPIn could be failing. If that gives you enough info for the record (which many a times it will not), check out the <TransactionGUID> folder in the The <TransactionGUID> folder will contain the .bcp and the .rowcount files for all the tables and there is one more file called bcpError.errors. This will generally contain the small chunk of the data which failed to get inserted. But, unfortunately sometimes this file could also be blank (recursive trigger failing to execute issues.) In such cases it is best to take a SQL profiler for ‘Errors and Warnings’, TSQL, Stored procedures filtering application name for ‘%replication%’ [SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR thread]. Reproduce the issue and in the profiler search for the Keyword ‘Exception’ in the EventClass column or Keyword ‘User Error Message’. Generally we have the constraint [Primary/Unique Key] getting compromised because of the Triggers associated with the tables.


A case study –


On the Primary RCMCtrl.log –


CSqlBCP::BCPIN: bcp_exec failed. SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR 3/9/2013 2:23:10 PM 5080 (0x13D8)

*** DRS_Init_BCPIN() failed SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR 3/9/2013 2:23:10 PM 5080 (0x13D8)

*** BCP fails due to internal sql error. Check if this table has a trigger failed to execute. SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR 3/9/2013 2:23:10 PM 5080 (0x13D8)

CBulkInsert::DRS_Init_BCPIN : Failed to BCP in SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR 3/9/2013 2:23:10 PM 5080 (0x13D8)

BCP in result is 2147500037. SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR 3/9/2013 2:23:10 PM 5080 (0x13D8)

ERROR: Failed to BCP in for table PkgPrograms_G with error code 2147500037. SMS_REPLICATION_CONFIGURATION_MONITOR 3/9/2013 2:23:10 PM 5080 (0x13D8)


Seems like we have an insert/update trigger associated with the PkgPrograms_G table that is not able to execute successfully.

Checked the trigger definition and it seems that the insert trigger here tries to merge the data in the PkgPrograms_L table.


At the time of failure this was what the insert trigger trying to achieve:

MERGE INTO PkgPrograms_L AS 
SELECT ProgramID, 
PkgID, Name, 
DeviceFlags, UpdateMask, 
Action, SourceLocaleID FROM 
UPDATE SET ProgramID = G.ProgramID, SourceSite = G.SourceSite, ProgramFlags = G.ProgramFlags, 
DeviceFlags = G.DeviceFlags, UpdateMask = G.UpdateMask, 
Action = G.Action, SourceLocaleID = G.SourceLocaleID 
INSERT ( ProgramID, PkgID, Name, SourceSite, ProgramFlags, DeviceFlags, UpdateMask, Action, SourceLocaleID) 
VALUES ( G.ProgramID, G.PkgID, G.Name, G.SourceSite, G.ProgramFlags, G.DeviceFlags, G.UpdateMask, 
G.Action, G.SourceLocaleID ) ; 

Error: 2627, Severity: 14, State: 1


Violation of PRIMARY KEY constraint 'PkgPrograms_L_PK'. Cannot insert duplicate key in object 'dbo.PkgPrograms_L'.


The duplicate key value is (WRK00009 , Install FMCNA VPN Icon).


So we got to know the reason why the trigger was not able to execute successfully. We were hitting a PRIMARY KEY constraint issue, which doesn’t allow us to insert duplicate key.


The best part was we got to know the package ID. It was WRK00009.


When checked this package, we found that the program was missing the command line in Primary site WRK but had it correct on the CAS site.


This means there are definitely some inconsistencies with this package and hence we deleted the package and the program.



Question 6:


How to go about if a site is in maintenance mode?


a. Only CAS is maintenance mode.


First of all we will be clear with the basics covered in the Step 3. If that helps resolving the problem great, which many a times won’t. So let’s move ahead, what next – By Logic, the CAS stays in maintenance until it gets the site data from all the Primaries.


The groups which are pending to be completed can be very well checked in the console. For some reason if you don’t have access to console or don’t like it J we can check that in the DB –


--Returns Pending groups

select * from RCM_ReplicationLinkStatus where SnapshotApplied <>1 


You can use the ReplicationID returned from above and check it in the vReplicationDatatable (ID column) to know the exact name of the group.


Now that you know the culprit groups, try checking their group status in the RCM_DrsInitializationTracking.


select * from RCM_DrsInitializationTracking where 
ReplicationGroup in 
(select replicationgroup from vReplicationData where ID 
(select ReplicationID from RCM_ReplicationLinkStatus where SnapshotApplied <>1)) 
order by ReplicationGroup,CreatedTime 

From the previous post we know the various status for replication groups. Barring 99 (Which is an ‘Error’ state) we can try reiniting them. If we have any group with 99 status we might have to drill down the logs (VLogs, RCMCtrl.log) to find the cause and correct it. One scenario of BCPIn failed mentioned above is Error state. 99 are generally related to database inconsistencies.


If it is a single or few groups they we can drop the .PUB file but If there are multiple such groups then we can use the below command to re-init them all (But make sure to check the size of them, in case they are big, the Cx should be aware. exec spDiagGetSpaceUsed )

update RCM_DrsInitializationTracking set 
InitializationStatus = 7 where ReplicationGroup in 
(select replicationgroup from vReplicationData where ID 
(select ReplicationID from RCM_ReplicationLinkStatus 
where SnapshotApplied <>1))and InitializationPercent not in (0,100) 

Note: In some cases where you know there is one such big group (caused by collection of inventories rigorously in one of my cases) which is causing the SQL time out, you may need to get the CAS to go ACTIVE so that it processes the information from the other sites.


In such cases you can deliberately bring the CAS to active by running the query –


update RCM_ReplicationLinkStatus set SnapshotApplied = 1 where SnapshotApplied <>1 

And then later truncate the bigger group so that it can contain and does not hamper the replication.


b. Primary in maintenance mode.


First of all we will be clear with the basics covered in the Step 3. If that helps resolving the problem great, which many a times won’tJ. So let’s move ahead, what next – By Logic, the Primary stays in maintenance until the global data is completely reinitialized from the CAS.


Rest of the troubleshooting can be checked from above. Nothing much changed from (a).


c. Both CAS and Primary in maintenance mode.


Yes, we may be stuck in such scenario too where both the CAS and Primary could be in maintenance. Here the dilemma is we are pretty much stuck in a Deadlock situation –

    • CAS stuck in maintenance until the site data in initialized.
    • PRI stuck in maintenance until the global data is initialized. And until the global data is initialized, PRI cannot send the site data.

So, it is important to take one of the sites out of maintenance. But the question is to which site? The Answer is Primary. If we can bring the PRI out of maintenance it can send the site data up bringing CAS out of maintenance.


So follow the 6(a) approach to bring the Primary out of maintenance. Once PRI is out of maintenance it will BCPOut the site data to the CAS.


Question 7:


When do we need to re-init a group? What are the ways to re-init a group? Is there a way to re-init the whole global or site data?


As stated before re-initialization is required only when the Initialization detail for a group shows that group(s) are not 100% completed or successful. The site(s) would be generally in maintenance mode owing to the pending initialization.


There are different ways to re-init a replication group.


For reinitializing a replication group corresponding to the site data –


a.       Drop a <ReplicationGroupName>-<ChildSiteCode>.PUB on the CAS site Eg. Hardware_Inventory-PR1.PUB [Where PR1 is the primary site code for which the data needs to be re-initialized]


b.      The SQL way


Get to know the latest RequestTrackingGuid in the RCM_DRSInitializationTracking table for the group and then update its InitializationStatus to 7.


Example – The same as a where we want to reinit the Hardware_Inventory from the PR1 site on the CAS database.


--The below query would return the latest RequestTrackingGuid for the ReplicationGroup


select top 1 RequestTrackingGUID from 
RCM_DrsInitializationTracking where ReplicationGroup ='Hardware_inventory' and 
SiteFulfilling = 'PR1' order by CreatedTime desc 


--Update the InitializationStatus to 7


update RCM_DrsInitializationTracking set InitializationStatus =7 where 
RequestTrackingGUID in( 
select top 1 RequestTrackingGUID from 
RCM_DrsInitializationTracking where ReplicationGroup ='Hardware_inventory' and 
SiteFulfilling = 'PR1' order by CreatedTime desc) 

For reinitializing a replication group corresponding to the global data –

a.       Drop a <ReplicationGroupName>.PUB on the Primary site Eg. Configuration Data.PUB

b.      The SQL way

Get to know the latest RequestTrackingGuid in the RCM_DRSInitializationTracking table for the group and then update its InitializationStatus to 7.


Example – The same as where we want to reinit the Configuration Data for the PR1 site on the PR1 database.


--The below query would return the latest RequestTrackingGuid for the ReplicationGroup

select top 1 RequestTrackingGUID from 
RCM_DrsInitializationTracking where ReplicationGroup ='Configuration Data' and 
SiteFulfilling = 'CAS' order by CreatedTime desc 


--Update the InitializationStatus to 7


update RCM_DrsInitializationTracking set 
InitializationStatus =7 where RequestTrackingGUID 
in( select top 1 RequestTrackingGUID from 
RCM_DrsInitializationTracking where ReplicationGroup ='Configuration Data' and 
SiteFulfilling = 'CAS' order by CreatedTime desc) 

Sometimes it could be possible where you might want to re-initialize the whole global data or the site data for the site. That is possible from the SQL way but mentioned before it is better to know the size of the groups associated so that we can get to know the tentative time that could be required to finish the same.

exec spDiagGetSpaceUsed 


--For Re-Initializing the Global Data run this on the Primary site to be re-initialized

update rcm_drsinitializationtracking set 
InitializationStatus = 7 where replicationgroup in 
(select replicationgroup from vReplicationData where 
replicationpattern ='global') and SiteRequesting = 'PR1' 

-- For Re-Initializing the Site Data run this on the CAS site which needs the Primary site ‘PR1’ to be re-initialized


update rcm_drsinitializationtracking set 
InitializationStatus = 7 where replicationgroup in 
(select replicationgroup from vReplicationData where 
replicationpattern ='site') and SiteRequesting = 'CAS' and SiteFulfilling ='PR1' 


Question 8:


How to go about Recovery_In_Progress and Recovery_Failed issues?


We may have seen the cases where the Recovery might be stuck in the Recovery_In_Progress state after the recovery forever. Well in such cases it is important to check the RCM_RecoveryTracking table.


select * from RCM_RecoveryTracking 


Here for each and every record or replication group we have a RecoveryStatus. It is important to understand the different recovery statuses.



So if we have 50 or 55 for any groups we may need to check the VLogs or RCMCtrl.log for more information. But many a times we do see a group sitting at 5 for a long time doing nothing. So, there could be a case of recovery as an example of groups Hardware_Inventory_26 which was existing before recovery and hence the CAS has information but the recovered DB was of time when this group never existed. So in such cases we can get rid of this record either by deleting it or making it deliberately a 9.


In case of recovery failed issues if we are not able to get much then we can try making it a deliberate 9 (fooling it to be completed) and then later re-init if required to find the real causes from the logs.


After the recovery completes, there is RecoveryPostAction that runs and completes the tasks like creating SSB certs for child sites, exchanging the SQL machine certificates, generating public key for child sites etc.



Question 9:


SpdiagDRS shows site is Active but in console it is still failed. Why so?


Well you might have have come across this situation where the both the communicating sites shows ACTIVE in the SpDiagDRS output but shows as Link Failed in the console. So, what’s wrong here?


First of All, The site goes ACTIVE once it has finished the Initialization, so practically it is in Production meaning it is/ or it should be processing the messages. The above situation can come if you find the InitializationStatus on the console to be green but still the ReplicationStatus is not yet green.


A valid point to check now is the IncomingMessage queue backlog. Yes, if the incoming message queue backlog is high we are yet to get the changes for the groups which actually Mark the ReplicationStatus for the group as active.


Also, a scenario where this issue can arise is if the Stored procedure/Function  spGet<article>Changes[Which gets the changes from the corresponding table for the RG in the Site data]/fnGet<artcile>Changes[Which gets the changes from the corresponding table for the RG in the Global data] is somehow missing or deleted by other activities. So, the re-initialization went fine but at the time of sending the changes or heartbeat this fails. So how to track this issue, the answer is VLogs. It would clearly show that it is not able to send the Changes for the corresponding RG because of so and so reason. With that arises the next question :)



Question 10:


What does 'Link degraded' or ‘Link Failed’ mean? Does it mean there is an issue?


Database replication thresholds define when the status of a database replication link is reported as either degraded or failed. By default, a link is set to degraded when any one replication group fails to complete replication for a period of 12 consecutive attempts, and set to failed when any replication group fails to replicate in 24 consecutive attempts.


Beginning with Configuration Manager SP1, you can specify custom values to fine-tune when Configuration Manager reports a replication link as degraded or failed. Prior to Configuration Manager SP1, you cannot adjust these thresholds. Adjusting when Configuration Manager reports each status for your database replication links can help you accurately monitor the health of database replication across your database replication links.


Because it is possible for one or a few replication groups fail to replicate while other replication groups continue to replicate successfully, plan to review the replication status of a replication link when it first reports a status of degraded. If there are recurring delays for specific replication groups and their delay does not present a problem, or where the network link between sites has low available bandwidth, consider modifying the retry values for the degraded or failed status of the link. When you increase the number of retries before the link is set to degrade or failed, you can eliminate false warnings for known issues, allowing you to more accurately track the status of the link.


Link properties ->Alerts tab



Every Replication group has a synchronization interval where it checks or sends the changes or heartbeats. You can check the same in the console or SpDiagDRS output–



And there is one more setting here in the console for the Link Properties –



By default, summarization occurs every 15 minutes. You can modify the frequency of summarization for network traffic by editing the Summarization interval in the properties of the database replication link. The frequency of summarization affects the information you view in reports about database replication. You can modify this interval from 5 minutes to 60 minutes. When you increase the frequency of summarization, you increase the processing load on the SQL Server at each site on the replication link.


So is that an issue? Well the answer is it depends on what we find. If the SpDiagDRS shows we are in the maintenance mode then definitely YES we have to fix it. But if it shows as Active and we see that there always Incoming message backlogs [due to many sites reporting to it] which gets processed in sometime then maybe not. It is also better to look at the Logs to verify if there are other issue as mentioned in the previous question. If there are no issues but only delays in the processing then we can adjust the setting for the Link Degraded or Link failed to an Optimum value to avoid it from going to degraded or failed.




Question 11:


What are distributed views? When can it be helpful?


Distributed views enable requests that are made at a central administration site for selected site data, to access that site data directly from the database at a child primary site. This direct access replaces the need to replicate this site data from the primary site to the central administration site. Because each replication link is independent from other replication links, you can enable distributed views on only the replication links you choose. Distributed views are not supported between a primary site and a secondary site.


Prefer reading the technet:


Section – ‘Planning to use Distributed Views’ covers the topic in great detail and also talks about the limitations of Distributed views.


Known issue with Distributed views




Question 12:


What is sys.tranmission_queue ? What is its significance? How to clear transmission_queue with cleanup?


In SSBS [SQL Server Broker Service] terminology, the Sender of the message is called Initiator and the Receiver of the message is called Target. Depending on the placement of Initiator and Target the SSBS application's architectures can be categorized in three different scenarios.


A. Initiator and Target in the same database in the same SQL Server instance. [Not supported with ConfigMgr]


B. Initiator and Target in different databases but still at the same SQL Server instance. [Not supported with ConfigMgr]


C. Initiator in a database at one SQL Server instance whereas Target in another database at another SQL Server instance.


The behavior in scenario A and B above is almost same. In these cases, SSBS optimizes performance by writing messages directly to the Target Queue. If, while writing message to the Target Queue, it encounters any problem (for example the Target service is not available, Target Queue is disabled, etc.) it keeps that message in the sys.transmission_queue table temporarily so that it can push the message to Target Queue once it is available. In the image below, you can see there are two databases, Initiator and Target, on a SQL Server instance. When Initiator sends (by using SEND T-SQL command) a message, the message is directly written to Target Queue from where the Target reads (by using RECEIVE T-SQL command) it. If the Target sends a response back to the Initiator, the message is directly written to Initiator Queue.



The behavior in the third scenario, scenario C, becomes a bit complex and interesting too. In this case, messages travel from one server to another and the network is involved, hence SSBS ensures successful delivery of the message by storing messages temporarily in the sys.transmission_queue temporary queue at Initiator and removing it from there only if it receives receipt acknowledgement from the Target. This means as long as messages are in transit they will reside in the sys.transmission_queue queue. This is what has been depicted in the image below. You can see there is a queue at database level and there is sys.transmission_queue temporary queue at instance wide.


When an application issues the SEND command to send a message, that message is stored in sys.transmission_queue queue at Initiator, then SSBS sends that message over the network to the Target and at same time, it marks the status of this message as waiting for acknowledgement from the Target. On the Target, when the message is received successfully in the Target queue, it sends the acknowledgement back to Initiator. At this point only, the message is deleted from sys.transmission_queue queue at the Initiator. If the Target issues a SEND command to send a response message back to the sender, the response message goes into the sys.transmission_queue queue at the Target, again SSBS sends that response message over the network to the Initiator and at same time, it marks the status of this response message as waiting for acknowledgement from the Initiator. On the Initiator, when the response message is received successfully in the Initiator queue, it sends the acknowledgement back to the Target. At this point only, the message is deleted from the sys.transmission_queue queue at the Target.



Please note, the sys.transmission_queue temporary queue is not specific to a database but rather is only for each instance.


While troubleshooting the communications we will see the messages coming and going out of the queue. If the messages keep on increasing then it is better to check their status in the transmission_status column.

select transmission_status,* from sys.transmission_queue 

The transmission_status column contains error if there are issues in communication. Some of the very common are the certificate issues and Endpoint issues. Follow the blog –


Many a times we may require to clean up the messages in the transmission_queue which are related to invalid conversations. So first find the Conversation Handles and then for cleaning we can use the below query –


end conversation '<Conversation_Handle>' with cleanup 


If there are many conversations or if you want to clear the whole queue –

declare @conversation uniqueidentifier 
while exists (select 1 from sys.transmission_queue ) 
set @conversation = (select top 1 conversation_handle from sys.transmission_queue ) 
end conversation @conversation with cleanup 


Question 13:


What is SSB_Dialogpool? Any known issues?


The Stored procedure spGetSSBDialogHandle first attempts to retrieve a handle from the Service Broker dialog pool (dbo.SSB_DialogPool) that matches the contract and conversation required for the message. If there is not an existing handle the procedure verifies that a valid route exists, and then creates a new handle in the dialog pool and initializes a new dialog. ConfigMgrDRSMsgBuilder returns a dialog handle to the calling procedure.


So many a times after the restore of a site, if there are old conversations handles which were not valid now, we see that the communication is hampered and the messages are not able to reach to the destination. It’s better to get rid of the old conversation handles as it will create a new one if there is nothing for that service/ queue name.


--Deleting the references in the SSB_Dialogpool for a site.


delete from SSB_DialogPool where ToService like '%PR1' 


Hope it helps!


Umair Khan

Support Escalation Engineer | Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 

Disclaimer: This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confers no rights. 

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