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UPA crash – farm is hanging

August 31, 2012

UPA – user profile application can be pretty fickle, but this one was a real head scratcher.  Once we started getting some users in our staging environments the User Profile Application would occasionally stop responding resulting in the entire farm being unresponsive.  There were no recorded errors regarding the actual services.

Our environment is set up on private cloud with a separate domain.  We have a two-way trusts between the private domain and our enterprise domain.  I mention that because it turns out that the UPA has a nasty “feature” whereby each call to UserProfileManager results in the service trying to authenticate each and every entry in the “Administrators” collection.  it takes about a second for each group and 2 seconds for each individual on that list to authenticate.  So, if you added a few users there you are looking at 10 seconds or so for each call on a good day.

In our case some of the requests were getting rejected with “No logon servers are available to authenticate your request”.  The queue grew large enough and the system will not come back until we rebuilt the UPA.  Distributing the service across multiple servers provided a temporary relief, but the system ended up crashing again anyway.

So, what is the solution?  until Microsoft fixes the bug (promised in SP2) you need to

  • Reduce the number of UPA administrators to a minimum of required groups.  3 at most.
  • work with Active Directory team to trace authentication issues, setup, and speed especially if you have multiple domains or even subdomains
  • Monitor the Worker Processes queue for the UPA application pool to see the speed of resolution
  • run a script to test the length of time it takes to hydrate a UserProfileManger in PowerShell

Good luck.

 

 

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