Troubleshooting "Connection failed to Site Server"


One of the biggest problems that I've seen has been the almost monthly lost connection to a site server. I'm ashamed to admit that my troubleshooting technique in this area has been "reboot and pray".

One of the biggest problems that I've seen has been the almost monthly lost connection to a site server. I'm ashamed to admit that my troubleshooting technique in this area has been 'reboot and pray'.

Well, after this failed, I decided to brush off the trouble shooting skills and dig in. After some research in Technet, the SMS newsgroups, and every other resource I had at my disposal, I was still unable to connect to the site server. It finally took a call to Microsoft to get the information necessary to fix the problem. 

When troubleshooting a connectivity problem to a site server, you have to start with the basics. Do you actually have network connectivity to the server?  This is the most basic problem and one I have seen actually stump a few people. It's so easy to dig right in to an application problem and ignore the physical layer. SO, get that out of the way. Ping it.

Once you've established that the server is up and running, you need to go in a little deeper.

There are 3 areas of consideration when troubleshooting access to the SMS provider and the site server. 

1.                    Do you have the necessary privileges to the SMS provider on your site server?

2.                    Do you have the necessary security rights to the database?

3.                    Do you have the necessary privileges as far as WBEM is concerned?

4.                    Is WBEM working? 

Area one is an easy one.  In order for you to have access to the SMS provider on your site server, you need to be a member of the

Local SMS Admins group on your site server. I've found it is much easier and cleaner to add a global group from your domain to the local SMS Admin group rather than adding specific users. It makes administration a little easier.  

Area two is a question that can be answered with another question. Were you able to access the site server before? If so and barring the possibility another administrator has removed those rights, you most probably have rights to the database. You learn in SMS that having access to the SMS provider is not enough to allow you to get into the database. Each area of SMS in the Administrator console carries its own specific permissions. This allows you to tailor the Administrator console for each user/administrator. For example, you may wish to give one administrator access to a group of machines for Remote Tools and deny another. I've found this useful in our organization where we have a group of technicians responsible for a specific grouping of clients.  Modifying the permissions for each collection allows the technician access to their particular users and no one else.  

Area three is answered using a utility called wbemperm. This neat little utility is located in your %windir%\system32\wbem directory.

By using wbemperm, you can determine who has the rights to access the server via wbem. At a minimum, the local SMS Admin group has access to the server with the following permissions; Execute Methods , Enabled, and Schema Access Level: Write Instance  

After you have verified the first 3 conditions, test your connection to the database by using the wbemtest utility located in the same place as the wbemperm utility. One thing that took me a while to realize is that you don't need a password. I couldn't get it to connect to any of my site servers until I entered all of the information except for the password.  

If wbemtest doesn't work, pay attention to the error message it gives you. Most of the connectivity problems I have found that didn't involve a security issue have been due to a WBEM problem. If you get the error "Invalid namespace", then you know that you have a problem with WBEM. Another way of testing your connectivity to the site server is by using the "smsextract" query in the supportability files. This will also tell you if there are any problems connecting to the site.

 If you have gotten this far and not found the problem, the only thing left to do is to rebuild the namespace.

Recompiling the mofs located in the sms\bin\i386 directory will rebuild the namespace.

This has to be done on the site server itself. Open a command prompt and go to the sms\bin\i386 directory. Once there, enter the following commands:

mofcomp smsprov.mof

mofcomp sms_schm.mof

mofcomp smsstub.mof

mofcomp pollprov.mof

mofcomp netdisc.mof

mofcomp cpprov.mof

mofcomp cmprov.mof


Recompiling the mofs will rebuild the name space. Once this is done, you should once again have connectivity to your site server.

This article was originally published on Mar 9, 2000
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