Performance Point Monitoring - cannot connect to the specified server

Today I was moving a prototype dashboard off a virtual server onto a development server. I saved the workspace file and copied it over and I got the following error when I clicked the test button in the data source page - "Unable to connect to the specified server. Make sure the address is correct"

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This was a bit puzzling as it was connecting to "localhost" so it should have worked fine on the dev server.

If you do a search in your favorite search engine for this error you will possibly come across the following Microsoft Knowledge base article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953107 (I have not set this up as a link so that it does not get any extra "google juice") which recommends uninstalling .Net 3.5, uninstalling PPS and then re-installing PPS before installing .Net 3.5. I'm not even sure if this server has the .Net 3.5 framework installed on it. Luckily I'm a bit lazier than that :) Looking down a few more results in the search turned up a forum post where it mentioned that the name of the PPS server is saved inside the workspace (.bswx) file.

So I opened the options dialogue and checked in the Server tab.

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And what do you know, the name of my vritual PPS Monitoring server name was embedded in the workspace file and it was this server that Dashboard Designer could not find, not the SSAS server. Once that was fixed everything started working again.

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If the error message had have said either

"Unable to connect to the specified PPS Monitoring server. Make sure the address is correct"

or better yet, something like:

"Unable to connect to the PPS monitoring server http://virt2k3s:40000/WebService/PmService.asmx. Make check the Server Url in the options dialog and make sure it is correct"

I could have solved this without having to resort to a web search. I have found that PerformancePoint has a few other non-specific error messages like this which are quite frustrating. I know there is the concept of not putting too much detail in the error messages for security reasons, but this error message is almost useless.

Another interesting development that I stumbled across is that the Dashboard Designer does not even seem to know that it stores this setting. If you change only the server details and then close Dashboard Designer without explicitly saving it will not recognize that the .bswx file needs saving and will discard your edits.

Update 21 Jun 08: As Nick points out. He actually covered this issue and much more in his post on connection issues in PerformancePoint, so if you are having other connection issues in PPS you should definitely check out that post. I had read his post when he made it and I knew I had all my identities correct as I had already connect to this server and was able to access other scorecards on it.

The subtle thing that I had missed was that opening a .bswx file could change the connection of a workspace.

I was also using a PC that still had IE7 configured to use live search which I had throught was closing the gap with google, but I just checked and live search ranks Nick's post much lower than google. So I have also just taken the link tags off the url to the MS KB article so that I do not contribute to that particular article's search ranking.

Print | posted on Saturday, June 21, 2008 12:02 AM