What is Playbooks?
Microsoft has released a tool call Playbooks with their Project Server 2007 resource kit to assist users in moving configurations of Project Server from one instance to another.
Gordon plays with Playbooks.
I recently had the experience to run into one of the pitfalls in using this tool. I was attempting to move configurations from my development server to the production server.
Playbooks is a fantastic tool to assist in that process which previously was manual. What I noticed was that while rest of the configurations moved across smoothly, the formulas did not move across correctly.
The formulas failed to calculate and just displayed “Error”. I had validated these formulas prior and was initially surprised that this would happen. I deleted the formulas and re-created them.
This generally used to work for me, but surprisingly enough the formulas seems to break the formula calculation engine on the server. This was in spite a success message displayed once Playbooks completes the move.
There is no recovery once this happened. The only way I was able to get project server to function again was to re-provision Project Web Access and recreate the databases or restore from the back-up taken, prior to running the playbooks tool.
What I found was that if I used Playbooks to copy the rest of the configuration without formulas the configuration move went successfully. Somehow playbooks was not able to move formulas successfully across.
Workaround I used to get around this.
Step 1: Ran playbooks and backed up configuration on source server.
Step 2: Deleted all the formula based fields from the source server.
Step 3: Ran Playbooks and backed up a second time.
Step 4: Restored second playbooks config (without formulas) on the target server.
Step 5: Restored first playbooks conf back on source server.
Step 6: Manually re-created the formulas on the target server.
Playbooks for me is a great tool to reduce the effort in moving configurations from one Project Web Access instance to another. However I feel there are certain disconnects with the tool.
I would use it, but with caution depending on the scenario and situation. Never know what surprise it could spring up on me. Happy playing !!!