Some Exchange Server customers are reporting errors on their Client Access servers after they apply SP2 Update Rollup 3, which was released on May 29th.
The Application event log on Client Access servers begins repeatedly logging Event ID 1 with source MSExchange Autodiscover and the description:
Unhandled Exception: “User setting ‘PreferredSite' is not available”
As alarming as the error may seem, fortunately it is harmless. Michael Van Horenbeeck spotted this reference to it in Scott Schnoll's TechEd North America session Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP2 Tips & Tricks.
I listened to the session and Scott confirms it is a harmless code bug.
Given the low impact of the issue it is likely we'll see an interim update soon for those customers who are experiencing the error, and a fix in one of the next update rollups.
Although harmless (aside from possibly giving admins a scare, and flooding event log-based monitoring systems), this incident once again draws attention to not only the quality of update rollup releases, but also the dissemination of information about known issues after an update is released.
Consider this timeline:
- 29/05/2012 – Exchange Server 2010 SP2 UR3 released
- 11/06/2012 – Scott Schnoll mentions the bug in his TechEd presentation
- 13/06/2012 – Greg Taylor confirms in comments on the release post that it is a known issue
- 26/06/2012 – Customers are still deploying the update unaware of the known issue
- 4/07/2012 – The release post, description, and download page still contain no note alerting customers to the issue, and so customers continue to post concerned comments.
Unfortunately not all customers read the various Exchange Server blogs and forums, and will rely on the official release posts and description pages for any known issues. When they do come to the blogs and forums it is after they've encountered a problem.
I imagine Microsoft has a content management system that makes speedy updates to some of those pages near impossible. This is probably a good use for a wiki, which exists already on TechNet, but hasn't to my knowledge been used for publicly and centrally tracking reports of customer issues when deploying service packs and updates.
It could work, but would need to be prominently linked to from the release post and download pages to draw customer attention to it before they proceed with their updates, which could help those customers avoid known issues.
Perhaps something for Microsoft to consider.