The power of deleting Content Deployment Jobs & Paths

For the past few weeks, I have been in parental leave (we just had our first baby girl) and unable to write much.  However, it seems that there was some issues with Content Deployment at work.

 

Actually, the installation of SP1 and Blackout had been scheduled for a while but it didn't resolve as many issues as we had hoped.  As such, we were still plagued with some "Object Reference Not Set" and "Primary Key constraint violation ..." during the Export phase.

 

By calling support, my team was directed to another hotfix (950279), http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/950279 that had been released just after Blackout and we hadn't noticed it.  This is the 3rd hotfix that I remember seeing that fixes "Primary Key constraint violation...". 

 

What you need to know about these errors is that they are mostly generic.  Also, it's not by exporting the content and importing it in your dev environment that you will be able to reproduce the issue.  The error is "Content Deployment" specific (I didn't check which database hosts the Content Deployment jobs and paths but it's likely to be Configuration, or otherwise Central Administration).

 

By deleting the Jobs & Paths, you will likely remove the issue that causes the Export to fail.  It seems that issues that were still there before the upgrade were still there after.  Also, the thing to know is that, after deleting/recreating the jobs & paths, the next incremental deployment will not have any knowledge of what has been deployed previously and will deploy everything.

 

For some reason, the first incremental gave us some issues where we had several 'file already exists with the same name' issues.  I went ahead and deleted the Jobs/Paths again, did a Full Content Deployment once, and all other deployments have been Incremental and running fine.

 

So unless you have no problem installing hotfixes (privates and/or publics), I would try this simple no-risk step before installing anything in production.  While, in some situation, it may only be a temporary solution, it may buy you enough time to test the hotfix deployment in your environments and hopefully wait for a public fix or even a Service Pack.

 

Maxime