Wednesday 18 February 2015

User Profile Incremental Synchronization Timer Job - Access is denied Error

I stumbled on this issue in one of our customer's SharePoint 2013 environment and I came across many forum posts and article, but did not found the complete solution, so I decided to share it with you.
The background story is as follows. We have a SharePoint Server 2013 hosted on Windows Server 2012 environment that is using User Profile Synchronization(leveraging FIM). We have one User Profile Service application.
The User Profile Synchronization service is running on the server where the Central Administration is hosted.
So far so good, we also have the User Profile Service running on two servers, in order to have a redundancy for this service, for short I will call this servers APP01 (CA,Sync Service, User Profile Service) and APP02(User Profile Service). The User Profile Synchronization service is successfully started and running on APP01.
The issue comes when you want to go and implement the principle of least privilege. This will require to remove the Farm account from the local Administrators group on the server where the User profile Synchronization is running (FIM). You need the Farm Account to be Local Admin in order to successfully start User Profile Synchronization.
You remove the the Farm account from the local Administration group.
Time goes by and you start to receive an error Event ID: 6398 on APP02 with following description:

The Execute method of job definition Microsoft.Office.Server.UserProfiles.UserProfileImportJob (ID 7acb171d-5d7d-4601-ba08-85f24c0969b4) threw an exception.More information is included below.

Access is denied. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070005 (E_ACCESSDENIED))

This description tells us that the "User Profile Incremental Synchronization Timer Job" timer job is failing on APP02. To be sure you can use Get-SPTimerJob and for Identity parameter to use the GUID from the error message. This is the Timer Job responsible for the User Profile Synchronization. You check the Timer Job history for this job and it is running on APP02 and it is Failing.

Failed User Profile Incremental Synchronization Timer Job

It is possible to see this job to fail every minute one day it can run on APP02 and next run to be on APP01, or to see ongoing synchronization in the Central Administration, but when you open the miisclient.exe you see that there is no synchronization operations running, this however may prevent new synchronisations to start.
But User Profile Synchronization service is running on APP01 not on APP02!
Now all over the forums, folks are posting question like "The Synchronization timer job is running on the wrong server and it is failing". Actually this is not true!
Remember that we are running User Profile Service instance on both APP01 and APP02. The "User Profile Incremental Synchronization Timer Job" can run on both servers and it should run in success.
So the timer job is executed by the Timer Service and the Timer Service is running under the Farm account as the Sync Service. From the event log error it is obvious that the Farm account needs some permissions in order to execute the job successfully. When the account is in the local Administration group it "have it all".

The First thing to check is following MS Article. There is a section called "Remove unnecessary permissions". In this article it is explained how to grant Remote Enable permission over the Microsoft FIM 2010 WMI namespace MicrosoftIdentityIntegrationServer (on the server running FIM). This permission is needed for the Farm account to be able to run the job successfully from server that is not running User Profile Synchronization Service (FIM). Remember to do IISRESET if you are running the Sync. service on a server that is also hosting Central Administration.
Of course I did the procedure above, but does not worked out!
Apparently the job needs to interact with the Microsoft FIM 2010 WMI namespace. I am not sure for this but I think that the timer job is invoking Execute method on MIIS_ManagementAgent class.
Out of curiosity below you can see how the MicrosoftIdentityIntegrationServer (MIIS) WMI namespace looks like. I have based my User Profile Synchronization reporting script on MIIS WMI.

MIIS WMI Namespace

Now under the hood WMI is using DCOM, so in order a non-Administrator account to interact with WMI remotely it needs permissions over DCOM on the server where the Sync service is running at.

The Second things to check/change are the permissions over DCOM server on the machine that is running User Profile Synchronization Service. The Farm account needs to have Remote Access, Remote Launch and Remote Activation permissions. To do this use the article  Securing a Remote WMI Connection . Now this is a bit tricky and confusing for me. There is a simple way to check if the Farm account has remote access to WMI. By using below PowerShell command with farm account credentials from remote computer you should be able to retrieve the synchronization operations history.

Get-WmiObject -Class MIIS_RunHistory -Namespace root/MicrosoftIdentityIntegrationServer -ComputerName <YourSyncServer> -Credential <Domain>\<FarmAccount>

If there is an issue with the permissions you will receive some Access Denied error like this.

WMI Access Denied

The DCOM permissions can be tricky after doing a change there close and open new PowerShell console and test again the remote WMI with the script above. If you still have Access Denied error locate Windows Management and Instrumentation DCOM application and give needed permissions to the Farm Account.

As you can see there are lots of moving  parts Timer Jobs, WMI, DCOM and so on. But there are countless reason for fail. Use the PowerShell line above. If there is an issue with the WMI remoting it will show it. There may be firewall issue it will show you something like "RPC service unavailable" error. If you do not receive a result from the remote WMI test you have some issue.

This is how I solved the issue. I am hoping that it is helpful for you!

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