Moving demand management assets from A to B, Part 2

vs2010In the first part of this series, we looked at using Playbooks to move demand management assets from one server to another. Whilst Playbooks is a very useful tool, it does have one limitation in that it moves all the chosen settings over, so if you wish to export a single EPT and its PDPs, you’re out of luck.

Luckily Microsoft released another tool as part of its ‘solution starters’ series that allows the selective exporting and importing of demand management assets. The solution starter consists of two components, the DMExport utility that is used to export the settings and the DMImport code and scripts that contains all that is needed to turn the exported items into a SharePoint 2010 feature for installation.

As with all solution starters, there are two components available, the compiled code mainly ready for deployment in your environment, and the full source code so you can see how it actually works and use it as the basis for future enhancements. For most solution starters, the documentation is either sufficient or the solution simple enough to install and use. Unfortunately in the case of the DMImport /DMExport solution starter, the documentation is a bit lacking and you need to do a fair bit to get it up and running, so hence this post Smile

1. Download

Before we start, you will need to download both the Deployment and Source zip files from the solution starter site. The starters are updated on a very regular basis, so for the purposes of this post, I am using the release from late December 2010.

2. Install and use the DMExport Utility

In order to export the demand management assets, it is necessary to install a small utility on the server you wish to export from. Whilst the solution starter provides the source, the easiest way is to use the neatly packaged setup.exe that is provided in the deployment project. This will install the DMExport utilise to the c:\Program Files\Microsoft\DMExport directory ready for use.

Just like Playbooks, when you first run the DMExport tool it will request the address of the Project Server instance to script the configuration settings out of. Once a connection is established the GUI will display the various demand management items that can be selected and this is where the real advantage of the tool comes in.

DMExport Tool

Unlike playbooks where you script all the workflow settings, the DMExport tool allows you to choose what you wish to export and will attempt to determine the relevant associated assets to include. Now from my experience the autocomplete is pretty good but has one flaw, it forgets to associate the workflow status PDP’s (Proposal Stage Status in the above screenshot), which if you don’t include, the restore will fail as it is a mandatory field when creating an Enterprise Project Type.

Before hitting the export button, make sure to populate the ‘Feature Name’ which will eventually become the name of the SharePoint feature that is used to install the assets on the target server and to set the location that the data will be exported to.

Once the export process has completed, you should see a set of files like those below in your export directory.

DMExport File export

These files contain the relevant data for the items selected for export and will eventually be turned into a SharePoint feature.

3. Building the DMImport components

The DMImport component consists of two parts, an import library that reads the exported files from above and updates the relevant components within Project Server 2010, and some scripts used to build a SharePoint feature that is used to deploy the assets. The feature when activated calls the import library via a feature receiver.

Before the DMImport scripts can be used it is necessary to build the import library and register it on the destination server. The source code zip file contains everything needed to build the import library. Simply open the project in Visual Studio 2010 and build the project. Once the build is complete the following DLL should be created:

DMImport Library

To register the DLL, use the gacutil.exe file located in the DMImport\Deployment directory of the source zip file and the following command:

Gacutil.exe /i <path>\Microsoft.SDK.Project.Samples.ImportDemandManagement.dll

4. Build the feature

Creating the feature itself that contains all the demand management assets is relatively simple. To start, copy the files created in the export location to a new directory on the restore server as well as the contents of the \Solution Starters\EPT_Export_Import\DMImport\Deployment directory .

To build the feature, in the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, enter the following command:

./InstallFeature.ps1 <directory of the exported assets, including a trailing />

This will kick off the PowerShell script and generate the feature by copying the exported files and building a feature.xml that pulls them all together and associates the feature receiver built above.

If all goes well you should see something like this in the output:

DMImport - PowerShell Part 1

The red error is fine, it is caused by running the script in a SharePoint Management shell instead of a plain old PowerShell shell.

DMImport - PowerShell Part 2

On seeing the ‘Done.’ above, the feature will be generated and installed on the destination server. To check, go to Site Actions > Site Collection Features on the destination server and the newly generated feature will be there awaiting activation.

Activate the feature

You may notice the associated image is broken, there looks to be a bug in the script which I haven’t looked at yet.

5. Activate and use the feature

The demand management assets will not be installed until the feature is activated. On clicking Activate, SharePoint will activate the feature receiver and via the import library create the relevant assets inside Project Server. The activation process can take a while to complete, especially if you are importing a lot of assets. In addition, the first time you activate the feature it will create a special logging document library on the destination server that is used to store logging information and a set of XML files describing the changes made.

DMImport - Log Library

The latter are very important if you later choose to deactivate the feature as they outline how to roll back the changes and return the Project Server back to how it was before activation.

Again, the documentation is not exactly clear on the library, but for reference it is created at http://<server>/<projectserverinstancename>/DMImport.

6. Deactivating and removing the feature

Should you need to roll back the changes and uninstall the feature, simply Deactivate the feature via Site Actions > Site Collection Features, then in the SharePoint Management Shell enter the following command:

Uninstall-spfeature –Identity <featureName>

9 thoughts on “Moving demand management assets from A to B, Part 2

  1. Hi

    Thanks for a nice how-to on this Solution Starter component – I really needed it.
    With this I finally made it work – still my PDP’s doesnt get imported.

    Have you noticed anything similar?

    Br, Lars

  2. Hi Lars,

    I do recall seeing a similar error on the Solution Starter, but cant’ recall how I caused it. The PDPs are stored in the SiteCollection.cmp file. Rename it to and have a look to see if they are in it. If they are, the problem is in the restore end, check out the logs in the http:////DMImport library.

    As for Playbooks, was there any error in either the backup or restore log? I remember seeing an error that the restore didn’t work if you were restoring to an instance on the same contentdb they were backed up from? Does this fit your scenario?

  3. Hi,
    I’m trying to export configuration and features from project server 2010 demo pack virtual machine.
    Specifically I want to export all enterprise project types (with project detail pages, workflows and web parts) and dashboards in order to apply them to my company’s project server instance.
    I’ve tried three ways:
    – using playbook but I received several errors regarding wrong and duplicated uids;
    – manually installing sharepoint features from the demo pack iso but I reveived errors when trying to use them;
    – using DMI Import/Export tool from Solution Starters but it seems it doesn’t import all EPTs…

    can you help me?
    Have anyone tried that procedure?


    • Hi,

      What you may be seeing is that you are restoring PDP’s from the demo image that already exist in your target environment. I am thinking you may be picking up some of the OOB ones which your target installation will already have. As they are OOTB they will also have the same GUID’s :( Another thing to consider is that if you try to restore the pdp’s etc to a /PWA site on the same contentdb, you will see problems too.

      As for installing the features from the demo pack, I take it you mean the Visualisation, Cost Benefit and Risk capture components? These have all been updated significantly since the original versions that shipped in the demo pack. The latest versions can be got from the Solution Starter homepage, over at

      As for the DMImport component, did you make sure you backed them all up to start with? If so, what did the error say in the log? I am guessing if you were running into issues with the PDP’s that may be the cause?

      Let me know how you go.

  4. I’ve tried following the instructions in the article but when I try to activate the feature in Site Collection Features I get the following error:

    The feature being activated is a Site Collection scoped feature which has a dependency on a Site Collection scoped feature which has not been activated. Please activate the following feature before trying again: DMImport_Feature ed9a6e30-8747-49af-b8dc-e2a1fa51514e

    However this is the id of the feature I am trying to activate. I’m clearly doing something wrong. Any ideas?

    Someone else posted it here:

    But there’s no answer to this specific error.

      • Unfortunately the solution starters are not officially supported by MS. Your best bet is to try posting to the solution starter forums.

        I will crank up my VM and see if I can get a repro on the issues you are seeing and post back here.

  5. Hello,

    I’m having an issue when running DMImport in production. In particular, when I activate the DMImport_Feature in Site Collection Features, absolutely nothing happens. The feature activates way to quick and no importing takes place. No errors, no warnings, just a blank active feature.

    I’ve done everything exactly according to this guide and I’m puzzled as to why it didn’t work, especially given that I ran it in staging environment and it worked fine, overwriting all assets, since that’s where I originally exported them from.

    Does anyone have any idea why this is happening? Feature receiver not getting hit? But why wouldn’t it? The installation process I went through is identical in both environments.

    Thank you in advance,

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