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Sometimes when doing deployments to our farm there are errors that appear where the GAC DLL is noted as being in use, this happens even though we stop/start the SP services before uninstalling and installing WSP's. Often times during failure the Worker Process will fail and not start up again, requiring someone to manually go and restart the services. At times we've seen error messages where DLL's are also being held on other machines in the farm.

Has anyone else seen this in deployments? Are there ways to stop/start services from the CA to make sure that no other server in the farm is holding DLL's open?

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Do you always provision your wsp packages on the same server in the farm?

It is very important to select a WFE that is your deployment server, and always use that one. Else you can get into trouble with solutions hanging on deployment on one server, and then when you try and deploy it from another server you practically deadlock the provisioning since administration service is hanging with deployment on another server.

The Timer service had memory issues in SP2007. Not sure if this is solved with SP2010. This would cause the timer service to need restart every once in a while.

For investigating GAC locks on DLL i can recommend Process Explorer from TechNet (former Sysinternals). From here you can see if it is the timer service that is holding the DLL hostage somewhere in the c:\windows\assembly\temp folder. Read more on Alex' blog here.

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Yes, everything is deployed through the CA and this moves the changes out to the WFE. At times the GAC seems to be in use on multiple machines, which is why we were thinking there might be a farm-centric command to restart services on individual machines - is it possible that restarting services on the CA does not restart them on other machines in the farm? Interesting about the Timer Service, I'll check on that. –  MichaelF Apr 20 '11 at 12:10
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I have seen this when deploying the same dll from different solutions (example a helper dll) and some times when retracting it complain that is in use. Is the dll with the problem used on another solution (wsp package)?

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No, our WSP's are pretty much individual. Retraction seems to be ok, or at least its not giving any errors which may be a problem in itself. –  MichaelF Apr 20 '11 at 12:08
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